Football fans prepare for green day

Several movments have been started on campus in attempt to have every fan in attendance at Raymond James Stadium wear green during the upcoming weeks. ORACLE GRAPHIC/BRINSON RENDA

Two weeks ago, USF fans saw firsthand the impact they could have on a football game.

As the Bulls ran onto the field amidst a sea of orange at Jordan-Hare Stadium and boos rained down on them, USF found out what home field advantage is truly all about.

Since the game on Sept. 8, the Bulls have earned national rankings – No. 23 in the Associated Press poll and No. 24 in the USA Today/Coaches poll – and saw their game against North Carolina moved to ESPN.

Now with everything in place, one class on campus is ready to set up USF’s tradition. The community leadership practicum is trying to have every fan in attendance at Saturday’s game against North Carolina wear green.

“It’s a group project where we impact the community this semester and we felt this is a prime time to build school

spirit,” senior Jeremie Brunschwig said. “Going to Auburn and

seeing the huge school spirit there sparked the idea. We’ve only been around for 11 years but we’ve got to start somewhere.”

Along with trying to get

everyone to wear green at home games, the class is hoping to establish Monday as a day to show support for the team by wearing USF memorabilia.

A major factor has been the production of “Our Shirts,” green t-shirts produced for home games by student government and the USF athletics department.

The original idea was to incorporate both gold and green shirts and have the coaching staffs of every team on campus select a color for fans to wear. But the final decision was to produce 10,000 green shirts and have every home game become a “green out.”

“I thought we needed a game day shirt,” Our Shirt designer Megan Latchford said. “Every game should be a green game. The 2008 Our Shirt could be a gold shirt, or black, white or green again. We’re developing a whole board to help decide. But for this year, it’s a green game every time.”

Since the beginning of the Our Shirts campaign, 2,000 have been sold and Latchford said “only a few sizes are left” at the Marshall Center and Bulls Heaven.

Other schools across the country have seen its fans attend games wearing the same color: Auburn, Penn State and Louisville, among others, and Brunschwig believes if the fans are unified in color, then Raymond James Stadium would be a more

intimidating atmosphere.

Although the Bulls have yet to establish many traditions for football games, the team is

hoping fans start some soon.

“I think that would be pretty nice to have everyone in green. I don’t think that has ever been done before,” cornerback Trae Williams said. “Especially with the game being shown on ESPN – that would be the perfect time to do it.”

Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham agrees.

“They need to start some traditions like that. All green, all gold, all something,” Burnham said. “We need a tradition and we’ve got to build it, so I think that would be a good thing to start with. The green shirts are a great idea.”

Not only is there a class trying to deck Raymond James in green, there has been a movement on the internet to get USF fans wearing green on game day.

“I saw something about

everyone wearing green on Facebook,” quarterback Matt Grothe said. “It’s pretty intimidating to see so many

people wearing the same colors. I think if the fans did that it’d be awesome because green really stands out.”

The Facebook group called “Green Out for WV Home Football Game!!!!” was started by USF student Aaron Rogge on Thursday and at press time 1,330 members had joined.

“I heard we were close to selling out the upper deck and I thought it’s so important to make the stadium green,” Rogge said. “Every time I log on, there’s a ton of messages and more and more people have signed up. I think someone is signing up every minute.”

When USF begins Big East play on Friday, Sept. 28, the largest attendance in history is expected to see the Bulls play West Virginia. The upper bowl of the stadium has been opened in anticipation of the additional fans.

USF is still trying to break the record it set with 49,212 in attendance during the Bulls’ initial game against Kentucky Wesleyan on Sept. 6, 1997 at Tampa Stadium. The record at Raymond James came against the Mountaineers when a crowd of 45,274 came in 2005.

With a national ranking, the USF athletic department is expecting approximately 60,000 fans in attendance.

“Having that many people would be amazing. I think it has a big impact to have the 12th man,” Williams said. “If all those people are decked out in green then we’ll definitely have home field advantage.”