Managing OSU's various uniforms, gear a time-consuming task
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Sunday, August 26, 2012
8/26/12 at 6:06 AM
STILLWATER - Wes Edwards always wanted to be a meteorologist.
As it turns out, ignoring the forecast is part of his profession. In coordinating Oklahoma State's football equipment, Edwards is always prepared for the worst-case scenario.
"We'll go to Tucson (for the Sept. 8 game against Arizona) and have the cold-weather gear on the truck," he said. "I know it's early September and it's Arizona, but we'll put it on the truck.
"It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it."
When the Cowboys played Ole Miss in the 2010 Cotton Bowl, Edwards insisted on taking the team's rain gear despite the game being in a domed stadium.
"Some of our (student managers) thought that was ridiculous," he said. "Who's to say they open that stadium one day and it can't close and it's raining?"
Such is the life of an equipment manager, a tedious job that involves lining up everything players and coaches wear, from lucky T-shirts to Mike Gundy's visor.
In addition to Edwards, two full-time assistants and 12 students make sure the Cowboys are dressed to the nines.
"I tell people the hours get long but it's not a job," Edwards said. "We love what we do. It's fun to be around these kids and I'm not old, but they keep me even younger.
"I wasn't good enough to be an athlete in college, so this is the closest thing I could do. It's a blast."
With the plethora of new uniform options OSU added last season, Edwards' staff keeps busy.
"It's a lot more time," he said. "This time of year we look back at how it used to be and almost wish it was that way.
"Just one helmet for each guy, that'd be a lot easier, a lot less stress."
Once the season is under way, the students on the equipment staff get to work at 10 a.m. Sunday. Their first task is cleaning the helmet used the previous day, and they stay preoccupied all week.
"We're working Sunday to Friday for the next game," Edwards said. "It seems like never-ending process for all of us."
If it's a road-game week, the truck must be loaded by Thursday and unloaded as soon as it returns. In an effort to be more efficient, the staff uses shortcuts like soaking uniforms on the way home.
The football team's equipment is stored in a 12,000-square-foot area and separated into rooms for each category. The helmet room was the only area that needed to be redesigned now that the team has three options (white, black and gray).
And yes, to answer a popular question, Edwards said an orange helmet is being discussed and likely will be unveiled at some point. The cost of an additional helmet for 120 players is about $30,000.
Meanwhile, 12 of the potential 48 uniform combinations have been decided for the regular season, as chosen by a Gundy-selected committee of Isaiah Anderson, Lane Taylor, Brodrick Brown and Cooper Bassett.
"That committee did a great job and we're looking forward to putting that stuff out there," Edwards said. "This year we're repeating some of our combinations we did last year.
"Most of what we're wearing this year we haven't worn before."
The only additional change to the uniforms has been the numbers on the gray jerseys. Last year's were orange with a black outline, and now they're black with an orange outline.
"In person they looked great," Edwards said. "On the field we got out there and realized they were hard to read.
"We worked with Nike on changing them ... so hopefully there's more contrast in it."
Edwards, who grew up in Edmond, has been on the OSU staff since 2006 after working for 10 years at the University of Oklahoma, his alma mater. He doesn't seem to mind that the new uniforms have created more work.
"It's flair," he said. "We're at a place where we're able to do it. There are some programs where I would never dare do it.
"We're here for the athletes, and as long as most of those guys like it, it gives them something to look forward to and maybe even sign here, that's what it's all about."
A closer look at OSU's uniform combinations last season
White helmets, gray jerseys, white pants
Not a strong first impression. Gray tops look dingy against white, and days later an ESPN analyst called them the worst uniforms in college football. Jerseys didn't return.
White helmets, black jerseys, black pants
Didn't seem as new considering the white-black-black combo was worn in 2009 against Colorado and 2010 against Texas A&M, although with the previous design.
White helmets, white jerseys, black pants
First look at the road white tops, although most didn't see them because of the post-midnight start. Best of the season to date, but not yet a striking combination.
Gray helmets, white jerseys, gray pants
Debut of the non-white helmet. The concrete color surprisingly didn't match the lighter shade of the gray uniforms but looked sharp in contrast to white.
Black helmets, black jerseys, orange pants
The first combination that really popped. Black helmets are by far the best of the three, and the black and orange combo had resemblance to a classic Booker T. Washington look.
Black helmets, white jerseys, black pants
Clean and effective but not punchy. Not many options when forced to wear white tops on the road.
White helmets, white jerseys, white pants
Best road look by far and a very popular choice among the players and fans. Team looked like Stormtroopers, in a good way.
Gray helmets, orange jerseys, gray pants
Orange and gray complement each other better than one might think. A unique mix that showed off one of the many unexpected options.
Gray helmets, black jerseys, gray pants
Seems as if the most eye-pleasing collaborations include the same color helmet and pants. Black and gray are even more attractive for night games.
White helmets, white jerseys, gray pants
Another slightly bland selection. After seeing more alluring ones, hard to get excited about any marriage of white and gray.
Black helmets, white jerseys, orange pants
The only time the team wore three colors at once, and, coincidentally, the only loss of the season. Cowboys didn't look unfashionable in defeat, but two-tone looks are better.
Black helmets, orange jerseys, black pants
Perfect choice for Bedlam, when orange is a must. The sharpest combination for a home game happened to be for the biggest win of the season in the eyes of most fans.
Stanford (Fiesta Bowl)
Black helmets, black jerseys, black pants
Excellent way to cap the greatest season in school history. One color top-to-bottom stands out more than any other medley.
Vs. Savannah St.
6 p.m. Saturday
TV: Fox College Sports
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Managing OSU gear hard work
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Oklahoma State used several uniform combinations last season. PHIL SHOCKLEY/Courtesy