Keller: Longtime fans won't be moved by Terps' uniforms

August 24, 2011|By MARK KELLER |
  • Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor
Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor

Turns out that tremor felt up and down the East Coast on Tuesday wasn’t really an earthquake after all.

Nope, that was the aftershock of the Maryland football team unveiling its new uniforms.

If you haven’t seen them yet, think Oregon, only replacing the green and yellow with black and red.


Everyone gets a big laugh out of trying to guess what combination of helmet, jersey and pants the University of Oregon will wear in a given week.

I get the feeling that longtime Maryland fans aren’t going to be interested in playing “Color Wheel of Fortune” on Saturday afternoons.

These are the fans who celebrated the return to the helmet design of the mid-80s (bearing a script “Terps”) when Ralph Friedgen took over as head coach.

These new uniforms are an upgrade(?) from a Heart/Def Leppard co-headlining date at a state fair to Lady Gaga performing at Madison Square Garden.

You can’t blame Maryland for trying. The school needs to build some buzz around this football team, because it’s about as vanilla as you can get.

How else do you explain last year’s team finishing fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference and being relegated to the Military Bowl?

Many figured the time to create buzz was when the school hired a replacement for Friedgen, who was bought out with a year left on his contract.

Big names were bandied about for the job, which ultimately went to Randy Edsall, late of UConn.

More vanilla. That ought to be what they call the shade of white in the new uniforms.

The comparison to Oregon is fitting, because not only are the uniforms similar, so are the situations.

Oregon is backed heavily by Ducks alum Phil Knight of Nike. Maryland is backed heavily by Terps alum Kevin Plank of Under Armour.

Do you think Plank wouldn’t want to see Under Armour take a bite — however small — out of Knight’s Nike empire?

Just like everything else in college football these days, it comes down to money.

Oh, and recruiting.

Plank outfits his old school in his unis, shows other schools that his company can produce the same sort of gear as Nike and he gains more customers along the way.

Maryland makes money as its younger fans flock to buy new Terps gear.

Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said, “It’s not whether we like the new look, but if the people we are recruiting like the new look.”

And where does actual football figure into this?

I guess you have to hope that Edsall has his eye on that ball.

Among the comments on a Washington Post photo slideshow of the new uniforms was one that said simply and succinctly:

“Well that’s nice. Now go play some football.”

If the Terrapins can win games, fans won’t much care what the players are wearing on the field.

If not ... well, you know what they say about putting lipstick on a pig.


Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7728 or by email at

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