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Penn State Football: A New Look And A Big Secret

by on June 15, 2017 3:45 PM

For months it had been the best kept secret in State College. Penn State football was rolling out a new alternate uniform with ties to the past. A jersey that rarely changes and has become one of the most iconic in the sport was getting a few tweaks for at least one game.

And for months the secret stayed that way.

Until Thursday afternoon when it was announced to the world. 

How does that happen? How does a newsworthy change stay so closely guarded? Most everything of note around Penn State football leaks out eventually, even if never reported. 

The answer is a limited circle.

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"It was just Coach Franklin and myself," Assistant athletic director for marketing Brad Keen (who can boast also being behind the fireworks and stripe-out) said on Thursday. "In the early stages you could count the number of people who knew about it on one hand."

For a long time it stayed that way. Just Keen, Franklin and long time equipment specialist Spider Caldwell, the original idea had been berthed by Franklin years ago, but it slowly started to take shape as real options opened up. A call to Nike started the process, and on Thursday the final result was unveiled, a collection of eras sprinkled across the classic look.

"There are people today in the athletic department who work with game day and marketing that are just finding out about it as you do," Keen added. "People are probably upset we didn't tell them, but hopefully they understand why. None of us wanted to be the one to ruin the surprise."

So they didn't tell anyone.

"Towards the end we had to tell more people in graphic design," Keen said. "But we all went the normal lengths to make sure it didn't get out."

And they got some cooperation from senior receiver Josh McPherson who modeled the uniform for the release video, his teammates finding out just before 8 AM on Thursday morning.

As for the media, a handful of beat writers huddled in the Lasch Building team meeting room just after 1 PM for an undisclosed briefing, many assuming it was related to James Franklin's contract extension. 

But then someone hit play on a video.

And then the secret was out.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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