ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) — The football team at the University of Central Florida did something or, more accurately, wore something unconventional in their spring game on Saturday.
The last name of every player had been swapped for the Twitter handle of every player.
“It was just an idea within our staff,” explained Knights head coach Gus Malzahn. “We got a very creative staff. We are all on board when we say that we believe the future of college football is here. That is just the first step and trying to look ahead and I think it was a good thing.”
The team chose to target Twitter because it has a relatively young group of alumni.
“If you really look at it, we’ve got 322,000 living alumni and the average age is 36. They are all on social media. We got 72,000 students all on social media,” said Malzahn, “and this is the new age of personal branding and we are going to embrace it within the NCAA rules. That is who we are and that is who we are going to be.”
Malzahn added an amusing story to support this decision.
“Some of these big schools” he said, “the average age of their alumni is 65 and they are all on Facebook so we have a big advantage. My mom is on Facebook. She checked it last night as a matter of fact.”
He stated he does not worry that the support of “personal branding” will result in a divide in the team.
“We are going to be a team,” he said. “There is no grey area with that at all. It is just the new age of college football, what is the future going to look like, and it is going to be different and we are going to be that team and that group that is looking ahead and being prepared for it but, make no mistake, we are a team and we are an extremely close team.”
The players showed their support for the new jerseys on Twitter.
Quarterback Dillon Gabriel highlighted the innovative nature of the team.
Big Kat Bryant, a defensive end who is new to the program, stated he loves the energy from his head coach.
The Knights will open the 2021 season at home against the Boise State Broncos. Although they are not likely to sport the Twitter handles in that game, you should expect them to remain relevant in regards to the “new age of college football.”