There were plenty of 8:30 p.m.
Doesn't sound like fun does it?
Kelly started his career at the University of Utah in 2008. You remember the 2008 season, Sugar Bowl and all of that undefeated stuff? Since then, the football program has come a very long way.
"When I first got here, we had one helmet, they would practice in the that helmet all week and then we would get them cleaned and prepped for the games on Saturday. Now, we have 3 game helmets and one that is exclusively for practice," Kelly said. "Things have really changed from when I first arrived here. Everything from facilities to the way we run practice has completely changed."
As Kelly showed me around the equipment room, I could not help but notice the care and pride he and his staff take
Each day the equipment staff is tasked with keeping track of every piece of equipment that goes in and out of their possession and to whom it belongs. They meet with the team captains every week to decide which uniform combination to wear for the next game, discuss any issues with equipment, and make repairs. They also have to clean, repair, re-sticker, and keep every helmet in optimal condition throughout the season. They also team up with Under Armour and the university designers to come up with new concepts for future uniforms and discuss what the players do and don't like. The white helmet that has turned out to be the crown jewel of this season, was the brainchild of the equipment staff that Kelly said was years in the making, and he said that they have much more to come.
Aside from their responsibilities for uniforms and equipment, they play a very significant role in the management and operation of every practice and throughout the actual games.
What you might not realize is that you have most likely seen each and every one of the equipment staff on the field and on TV. They are constantly working to keep things running smoothly for everyone involved in the game. For instance, there are guys taking care of helmets and equipment issues on the sidelines, running the goal post nets, keeping the refs hydrated, keeping time with the game clock to ensure everything is on track, and, oh yeah, they also play a huge part in relaying plays to the players on the field.
I was fortunate enough to spend time with the
"We have a spreadsheet of what each player wants for game day, and it's our job to make sure that happens," Cody said. "Our goal is to make sure that when the players come in to get dressed, they don't have to ask us for anything. We want them to have everything they need, exactly how they like it."
The equipment staff takes pride in what they do because they are a part of what makes Utah's football team successful.
"It would be foolish to think that we have any effect on what happens on the field, but we do feel like we are a very big part of what it takes to make this program work," Kelly said. "We work hard, and we take pride in what we do."
I talked to each of the staff individually and asked them what was the best part of being on this
The "family" concept at Utah has been documented well, and while some may think that it's cheesy or a gimmick, those that experience it and live it everyday would tell you that whether you coach, play, or are involved in any other capacity, it truly is and will always be a family.
On game day, remember to watch the sidelines for more than the touchdown celebrations and injuries. The equipment staff is working hard all throughout the game (and before and afterward) to keep the Utah football program running like a well-oiled machine.