UCF football uses uniform combinations to establish new identity | NSM Today

From NSM Today
Number of sources: Six
Word Count: 808
Date of Publication: October 12, 2016 

There are very few sports teams in the world that can have a unique look for virtually every game they play. However, one such team is right here in Central Florida.

UCF football’s new uniform set, consisting of four helmets, four jerseys, and four pants, provides enough combinations to last a very long time.

“I would be shocked if we didn’t add at least one [combination],” UCF director of equipment operations Rich Worner said. “Right now we’re just in the talks of ‘OK, how many do we want to do, do we want to do one, do we want to do two?’ We’re not even getting down to color scheme yet.”

Even if UCF had switched to these uniforms before they joined the American Athletic Conference in 2013, they would still have over 20 unused combinations right now.

And more combos appear to be popping up every day as UCF unexpectedly revealed new helmets on Wednesday that feature a reflective chrome logo for the team’s homecoming game.

The new uniforms, which were unveiled before the 2016 season, consist of four colors for the jersey and pants (white, black, anthracite, and pewter) and four helmet colors (white, anthracite, gold, and pewter.) Other new details include player names appearing on the back of the jerseys and the Pegasus, the university’s main logo, being featured on each sleeve.

While most long-time UCF fans would expect either the gold helmets or black jerseys to be the most striking additions to the uniforms, the pewter set appears to have stolen the spotlight.

Against FIU on Sep. 24, the Knights wore their pewter helmet for the first time, to go along with black jerseys and pewter pants.

“My favorite combination so far was the combination we wore [against FIU,]” UCF offensive lineman Micah Anderson said. “That was pretty cool to me.”

Despite becoming a favorite among players and fans, the pewter set was actually not included in Nike’s original uniform design.

When Nike’s design team first met with head coach Scott Frost, they presented white uniforms for away games, black uniforms for home games as well as dark alternate uniforms. But Frost wanted something different.

“His one ask was for an alternate ‘away’ look,” Nike senior graphic designer Josh Iverson said via email. “Instead of having two alternates that could only be used at home, he wanted a lighter uniform color that the team could also use on the road. So it was really because of coach Frost that we decided to use our Pewter Grey as the base for a second alternate uniform.”

Frost had one other addition for the new uniforms: “Rise and Conquer,” the phrase embroidered in the neck of each jersey.

Last season, the Knights had a much more basic, predictable uniform set and only one helmet. With the new uniforms, determining what the team will wear is a much more involved process. Combinations are usually set seven-to-ten days before each game.

“It’s a collaborative effort, I think, between the players, the head coach and myself,” Worner said.

The combination is then revealed on Twitter several days before the game through either the UCF Football account or the new UCF Equipment account.

“I always look forward to each week, what we’re gonna wear and the details of them and the different colors,” UCF offensive coordinator Troy Walters said. “I know that makes waves on Twitter when we unveil the uniform combinations.”

UCF is not the only school using social media to generate excitement for its uniforms. The University of South Florida, UCF’s rivals, also turn to Twitter to reveal their uniform combinations each week, using the hashtag #USFUnveil16.

“On our social media channels, we see a great deal of fan anticipation for the uniform reveal each week and reaction to it once it has been revealed,” USF associate athletic director for communications Brian Siegrist said via email. “Fans enjoy debating which combination looks best, predicting what combinations will be worn and the overall varied looks of our team.”

While the Knights’ coaches have praised the new uniforms and the players love wearing them, this redesign was done for the fans. And the fans appear to love them too.

Sophomore Brandon Harkins added: “They’re not as boring as they used to be, they’re kind of exciting … You never know what they’re gonna come out wearing.”

UCF’s new brand is especially exciting for those who have been around the program for a long time. Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for the team to have the kind of surprise reveal that they had on Wednesday. But it’s a new era for the Knights.

“I like seeing something different,” said assistant equipment manager Kyle Sheppard, who is in his sixth season with UCF. “When you’re around the same uniform combination for about, for me 5 years now, seeing something different, it’s nice to see.”

About Christian Simmons 38 Articles
My name is Christian Simmons, and I recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with my master's degree in integrated business management. My undergrad degree from UCF is in journalism. I'm passionate about sports in all its forms. I've had internships with the Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, NPR affiliate WMFE and CBS affiliate WKMG. I'm also the co-founder and editor of Knight Sports Now, a student publication that has covered UCF sports since 2017. As a freelance reporter, my stories have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, The New Orleans Advocate, The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La. and the Baltimore Sun, among others.