ASHLAND, Ore. – When Craig Howard took over as the Southern Oregon head football coach in 2011, he faced a variety of challenges. The Raiders were 8-21 in three prior seasons, and they were an independent team leaving them out of any conference championships. Within two years, however, Howard led SOU to the top of the Frontier Conference and finished off one of the most successful seasons in school history last year.
The reformation is still incomplete, though. Howard’s next task is to make his men look good. On Sunday the Raiders introduced new road uniforms at the team’s picture day in Ashland. The offense sported the new whites, showing off a few differences from last year’s version. In 2012, the road uniforms only had the number on the front and back. These new digs have “SOUTHERN” written on the front, and the Raider logo is on the back, but there was one feature which was the clear favorite among the players.
“The numbers,” offensive lineman Drew Gibson says. “How it fades down into it. That’s probably my favorite part. Most people like that.”
“It’s like a new car,” quarterback Chris Kammel says. “You like to show it off. When you look good, you play good. That’s our philosophy.”
“It’s just like Christmas came early for us,” wide receiver Matt Retzlaff says. “These are pretty dang new and good looking for us. We’re going to wear them well and represent them.”
“I think it’s a statement about our program,” Gibson says, “about how our program is turned around, and about what the coaches are doing for us. I think it’s great to go out on the road looking better than the other people.”
The Raiders will display their new road uniforms on Sept. 7 against Montana-Western.