Clothes make the men, so why not new clothes for a new era?
South Carolina’s social media has been full of offseason tweaks to the Gamecocks’ uniforms, which for years were as predictable as putting extra mayo on a tomato sandwich. The Gamecocks have unveiled three helmets they could wear in 2016, even promising fans mini-helmets in the same designs with the purchase of one ticket plan.
The white helmet with garnet and black stripes, worn for Steve Spurrier’s entire tenure and most of the Lou Holtz era, is one possibility but the Gamecocks will also have garnet helmets, worn for the Clemson game last season and from 1983-98.
USC will also have snazzy matte black helmets with a wide garnet stripe and small white stripes on each side. The Gamecocks haven’t worn a black helmet since 2004, Holtz’s last year that ended in the infamous brawl at Clemson.
All helmets will remove the white circle surrounding the Block C logo. The Gamecocks have used the same logo on their helmets since 1975, although they have occasionally branched from it (last year’s Gamecock tailfeathers on the helmets against Florida).
First-year coach Will Muschamp said the seniors will decide what uniforms USC wears each week and his players had different views of them. “If that’s the case, I’ll put my vote in,” quipped senior Elliott Fry, while redshirt freshman Dexter Wideman remarked that what a team wears doesn’t matter, it’s the performance that counts.
Then again, some couldn’t wait to see what may be hanging in their lockers on Sept. 1.
“I’m looking forward to the all-black,” senior Darius English said. “We really don’t pay too much attention to it, but it does get you excited about it, wearing something new.”
Spurrier’s view on uniforms was simple – as long as it was working (i.e., winning), don’t fool with ’em. Once Under Armour became USC’s supplier, the theme was relatively simple: garnet jerseys and white pants at home, white jerseys and garnet pants on the road.
USC began to wear all-garnet (Big Game Garnet) for important contests and they mostly worked, the Gamecocks recording their best stretch in program history and reeling off 18 straight home wins. They began to switch for some games later on – the all-white “Stormtrooper” look for the 2012 Clemson game, all-black for Tennessee in 2014 -- but mostly stuck to the superstition.
Last year, as losses piled up, Spurrier retired and Shawn Elliott took over, the Gamecocks began experimenting. Against Vanderbilt, they broke the losing streak when wearing black jerseys or pants, trotted out the all-white at Texas A&M and wore all-garnet, even the helmet, for Clemson. It brought to mind the Black Magic season of 1984, when the Gamecocks changed uniform looks as often as their socks.
This year, USC stands to have garnet, black and white jerseys and pants with helmets to match. Perhaps a vote for fans on social media could play a part.
Although there are more important things to be concerned about.
“The seniors will make that decision, and I haven’t really sat down with them and talked about it,” Muschamp said. “We need to have a good camp. I’m not worried about the uniforms right now. I got a lot on my mind and that isn’t one of them.”
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