Blake Lynch can’t remember exactly what thoughts raced through his mind when the Kansas State football team unveiled new uniforms earlier this week.
The junior kicker was in a room filled with the entire roster when it happened, and there was too much excitement going around for him to think much of anything.
“I was just happy and smiling, yelling and stuff,” Lynch said. “It was fun.”
That reaction was predictable. K-State football players have been waiting years for new or alternate uniforms, and they finally get to wear them against Baylor. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“That is something that we have dreamed about,” defensive back A.J. Parker said. “Getting new uniforms and a new helmet, new pants, we are excited to have that. We are glad Coach (Chris) Klieman got those for us. Since I have been here it’s been one of those things we have always talked about. A change here, a change there, even something for just one game, it’s something that we as players always look forward to.”
K-State’s new look doesn’t seem radically different from what fans grew accustomed to under Snyder. The Wildcats will still wear purple jerseys with stripes on the shoulder pads, and a purple powercat still graces the sides of their helmets. But they won’t wear silver helmets and pants like they traditionally have this week.
They are trading those in for white helmets and white pants that give the Wildcats a fresher look at home, and open up the possibility of radically different all-white uniforms on the road.
“Hopefully we get to wear them with our white jerseys,” Lynch said. “I think that would look really cool.”
Klieman promised to alter K-State’s uniforms on a limited basis shortly after he arrived in Manhattan.
There’s nothing wrong with the Wildcats’ traditional silver-and-white look. K-State has worn that uniform during all of its biggest victories and symbolizes success for many fans. But alternate uniforms have become a recruiting tool and excitement-builder for many teams across college football. He felt it was time for the Wildcats to join the fray.
K-State players clearly approved of that decision when former running back Mike McCoy modeled the new uniforms at a team meeting earlier this week and everyone in the room cheered.
“I don’t know if you guys believe in the saying ‘look good, feel good, play good,’ but there are a lot of guys who believe in that saying,” defensive end Wyatt Hubert said. “It is definitely nice to have a little bit of swag on the team.”
The plan is for K-State to continue wearing its traditional uniforms for most games, but Klieman wants to mix things up a few times each season for special games. He chose Baylor this season because he wanted to debut alternate uniforms for K-State’s first home conference game.
K-State released pictures and videos of the new uniforms on Monday, and they have received positive reviews throughout the week.
The big question now: will they help K-State win?
James Gilbert has some unique perspective to offer here. The senior running back spent his first three seasons playing at Ball State, where they mixed and matched different uniforms every week. Gilbert said equipment managers regularly asked players what they wanted to wear, and reacted accordingly.
He loved that system. The better he looked, the better he played.
“We are excited,” Gilbert said. “We couldn’t wait for them to break them out. We are breaking tradition. We have always been silver and purple. To have the white and purple, to mix it up a little bit, is really cool.”