So, how ‘bout those new uniforms?
Mississippi State unveiled new adidas threads for games against Texas A&M (the Snow Bowl re-match) and Ole Miss (the Egg Bowl) this week, with a generally-positive reception.
While the press conference to show off the uniforms and share them with Bulldog fans only lasted about 15 minutes, the process began nearly one year ago.
Derek Stucker, adidas manager of NCAA team services, is MSU’s day-to-day contact with the company and the one who athletic director Scott Stricklin and the rest of the dept. spend hours upon hours talking to.
Stucker was in town for Wednesday’s big reveal and said the 12-month process of imagining, designing, creating and approving the silver Snow Bowl jerseys and golden Egg Bowl jerseys was both tedious and, ultimately, rewarding.
“We probably went through three or four different samples,” Stucker said. “From the embellishment side, it’s a very complicated process. We use two different vendors. There’s screenprint, there’s embroidery, there’s tackle twill, there’s heat transfer, and that’s what the numbers are. There’s time, coordination, there’s that aspect to it, so it really can become very complicated. The final piece, I think, the guys are gonna love it. Once they take the field and you see the whole combination from the helmet down to the shoes, it’s gonna be pretty sharp.”
As part of both uniforms, adidas created the base layer, the actual jerseys, gloves, helmets and shoes.
“Both of these uniforms incorporate all the customization between all those elements,” Stucker said.
One of the goals with both uniforms was to make something new, something different and something attractive, but maintaining a clean, classic and decidedly-MSU appearance.
The good news, according to Stucker, is adidas and State were on the same page already.
“Just working in conjunction with the athletic dept., that’s the unique thing,” Stucker said. “I think both brands, we really share the same identity, really share the same vision. We’re not out there to really re-invent the wheel or try to create something extraordinarily off the wall. Let’s keep it very clean, let’s keep it very classic, but how can we kind of have a unique identity? We did that this year by creating a silver base for the snow bowl and more of that metallic gold for the game against Ole Miss.”
The silver, of course, is somewhat-new look for MSU. It’s a throwback to the 1980s, but it hasn’t been used since then. The new color debuted with the Bulldogs donning silver pants against South Alabama and, as seen in the pictures, will become a focal point for the game against Texas A&M.
“The concept behind that was a play off the original bowl game, so of course, the conditions played a huge aspect in that,” Stucker said. “We all know it was a snowy condition, so we had come up with the idea to make it more of a white theme and kind of include that silver base, just use maroon as a trim. We certainly wanted to keep it in the school colors, but let’s sort of reverse the colors. We kept the silhouette the same, so it’s still got that banner concept. But instead of maroon, we used that silver color.”
Even the facemask – a metallic silver – went through four or five different samples before the final option was settled on.
To make it even more interesting: it was inspired by the designs of an MSU fan, Rocky Vaughan.
“I thought what was neat about that was the fan feedback indirectly had some impact in terms of the uniform concept itself,” Stucker said. “You listen to the fans and follow what they think. Hopefully, it’s positive. But we saw that idea, kind of grabbed it and morphed it into what you see here today.”
While the white and silver uniforms were designed specifically for the Snow Bowl, there is no reason they couldn’t be used again or added to the group of alternate jerseys MSU has to choose from every week.
The decision is up to Stricklin, Dan Mullen and the rest of the administration, but it’s an option which will be considered.
“It does have the ability to carryover for next year,” Stucker said. “It could play into a white-out game. It’s probably one of my favorite combinations. The true head-to-toe package, how the shoes pop, how the socks pop, the custom gloves with the logo.”
On the other side of the stage stood the Egg Bowl uniform, but unlike its snowy counterpart, it did not follow the mold of the 2012 uniforms.
No banner stripe, a golden state of Mississippi on the sleeve, gold numbers instead of silver, maroon or white, matte helmet and a maroon collar.
It’s different, while still clean, and it seems it always will be.
“The logo on the sleeve with the state on there, I think we’re gonna really keep that specific to the Egg Bowl game and kind of keep that annual tradition,” Stucker said. “That was keeping specific to that game. Last year, we did a very clean, very solid uniform, and we wanted to mirror that again and just have a road version. Just a solid white and not the inserts or the banner concepts, because it was a one-game, special strategy game for that.”
Details like those, Stucker said, are what make the uniforms so unique, as well as impressive. Maroon trim on silver numbering, tri-colored cleats, and plenty more compile the list of details adidas tended to.
“Even the gloves,” Stucker said. “The gloves have that custom M-State logo, there’s gold speck. The fan might not see that, but five feet from the athlete, you’ll see some of the gold speck. In the jersey itself, fans should be able to see that. It’ll pop. Even the shoes. We’re using the adizero smoke shoe. We’re certainly proud to see the final product and I think the university is, as well.”