When football fans enter Romney Stadium on Aug. 30 for Utah State’s home opener against Southern Utah, they will be treated to a fresh new look.
Not only will the Aggies be donning new uniforms for the first time, but they will also be playing on a new field.
USU recently completed its field renovation and the Aggies can’t wait to try it out.
“It’s great,” wide receiver Matt Austin said. “I’m excited to play on it. We’re starting this new tradition at Utah State and it’s just a great feeling.”
The old Sprinturf, which was installed in 2004, was replaced by AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 Extreme.
“I think it looks great, it looks fantastic,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “The kids are excited to be able to get out and practice on it here in the next few days.”
The Aggies report for fall camp on Thursday and begin practicing Friday.
“We’ll get out and run around soon, but it looks fantastic,” Andersen said. “A lot of construction, a lot of change going on here, so that’s a positive.”
The new field features USU’s new logo at midfield, with “Merlin Olsen Field” written out on both the right and left hash marks between the 10- and 30-yard lines.
Both end zones are navy blue with the “Utah State” word mark in the south end zone and the “Aggies” word mark in the north end zone, bookended by the new bull logo. The logos and word marks in both end zones will utilize USU’s new pewter color.
“Obviously, the previous field was about ready to expire,” USU Athletics Director Scott Barnes said. “We probably could have got another year out of it at best, but with the new logo, that created a bit more of a sense of urgency to want to have it done now.
“We’re looking forward to that national TV game with Utah (Sept. 7) and having the new field ready to go.”
There is one minor problem that still needs to be ironed out, though.
“We’ve actually got a unique circumstance with the glare of the north end zone building,” Barnes said. “There are some windows that put such a glare on the field that it actually can melt part of the field, so one of the lingering problems is to mitigate that by some potential window tinting and changing out the windows so that it doesn’t damage the field.
“Right now there is some glare between the end zone and the building itself ... so we’ve got to mitigate that as soon as we can, and we’re working on that. That’s the only issue we have. Other than that, I love the product.”
Especially since the right color of blue was used this time. The blue that was used on the previous field was a lighter shade.
“Yeah, it’s funny about that,” Barnes said with a laugh. “We probably checked 15 times to make sure that, that blue was what we wanted. We had enough horror stories and lived with the other blue long enough that we wanted to make sure we got that right.”
The new surface is also unique in that it alternates between light green and dark green every five yards.
“I love it,” Andersen said. “That was something I really pounded the table for to have. It’s different, it sets the field apart from other fields. With the deep dark blue and the gray, they compliment each other very well.”
“I love it,” Barnes said. “We talked to coach Andersen quite a bit and he really liked that look, so we decided together to move that direction. ... Originally, it wasn’t necessarily the plan, but as we looked at options, we really liked it.”
AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 Extreme combines a monofilament Horseshoe fiber with a slit film product.
The Horseshoe fiber has an Omega shape, which is more resilient and bounces back, staying upright longer. It also reflects less light and heat. The slit film offers the ultimate in durability.
The field also has a face weight of 60 ounces of fiber per square yard — the highest in the industry — which adds to the durability provided by the fiber shape.
The field features AstroFlect heat reduction technology, which can lower surface temperatures by as much as 18 percent. The field also has RootZone, a thatch layer that holds the sand and rubber infill in place for less splash and migration, making for a more consistent playing surface.
“First of all, having a new playing surface excites the kids,” Andersen said. “It will have a great look and a different look than many of the fields in the country the way we have it diagrammed, and I think the players and fans will like that.
“Second, it should be fast, which will be good for our players to get out and play on — it’s the best turf you can get. And finally, it continues to build our facilities. This field is not just for games. We can have quality practices on this surface in good and bad weather, and it gives us another opportunity to continue to prepare for games at the highest level.”