Tech addresses jersey number glitch

For Georgia Tech's season opener on Thursday night, Christa Ryan brought a depth chart to her seat so she could identify the players.

Ryan had trouble spotting the Yellow Jackets, though, and it didn't have anything to do with the many new starters. The problem was what they wore. The gold numbers on Tech's new white jerseys were difficult to distinguish. Some fans called the task nearly impossible.

Said Ryan, who sits three rows up from the field, "You just couldn't tell who was who."

Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich, whose department debuted several measures to improve the fan experience at Bobby Dodd Stadium, said staff members were looking into alternatives and he expected the issue to be resolved before the next home game, on Sept. 17 against Kansas.

The solution? Said Radakovich, "One where you can see the numbers."

The easiest fix would be to use Tech's road uniforms, which are similar in design with navy blue numbers on white jerseys and white pants instead of gold. Equipment manager Tom Conner said it would likely take at least three or four weeks to get new jerseys.

The numbers were visible on TV and the stadium video board, just not in person. They have a navy outline, but it evidently was too thin to be visible from the stands. Tech has worn gold on white in the past, but with either a thicker outline, a different shade of gold or fabric that made the numbers more legible.

Ryan, whose seats with her husband Kevin are on the 30-yard line on the north side of the field, said she couldn't make out the numbers past the 50-yard line.

Even keen-eyed students had trouble. Third-year industrial and systems engineering major Joey Weaver attended Collins Hill High with B-back Charles Perkins, but had trouble distinguishing Perkins' No. 21 from other players with numbers in the 20s.

"Gold numbers on white, that doesn't really stand out at all," he said.

Said season-ticket holder Hal Davis, "I don't really like to complain, but it does [stink]."

For a segment of Tech fans, uniforms and color are no small concern. Traditionalists favor gold accents (and the correct shade of gold, at that) over navy and haven't been shy about letting Radakovich know. In recent years, Tech has worn white with navy numbers but changed for this season.

"We do as much gold at home as we can for the alumni and as much navy as we can on the road for the players," Conner said.

While the variations have been slight, the new uniforms are the fourth in coach Paul Johnson's four years.

"Form follows function," said Davis, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Tech. "If it works, I really don't care what it looks like."