GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain didn’t even wait to be asked about the new “swamp green” alternate uniforms the Gators will wear Saturday against Texas A&M.
He had clearly seen or heard that the public reaction to the bold look was split, but he reiterated how positive the reaction was been within his locker room and with recruits when since the unique unis were unveiled Monday.
“Obviously just the amount of hate mail I get already it really tripled when all the sudden we put out the new uniforms,” McElwain joked. “And yet the excitement of our team, first of all, the response (in) recruiting and ultimately the demographic we’re looking at, man, the excitement has been unbelievable and the response has been great. I know they’re looking forward to it.
“It’s a one-time deal. Nike did a good job telling the story, and like I said it was 18 months, I thought they’d kind of forgotten about it. It’s something that, obviously, people talking about — that’s a good thing.”
This is the first time in program history that the Gators are straying from their traditional orange and blue look.
The Florida players who spoke with reporters after practice Tuesday did seem excited about the new look, especially given that it was an unprecedented move for the program.
They have donned the new matte — or “satin finish” — helmets and special-edition gator print cleats during practice, but they won’t get to wear the full uniforms until game day.
In addition to the dark helmets, which will bear a Gator Head logo on one side, and special gloves, 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 a news release.
McElwain said it was initially an idea Nike pitched to the program.
“About 18 months ago Nike came to us as one of their elite schools and wanted to do a one-time, alternate uniform and tell the story of the Gator,” he said. “… Again, it’s about the kids and they’re jacked up. We’ll see how they play in it.”
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