In their first update since Under Armour became the Gamecocks’ official football apparel provider in 2007, South Carolina’s uniforms this season will feature different lettering, numbers and striping while being a bit lighter for players.
The word “Carolina” across the chest and numbers have been changed to the typefaces introduced on the basketball jerseys last year. “Carolina” is in a bolder, stronger typeface. The same letter and number styles will be used on uniforms on all Gamecocks teams, so all the school will have an easily recognizable look.
In solving another issue, the color garnet in the football uniforms is the same shade that will be used for all teams. The shades had varied among sports, especially on the basketball team when some fans thought the uniforms looked a little too Georgia red.
The material used to make the new football jerseys and pants is more stretchy, so less fabric is needed, said Adam Clement, senior on-field designer for Under Armour. Also the numbers are an inch or two smaller. Combined, they cut the weight of the jerseys by 20 percent, he said.
Chris Matlock, USC’s equipment manager, said the players have loved the new stretchy material, though they are a little harder to get on and off.
In other design changes, Under Armour has moved the two-tone stripes from on top of the shoulders to the front and added thin curved stripes along the back. The curves are supposed to represent the rounded paths in USC’s Horseshoe and the crescent moon in the South Carolina state flag, Clement said.
The words from the USC’s alma mater, “Forever to thee,” are sewn in the front tail of the jerseys.
The pants replace two smaller crescent stripes with one longer one and a small stripe on the back calf that resembles a spur. “Gamecocks” is printed on the back of the pants.
Linemen will get some help with pants that have openings that stretch more easily over knee braces, said John Holschuh, Under Armour’s senior product manager. Before, teams cut pant legs to accommodate the bulky hardware. The pants also stretch more around the crotch so they do slide down when players crouch, he said.
Under Armour is breaking out a new belt buckle, replacing metal double D-shaped rings with a composite plastic clasp similar to that used on its backpacks that slips less and is lighter, Holschuh said. The belts were tested by South Florida last season, he said.
Under Armour tested the materials used in South Carolina’s jerseys over the past three years using seven different fabrics and four designs, Clement said.
Later this year, Under Armour plans to introduce a unique design pattern for South Carolina that could be used on jerseys, compression shirts or apparel sold at stores, Clement said.
The company added a tortoise shell print on the sides of Maryland basketball jerseys and a stained glass print on the numbers of Boston College hoops uniforms, while Hawaii’s football team’s new uniforms are expected to include a native tattoo print.
South Carolina’s print could include Palmetto trees and the crescent moon that are part of the state flag, Clement said, but no decision has been made.
With all the updates coming to South Carolina uniforms, Clement said the baseball team might not alter its jerseys right off the bat.
“We don’t want to change too much with two national championships,” he said.