GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While social media was set abuzz Monday night as Florida unveiled images of the alternate “swamp green” uniforms it will wear Saturday against Texas A&M, the players say they were just as surprised.
They donned the new matte — or “satin finish” — helmets and special-edition Gator print cleats during practice Tuesday, but they won’t get to wear the full uniforms until game day.
This is the first time in program history that the Gators are straying from their traditional orange and blue look, and the reaction on Twitter was both very strong and very divided after the images came out Monday.
In addition to the dark helmets, which will bear a Gator Head logo on one side, the “swamp green” jersey is covered in a tonal gator print with player numbers in orange with royal blue trim and names in orange on the back. The pants are solid swamp green, as are the special socks with “a texture that coincidentally mimics the armored skin of an alligator,” according to the news release. And don’t forget the matching gloves.
Overall, the players say the surprise was very well received within the locker room.
“Definitely cool because it’s different. Nobody’s ever done it before so this will be a one-time thing we’ll go down in the history books for because we finally got a chance to try something different in the Gator uniform. So it’s definitely cool and glad to be a part of it,” wide receiver Josh Hammond said.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know we were getting an alternate jersey from the jump so when we saw them just a lot of guys were ecstatic to get it on and finally come out with something different.”
Offensive lineman Fred Johnson said there were some players who weren’t totally excited about the design, but he thinks the look was very popular overall within the team.
“There was a couple people. You can’t please everybody. You can’t please 100 percent of the people. … The majority of people have come around to it,” he said. “Then again, we only have the helmet and the shoes on today. When the whole ensemble comes together I think we’re going to be really happy about it.”
— Ryan Young (@RyanYoungSEC) October 10, 2017
Florida tweeted Monday night that the unique designs from Nike from have been in the works for 18 months.
Johnson said the players were shown a video Monday of a model wearing the new uniforms in the stadium under the lights. He had the same first opinion of many others.
“My first impression, I thought they were gray. I thought they were gray. I didn’t like them, I thought they were gray. And then we seen it today, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re green,'” he said. “So it’s kind of a cool, like different look (for) Gators uniforms. You know, we always go orange or blue or white. … The green is a nice way to spice things up. … I kind of like it. I like it a lot.”
The players got the new helmets Tuesday, but the Gator Head logo has not been attached yet. Still, Hammond and Johnson seemed to agree that was their favorite part of the look.
“I think I like the helmets the most. I don’t know, there’s just something about them, just different, different from wearing the orange or the white helmets. Come out with a different color. I just like the matte,” Hammond said.
Said Johnson: “The helmet actually looks like crazy, like sick. … Our fans should look forward to it. The one who don’t like it already just because a little picture or whatever.”
— Ryan Young (@RyanYoungSEC) October 10, 2017
Sophomore safety Chauncey Gardner Jr., meanwhile, said this is something that some players have wanted for a while.
“It’s something for us. We asked for it a couple years ago and we got what we want, but at the end of the day, we still have to go out and perform,” he said. “This is our team. We have to go out there. It’s just a uniform. We’ve got to put it on and get it dirty the same way we put all the other ones on.”
The new uniforms we wearing Saturday #LoveEm
— Jawaan. T 6️⃣5️⃣ (@jawaan_taylor74) October 10, 2017
Defensive linemen Jordan Sherit and Taven Bryan didn’t seem quite as interested in talking about uniforms as the Gators look to bounce back from a tough 17-16 loss to LSU.
Bryan didn’t offer much opinion while deferring to Sherit, who acknowledged his viewpoint may be different from other players of this generation as creative and colorful uniforms have become a regular staple for college football programs across the country.
“Man, I’m an old school guy. I just want to play the game,” Sherit said. “It’s cool, it gets guys excited and fans are into it. But for me I’ve got to go seven days with the last game in my mind. I’m just ready to play.”
He did offer a tease, though, of something that might grab fans’ attention.
“Have you guys seen the thing with Nick and the Gator yet? The live Gator and Nick Washington? That’s pretty crazy,” Sherit said. “I don’t know if it’s been released yet. Let’s say there’s a video out there with Nick Washington and a Gator and they’re walking like they’re friends. … Not for me.”
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