<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Who doesn’t own a white shirt?
While it seems like there is mostly excitement for the planned “whiteout” at the USU Homecoming game against UNLV, the amount of resistance I’ve seen pop up on message boards and heard around town is surprising.
Utah State football hasn’t been relevant since, realistically, at least 1993 before the past couple of seasons. Now the Aggies have a coach that appears to have changed the culture, a team that believes it can compete with anyone in the nation – and has proved it so far this season – and fans are complaining about requests from that coach and those players? No wonder building a winning football program in Logan is so tough.
Originally presented to Andersen by members of the USU student organization “The HURD,” the idea of a whiteout was quickly adopted by the coach and his players.
“I just think it’s fun. It’s important to involve everybody. We talk about it all the time, that it truly does take everybody to build a football program, to develop a football program into a consistent winner. It’s not just the players, it’s not just the football program itself, it’s not just the administration, and it’s not just the fan base – it takes everybody,” Andersen said. “It’s just a way to get everybody to do something a little bit different and be on the same page, and I think it will be pretty neat and be a special situation for everybody.”
One complaint I’ve heard about the whiteout is that it is gimmicky. To that, I say ‘And?’ It’s also something that players and recruits love. It looks great on television, and as Andersen says, it truly involves everyone to make it work. The fact that it’s gimmicky doesn’t seem to bother top-tier national programs like Stanford, Florida State, and Virginia Tech who have all have had “blackout” games. Penn State – known for less stellar things lately – has long been known for its amazing whiteout game day atmosphere. Even the Aggies’ instate FBS brothers have had whiteouts and blackouts in recent seasons.
“I think everyone is real excited about it. I think that the town is buzzing about it, and I think they did a good job in getting the word out so everybody knows that it’s going to be a white-out this weekend,” senior running back Kerwynn Williams said. “I’m just excited to see all the fans and stuff out there. I love playing at home, and it will be good to see everybody out there in their white shirts.”
Most of the complaining I’ve heard has come from season ticket holders. Not surprisingly, the excitement for the whiteout has caught on with the students. The USU student section is known nationally – at least when it comes to basketball – for its unity. I have no doubt that unity will be on display Saturday.
Another complaint I’ve heard is, ‘Well I already own a blue Aggie shirt, so that’s what I’m wearing.’ However, to make this whiteout effective, your white shirt doesn’t have to be an Aggie shirt. As long as it’s predominantly white, it will get the job done. There’s been plenty of “Aggie Blue” games, it’s time to break out the “Fighting White.”
“I think everybody has got a white t-shirt, so hopefully we get all of the fans in a white t-shirt,” Andersen said.
While the whiteout is not unique to USU, it is something new and exciting for this team and its coaches. It’s nearly October. When was the last time there was this much excitement for Aggie football heading into October? Certainly not in my lifetime. If fans want coaches like Gary Andersen to stick around and if they want to impress recruits that will only improve the football (and basketball team), these are the types of things that need to be bought into immediately – without question or complaining.
Have fun. Get involved. Wear white. Besides, you don’t want to be the only person in your section who shows up wearing blue – awkward.
<em>Timothy R. Olsen completed his undergraduate degree in journalism at Utah State University before earning his master’s degree from the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. While there, he served as the beat writer for the Syracuse football and men’s basketball teams. He also worked at the Utah Statesman where he served as the USU football and men’s basketball beat writer. He can be reached at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter <strong>@TheRealTO</strong>. </em>