Copyright 2018 The Pantagraph
The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois)
NORMAL — First a versatile standout at University High School and now a defensive lineman on the Illinois State football team, Austin Galindo knows Hancock Stadium better than practically anyone who has donned shoulder pads.
"The old turf was rough, a lot of injuries, turf burns, broken collarbones," Galindo said. "This new turf is much easier on our feet and legs."
ISU players returned to campus this week and began summer workouts. Underneath their feet is a brand new artificial turf replacing the surface that had served Redbird football the past 11 seasons.
"It's a very nice addition to the stadium. This is beautiful," Galindo said. "People are able to make stronger cuts without slipping. The other turf we were slipping all over the place."
ISU has installed a new version of its previous FieldTurf.
The shade of green alternates every 5 yards expect at midfield, where the Redbird head logo is a bit larger.
End zones are red with white lettering outlined in black. The sideline team areas from 25-yard line to 25-yard line are a solid red.
"I'm very pleased with the project from start to finish," ISU director of athletics Larry Lyons said. "I'm very pleased with the look of the turf. It will be a very good playing surface for us moving forward."
Quarterback Malachi Broadnax and safety Christian Uphoff also gave the turf rave reviews.
"I love it. I feel like a butterfly walking on it," Broadnax said. "It's really soft, light on my feet. It brings a different vibe to the field."
Uphoff also predicted injuries would go down.
"This is nothing like the last one. The last one was really hard," said Uphoff. "It feels like you're running on a cloud it's so soft."
The Redbirds will play their first game on the turf in the Sept. 1 season opener against Saint Xavier.
"That is definitely going to be something," Broadnax said. "We've got this brand new field. The crowd is going to be vibrant. We're going to be so ready to play. Everything will have way more energy."
Lyons also is happy the project's $600,000 price tag will be even lower when ISU settles up with the installation company.
"What we don't know is the credit we will get for reusing the infield that was in the old turf. They reused as much as they could," said Lyons.
"We knew we would get some kind of credit. We were able to utilize an existing purchasing consortium the state of Illinois was participating in that set a favorable price."
Read More of Today's AB Headlines
Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter