ORLANDO, Fla. – Before the UCF football team takes the field on game day, a group of dedicated individuals makes sure that every sock, shoulder pad, thigh pad, pair of cleats, and uniform is in tip-top shape.
As the players focus on winning the game, this team focuses on making sure they are 100-percent ready.
It is easy to see how complex the team’s uniforms are, but it is rare to have full access to talk with the equipment team and ask them how they make everything ready for game day.
News 6 was there as the team prepared for the last home game against Tulsa,with crews wheeling cases of gear into the home locker room.
Evan Brown and David Weeks have worked with the Knights for four years. They've worked for the football team in every capacity, from washing laundry to helping lead the other 13 team members in the locker room each day.
We sat down with Brown, Weeks and a few other members and got a rundown of everything that must be done in the days before the game.
As the team begins its week on Monday, the process starts to get to game day.
The equipment from the game before has been cleaned, prepped and polished by this team, which maintains the practice uniforms and game -day attire.
“We get helmets ready, we get everything, make sure everything’s ready for practice that day,” Weeks said.
Everyone on the team knows what his position is and how they all contribute to helping things run smoothly.
After the two-hour practice,the equipment team is off to do laundry and make sure each helmet is inspected and fixed.
“Everything from cleanliness to making sure nothing’s broken on it, to tightening down all the bolts. We need to make sure it’s all flawless for game day,” Brown said.
Laundry is a monumental task, with the team washing numerous loads every day after practice.
“Monday through Wednesday we have practice, and there’s 120-130 players we’re doing laundry for, and then after games too," Brown said.
As the team practices during the week, the process continues until game day preparations begin on Thursday, after practice has concluded.
“We get all the helmets together, you can see behind me. We pack them up after practice. We pack up the cleats and bring them down to the locker room where we are now, and from there we start getting set up,” Brown said.
The setup takes about 3 to 4 hours.
The day before the Tulsa game, News 6 observed trunks of equipment as they were wheeled down to the team locker room and placed into the empty lockers.
For a group this size that works with over 100 players, organization is key.
Everyone has a job to do and is willing to pitch in and help the others out.
The nameplates were in place already, and then the task of placing socks, weather gear and helmets got underway.
Each person in the room meticulously placed all the gear in the lockers ,concluding with a UCF stool in each locker.
“There’s a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes before game day rolls around,” Brown said.
Once everything is in place, the team inspects each helmet for safety.
“I always tell new people when they are doing helmets is that you have to remember that safety is involved. So like having a loose bolt isn’t good enough. It has to be perfect. If there is anything loose that can come off during the game, that’s going to reflect back on us. It’s really just a tedious job of making sure everything is perfect,” Weeks said.