COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Ace Sanders understands it will take more than crisp, new uniforms if South Carolina hopes to take another step toward a Southeastern Conference championship.
Sanders was among six Gamecock players at Williams-Brice Stadium on Thursday modeling the team’s new looks for 2011. It’s the first uniform update since Under Armour became the football team’s apparel provider in 2007. The uniforms have more stretch and are lighter, the players said, and should help the team feel fresher down the stretch this season.
But Sanders said if the team doesn’t work as hard as it did a year ago in winning the SEC Eastern Division, it won’t make a difference what they wear on game day.
“Last year was not really about uniforms. It was about us actually showing up, preparing and doing our best on the field and finishing games,” Sanders said. “That’s what we’re working on.”
And this season, they’ll do it in new duds.
The jerseys aren’t vastly different from the team’s old uniforms. The company said the material is designed to stretch more, meaning less is needed to manufacture each one. It also means a tighter fit for players and a more difficult time for defenders to grab a handful of jersey.
“They won’t be able to grab us,” Sanders, a wide receiver, said with a grin.
South Carolina assistant athletic director Charles Waddell said the uniforms use a shade of garnet that athletic uniforms for all teams will use. The word “Carolina” and the uniform numbers have the same look as the basketball team went to last year.
Each player displayed a different color combo. Quarterback Dylan Thompson had a white shirt and black pants. Receiver D.L. Moore had a white shirt and garnet pants while Sanders had the reverse. Tight end Justice Cunningham wore all garnet, running back Kenny Miles wore all black and runner Eric Baker was in all white.
“I think it looks a lot more modern,” Thompson said. “Super nice.”
Cunningham, at 6-foot-3 and 262-pounds, likes the lighter feel of the material and thinks that will help him late in games.
“They’re not as hot as the old ones were. I’m not sweating as bad,” he said. “Toward the end of games last year, I’d be so sweaty, I’d feel kind of heavy. Now, these breathe so well.”
Moore got a special request fulfilled with these uniforms; his full name, “D.L. Moore” is on the back.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted,” he said.
Waddell said the school is finishing up a renewal agreement with Under Armour to continue outfitting Gamecocks athletes. Waddell knows there’s one way to make the changes work for fans.
“I think they’ll like them if we win,” he said.