Gamecocks strut their new stripes

New uniforms from Under Armour weigh less but have a tighter fit

ashain@thestate.comJuly 14, 2011 

South Carolina's Kenny Miles shows off one of the team's new football uniforms Thursday.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

USC showed off its new uniforms Thursday, and the players believe the new threads are another improvement to a team looking to build on last year’s SEC East title.

“They’re lighter, they’re comfortable, they’re tight,” wide receiver D.L. Moore said. “When a defender tries to tackle you, they’re going to slip right off of you.”

The new Under Armour jerseys stretch more and weigh 20 percent less because of less fabric. But players need a little extra help getting them on. Moore said he needed two people helped him get on his jersey, rather than one like needed last year. Running back Eric Baker said he needed three people to help get his jersey over his shoulder pads.

Quarterback Dylan Thompson said, despite the tighter uniform, he has enough mobility to throw the ball. “They look modern,” he said of the jerseys, which were developed over the past three years.

Running back Kenny Miles said he expects the jersey to be little cooler for players, especially with the material on the back of the pants near the hamstrings. Vents also are around the midsection of the jersey top. The team also showed off new white cleats with a garnet tinting that players said were lighter than previous models.

“This is almost like a gift for us for having a good season last year,” wide receiver Ace Sanders said. “We’re going to do better this year.”

The new football jerseys are more of an update than the makeover Under Armour introduced in 2007. Striping moves from over the shoulders to the front with some subtle design differences on the pants, though an embroidered “Gamecocks” has been added to the back.

The numbers and lettering on the jersey have been changed to typefaces that will match uniforms for all other USC teams. This new style was introduced on the basketball teams last year.

Just as important is having the teams in the same shade of garnet, crucial to an athletics program that has adopted the slogan, “The Garnet Way.”

“One of the big pushes over the last few years has been more garnet,” USC associate athletics director Charles Waddell said. “You can see it here at this facility (Williams-Brice Stadium). We’ve asked fans to wear garnet to games.”

Asked if fans will like the new uniforms, Waddell said: “I think they’ll like it if we win.”

USC is working on a new deal with Under Armour. South Carolina has a six-year contract signed with Under Armour in 2007 worth $1.8 million per year.

At one point in talks last year, the new deal was expected to pay about $3.2 million per year over six years. Waddell would not confirm a figure Thursday, but he said a contract should be approved by September.

Auburn, the reigning national champion, gets $3.9 million per year from Under Armour in a seven-year agreement that started in 2010, according to published reports.

“It’s something that really worked us,” Waddell said of the relationship with Under Armour. “And we’re really happy for it.”

Read more in The State and on GoGamecocks.com tomorrow

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