Uniformity – Week 1: ASU tradition with a Frank Kush twist

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By Cole Streeper

The Arizona State Sun Devils open their 2017 season against New Mexico State on Aug. 31

A Year in Review

The 2016 college football season was one of highs and lows for Arizona State. What began as a promising 5-1 start fizzled away with injuries, poor play, and six straight losses. Missing a bowl game for the first time in Todd Graham’s tenure was a tough pill to swallow for ASU fans.

However, there is still reason for optimism as the 2017 season approaches. There are many hungry players coming back with something to prove. A new season means a fresh start and another chance to compete for lofty goals. Sun Devil fans are fascinated as to what the competitive product that they see on the field will be and how the chemistry of so many newcomers and long time veterans will emerge.

Sun Devil fans will also be fascinated to see what else will appear on the field from week to week in the form of something that is a constant topic of discussion and intrigue: uniforms. Perhaps last year could be seen as a season of highs and lows for Arizona State Football uniforms by some as well. The author of this column saw a successful season of sharp uniform combinations in all 12 games. 2016 rode high with innovation from the Sun Devil Equipment staff. They found ways to make annual uniforms like the Whiteout and Maroon Monsoon fresh, and continued to flourish with creativity within the copper inspired Desert Series, making ASU stand out as a representative of the state of Arizona.

When the Sun Devils took the field in their all white uniform against Colorado last year, they did so with an extra splash of white on the helmet. Rather than using a maroon facemask with the white helmet as they always had in the past, ASU used a white facemask for the first time since 1995. On top of that, solid maroon number decals on the helmet were changed to a maroon outline decal so that the numbers matched the color of the white helmet.

During the Maroon Monsoon against Cal, black pitchfork decals with chrome gold trim were utilized and gave the helmets a glow as if a blacksmith had just pulled metal from a forge.

The Desert Series produced one of college football’s most successful and most talked about uniform innovations of the year in the Desert Chrome helmet that the Sun Devils wore against Oregon. Copper chrome accented with silver chrome and white decals made for the one of the most stunning looks ASU has ever worn.

The Sun Devils also wore a White/Gray/White combination against UCLA, and a Gray/White/Gray combination in the Territorial Cup.

There is a change to the uniform game for ASU this year though, as a memo was released shortly after the 2016 season ended that stated the team is to stay closely committed to its maroon and gold roots. There will be room for alternates approved by the athletic department; however it spells the end of the copper-themed Desert Series until further notice. This move brought both cheers and jeers as there are those in favor of both the traditional colors and the innovative uniforms.

It will be interesting to see how limited the Sun Devil Equipment staff will be this year, but they are still sure to have some outstanding surprises up their sleeve this season, one of which you will see later in this article. Welcome back to college football, folks. And welcome back to Uniformity.

The Week to Come

Uniform

A season of re-dedication to maroon and gold is kicked off with the tradition of wearing the classic ASU Football uniform combination for the first home game of the season. The Sun Devils will be wearing their Gold helmet/Maroon jersey/Gold pant combination as they open up their 2017 campaign against the Aggies of New Mexico State. Arizona State’s standard uniforms for the 2017 season will remain the same, once again, as when Adidas first took over as their uniform provide in 2015.

The maroon jersey features “Arizona State” in Sun Devil Bold text across the chest as well as for the nameplate on the back of the jersey, as well as gold trim on the sleeves. The gold player numbers are outlined in black on both the front and back of the jersey. The gold pants still have the prominent maroon pitchfork with black trim on the left thigh.

Helmet

The matte gold helmet will feature a standard sized maroon pitchfork with gold trim as the gold helmet shell remains as the only one in the ASU helmet selection to not have a large pitchfork decal used on it. It will also feature a maroon facemask as well as a 3D bumper on the front of the helmet that reads PT*42 in honor of the legendary Sun Devil, Pat Tillman.

The back of the helmet will feature a maroon Pac 12 shield, as well as a maroon outline of the state of Arizona with a small maroon pitchfork over Tempe.

If you looked closely, you may have noticed a new decal on the back of the helmet as well. This decal will be worn for the duration of the season to honor the legendary Arizona State football coach, Frank Kush, who passed away in late June. The decal is a miniature version of the maroon Sunburst logo that was worn in late 1970s during a portion of the Kush era. On the decal above the Sunburst is text that reads “Frank Kush” which is completed with the phrase “Builder of Champions” underneath the Sunburst.

Cleats

White cleats accented with maroon and gold will be worn for the Week 1 contest. The white, low top Adi-Zeros will be worn by the lighter, speed position players like wide receivers and the defensive secondary. The mid-tops will be worn by heavy, speed players like linebackers and tight ends. Finally, the high tops will be worn by linemen on both sides of the ball, as they provide a great deal of support for the pressure and torque that the larger players put on their ankles and feet.

Gloves

The Sun Devils will wear white gloves, and as with the cleats, there are different gloves for different positions. In both pictures, the gloves on the bottom are Adi-Zeros and they feature a white pitchfork with maroon trim which can be seen when the two palms are placed together. The gloves on the top left are Adidas Freaks, worn by larger skill position players such as linebackers and tight ends. The gloves on the top right are Adidas Freak-Max, which boast extra padding on the heel of the palm for all of the contact that linemen endure throughout the course of a game.

Reaction

Kicking the year off in maroon and gold is always a great way to go. Watching the Sun Devils storm the field in those colors after Sparky stomps the bus and plants the pitchfork in Sun Devil Stadium is a great feeling after a long offseason of waiting. It will be a slightly different experience this year, as the team will be entering from the new Tillman Tunnel on the north side of the stadium with the new 5,419 square-foot video screen bringing them to the 2017 season.

The excitement of a new season is upon us all, and even with a scaling back on the uniforms, the Sun Devil Football team is sure to shine throughout the 2017 season. Sun Devil Football Equipment Manager Jerry Neilly and his outstanding staff will make sure of that.

Fantasy Combo of the Week

This spirit of this week’s fantasy combo is in contrast to the new standards placed upon uniforms. Even though copper will not be featured, we can still have fun with it. This week’s fantasy combo is simple and straightforward. It is a blackout uniform with all copper accents from head to toe.

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