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Football Game Ops: Equipment Managers
Making a football game day run smoothly involves hard work from a variety of people, with much of the effort going unnoticed by the casual fan who just wants to see the game. For equipment managers, Saturdays are practically an all-day effort, and even though they're inside the operations, they usually don't have the chance to watch the game.
Liberty football's equipment efforts are led by head equipment manager Mike Morris and assistant manager Chris Brown, along with nine student workers. With its work area occupying 1,560 square feet in the Football Operations Center (FOC), the equipment team manages all aspects of equipment for the Flames.
While each day during the season is a long work day, game days involve heightened efforts including preparations on the field, on the sideline and in the locker room.
On the field, pylons and goal post pads must be set, while game balls must also be prepared. The staff brushes each game ball thoroughly, and then delivers them to the officials' locker room to be inspected and certified for play.
On the sidelines, staff members work on setting up the coaches' communication system. The headsets are prepared for use between the sidelines and the coaches' booth. In addition to the headsets, phone lines are set up for players to speak with the coaches during the game.
In the locker room, all of the student-athletes' uniform needs are being laid out or prepared for in the equipment room. Staff members neatly and professionally display jerseys, pants, helmets and pads at each locker, while other needs or adjustments can be made from the equipment room as necessary.
As student-athletes arrive on game days, they simply pick up items at their assigned cubby, while the rest is all ready in their lockers.
After giving coaches their headsets and ensuring proper performance, staff members then prepare the locker room for halftime. This includes setting up chairs for halftime meetings and getting ready in case any equipment alterations must be made.
Once halftime is finished, arrangements begin for the conclusion of the game. Chairs are put away, towels are placed in lockers for after the game, and various bins are set in the locker room to make laundry efforts more efficient.
When the final horn blows, the work continues with clean up. All the equipment which was put out during the day must be stored for at least another week, while more loads of laundry begin to be worked on in the three 50-pound washers and three 100-pound dryers which are used heavily. At least 500 pounds of laundry per day is done during the season.
Once game day is complete, another week begins. While their efforts may not be recognizable to the common fan, the work of Liberty's equipment managers is an integral part of making game day run smoothly for the team.