New Uniforms and Field Debuted for Terps

The Terps made many changes this offseason including a new field and new uniform designs.

Two of the big changes to the Terps this past offseason were revealed Monday morning in College Park as players, coaches and the media finally got to see the two new uniform designs and the new field at Byrd Stadium.

Under Armour unveiled two new uniform designs for the Terps which featured a new helmet design and different patterns on gloves. The players crowded around the mannequins that were sporting the new uniforms, feeling the fabric and commenting on the helmets, which are white with a band running around the side patterned with the Maryland state flag. The arm sleeves are also patterned with the state flag's design and the jerseys and pants come in both red and white.

One of the biggest changes to the uniforms is that the players' names will appear on the back of the two new designs, a change from last season's mentality of having nothing on the players' backs. The names will only appear on the new uniform designs, however, and the designs from last year will remain nameless for the time being.

“We actually heard about [the names on the jerseys],” All-American senior defensive end Joe Vellano said. “No one was making a big deal about it. I think some of the parents, yeah, you can see some of the names and stuff, but I think it's nothing that we've particularly talked about.”

The new field was also completed on Monday and players were able to walk onto the field to get a sense of their new home field. Speculations about the new field's design traveled the Internet, a popular rumor predicting a black field with a turtle shell design. Football field traditionalists were pleased when the Terrapins stuck with a green field with a black outline.

“I think it looks great out there,” junior quarterback C.J. Brown said. “Walking around there today, a lot guys were like, 'This is pretty sweet.' It was a lot cooler than our regular turf field that a lot of us guys have played on.”

Neil O'Donnell, the quarterback for the Maryland Terrapins from 1985 to 1989 and a former NFL player, represented FieldTurf and explained the new field's technology and its impact in player safety. O'Donnell has worked with FieldTurf for seven years and also covers SEC football and the Tennessee Titans of the NFL.

“What will be the biggest change here at Byrd Stadium is the crown. I remember playing here from '85 to '89 with Bobby Ross and Joe Krivak and the crown on that field was incredible. I mean when you had to throw a speed cut out, you'd almost have to throw the ball downfield. I think that will be the most significant change that you'll see on that field.”

The field is a revolution fiber field, which is the newest technology out on the market. FieldTurf has worked with 23 NFL teams and over 800 Division I teams, O'Donnell said. The field has an infill of silica sand mixed with cryogenic rubber spheres. There is 9.2 pounds of this mixture per each square foot, a measurement that allows for a fast track but also makes the field soft enough to protect athletes when their heads hit the ground, according to O'Donnell.

“You look at everything in the NFL right now and it is all about concussions,” said O'Donnell. O'Donnel said he was a personal friend of linebacker Junior Seau, who was found dead from a suicide and whom some have speculated may have suffered from brain damage due to concussions from his playing days.

Another benefit of having the new turf technology is that the field will be about 20 degrees cooler than all-rubber fields as the silica sand absorbs heat. O'Donnell praised the technology, but also warned Maryland's trainers and coaching staff that the technology does not mean players can practice in sweltering heat the same way they do in cooler temperatures.

“The field out here will be cooler 20 degrees,” O'Donnell said. “We have lab tests to prove it all. But hot is hot, guys. I mean if it's a hundred degrees out there and if humidity's up around 90 percent, you shouldn't have your helmets on and pads out there playing. Hopefully Randy [Edsall] knows all that and the trainers know that.”

The field also has a drainage system that will allow the field to be ready to play in almost any condition. O'Donnell said that the field can be used at all times and for any sport, including soccer and lacrosse.

“It could rain, it could snow, and you can play on it 20 minutes later,” said O'Donnell.

“I think you try not to worry about the field conditions when you're out there, like against Boston College in the snow, sleet, whatever you want to call it, but it was tough,” said Brown. “Especially when you get tackled or fall in the mud and you're cold, but that's part of the game so it kind of takes away from that element. Some people enjoy that grime, the mud, the slush, stuff like that, but I think a lot of guys got to experience that, whether you experience that in high school or even last year, but I think a lot of guys are really enjoying the turf, they're looking forward to playing on it and I think the university did a great job putting that together for us.”

O'Donnell said he had been talking to Maryland for three years about the project of a new turf field. He also said he would be open to continuing to help them improve their facilities, including the practice fields, which O'Donnell mentioned are getting to the point where they should be replaced.

“Working with the University of Maryland is actually an honor,” O'Donnell said. “I'd like to thank everyone from Kevin Anderson all the way down to all the people here. I was back here numerous times looking at the field and just patiently waiting. As you saw, we had crews here this morning walking through to get this all done so it was last minute to get it all done, but the field looks great and I'm excited for Maryland. It is a new beginning.”

The new turf field at Byrd Stadium will also help attract high schools who will want to play games and championships in College Park, O'Donnell said. By allowing high schools to use the field, the university can make more revenue, according to O'Donnell. Another perk is that the high school students who have the chance to play at Byrd Stadium may be impressed by the facilities and campus and thus could help the Terrapins with recruiting.

The field may be a boost for the program and can make conditions for players safer, but O'Donnell conceded that the new turf field is only a small step for the football program towards success.

“The new uniforms, the new field turf, revolution field with the CoolPlay infill, that does not win football games,” O'Donnell said. “I mean that's great for the media and everyone to talk about, but it's going to be the players who have to win football games. Hopefully, this whole new change, this whole new beginning of everything that's happened outside of here is going to benefit these players and they can win some games this year.”

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