Florida’s alligator-inspired uniforms drawing mixed reviews
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s alternate uniforms, the “swamp green” ones designed to literally look like alligators, are drawing reviews ranging from awful to awesome.
Coach Jim McElwain jokes that his “hate mail” tripled since the uniforms were unveiled earlier this week.
The ultimate appraisal comes Saturday night when the unranked Gators (3-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) play Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1) at Florida Field, a matchup under the lights that will give the new duds a chance to shine or get shunned.
If Florida loses, the uniforms surely will be blamed, burned and banished to the program’s Hall of Shame. If the Gators play well in their nontraditional getup, then there certainly will be pleas to dust them off down the road.
“They’re going to like them when we win in them,” linebacker Kylan Johnson said.
The Gators and Nike released images of the uniforms Monday, saying the project designed to “show what it means to be a Gator” took 18 months to complete.
The camouflage-styled jerseys will be paired with “swamp-green” helmets, pants, socks, shoes and gloves. There will be very little orange and blue, marking the first time in school history that Florida strayed from its primary colors. Helmets will have a Gators head logo on one side and nothing on the other.
Players got their helmets and shoes Tuesday and practiced in them throughout the week.
They won’t see the jerseys until Saturday.
“The response recruiting and ultimately the demographic we’re looking at, man, the excitement has been unbelievable and the response has been great,” McElwain said. “I know they’re looking forward to it. It’s a one-time deal. Nike did a good job telling the story. … It’s something that, obviously, people are talking about. That’s a good thing. Again, it’s about the kids and they’re jacked up. We’ll see how they play in it.”
Players had a much more unified response than fans, who questioned why Florida would want to follow the lead of teams like Oregon and Maryland that are known more for what they wear than what they win.
“Definitely cool because it’s different,” receiver Josh Hammond said. “Nobody’s ever done it before, so this will be a one-time thing that will go down in the history books for us because we finally got a chance to try something different in a Gator uniform. … All the guys on the team think it’s pretty cool making history by wearing something different.”