Carthage is Wild for its New Uniforms + Reveals New Threads at ETSN.fm Photo Days
TYLER -- The Bulldogs had seen their new uniforms before, but they really wanted to show their fans and the rest of Texas their new threads at ETSN.fm Photo Days.
A problem, however, was getting the jerseys over the shoulder pads. They're too tight to just throw over the pads without help.
"There's not much loose room once you get it on," senior linebacker James Marshall said. "You're going to have a hard time pulling the sleeves down over the pads. I know my jersey, it's a medium sized jersey, is really tight. I can barely get it on even once I got out of the pads."
But the struggles of getting the things on this fall will be worth it as Carthage prepares to defend its 2013 state championship in the newly created Class 4A Division I.
Tight fitting jerseys have totally infiltrated the NFL and the higher levels of college football. Tops also have shrunk dramatically since the mid-2000s on the high school level.
The Buldogs have taken high school football's uniform development a step further with a state-of-the-art Adidas fabric. It's a considerable competitive advantage and the home red jersey is similar to an Adidas sponsored college, the University of Louisville.
"No question," head coach Scott Surratt said. "You want it to be the tight fit so people can't grab your jerseys. Whether you're running the ball or on the offensive and defensive line, you don't want them be able to grab you. If you're a linebacker, you don't want them to hold you."
Surratt shared some technical specifications of the new jersey.
"These are the called the stretch or mesh jerseys with the stretch ink on them," the coach said. "The numbers look small and the jersey looks so small. They're pretty tough to get on, but once you get it on they fit like a glove. The numbers and lettering, whether it says 'Carthage' or 'Bulldogs' stretches out all the way across the jersey.
"It's a new jersey. It's the first time they've ever done it and it's called 'Stretch Ink.' It's very light and supposed to be very durable. I think they're going to be really good."
The uniforms are not a wild departure from the Bulldogs' history. They're simply advertised as performance advancers.
Carthage has used different manufacturers through its golden era. The program won its first two titles in uniforms made by Russell Athletics in the late 2000s. It switched to Nike and won the 2010 title.
Adidas approached the school after its third-straight championship and this will be the Bulldogs' third season with the outfitter.
"We pay for the uniforms, but we have a lot of benefits," Surratt said. "We liked our Nike, and everything we've ever had we've liked. But I think Adidas takes good care of us."
Someone should do a study of the relationship between athletes and their uniforms.
There's a popular YouTube video of the University of Ohio revealing new alternate jerseys to its players a few hours before kickoff of one of their games in 2011.
Carthage doesn't have the luxury of creating countless uniform combinations, but the new jerseys certainly have the players excited to take the field this season.
They wanted to bring them to Tyler, after all.
"I like the colors of it and I really like the design," Marhsall said. "It doesn't look too flashy. It looks kind of plain Jane. But when you get up on it, you can tell it's a really nice jersey. It's actually the same jersey Louisville and Wisconsin wear, that's what our football trainer told us."
The players took their own pictures of each other on their mobile phones and distributed them via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to positive reviews from their friends in Carthage.
"They were very excited," Surratt said. "They said, 'This is the tightest uniform we've ever had.' Not that it was 'tight,' but that it was the best looking uniform. We have a very classic, plain style. That's what the new fad is. It's coming back. I think they look very good."