There will be 105 Tar Heels to take the field on Friday for the opening day of training camp, each requiring a set of shoes for various purposes. That level of quantity requires a significant amount of storage space and organization within the equipment room.
The equipment staff spent Wednesday morning unpacking and sorting Nike boxes.
The shoes were grouped accordingly...
Before being stocked in each player's cubby.
Each Tar Heel received pairs of shoes for travel, workouts and flip flops for the shower. Players are also provided practice turf shoes for the indoor facility and running shoes for summer workouts. This year's practice cleats are last year's game cleats. The 2012 game cleats are still in boxes and will be handed out prior to the season opener.
There are seven different styles of game cleats that the Tar Heels will be wearing in 2012, ranging from Alpha Talons to Vapors to Zoom Code Sharks. Assistant equipment manager Jason Freeman sets out each style option and labels the shoes in numerical order. Then all the players have to do is stop by and let the staff know which option they prefer.
The following selection of cleat photos are the 2011 styles that will be worn for practice this season. The navy and white color scheme will carry over to 2012.
This pair of Alpha Speed 3/4 is what quarterback Bryn Renner wore last season. The red-shirt junior will likely switch the Vapor Pro 3/4 for this season. Quarterbacks tend to wear 3/4 options for ankle protection and support.
Defensive backs and wide receivers prefer the low-top Vapors or Vapor Talons. The low cuts are designed for speed positions, although a linebacker will occasionally select this style. The speed shoes are narrow and tight-fitting (similar to a soccer shoe) and often require players to move up by as much as one full shoe size.
While high tops are essentially a thing of the past in football, linemen still lean toward 3/4 or 5/8 options. The large variety of cleats is predicated on the need for different levels of support and agility. For example, the Vapor has a maximum weight allotment of 230 pounds. The Shark is built for a player weighing up to 400 pounds.
The Vapor Pro 3/4 will be worn by all of UNC's linebackers this season, as well as by some running backs and tight ends.