|(photo via Adam Sparks / The Plainsman)|
Before we dive into Saturday's game, the history of the football team's sleeves. They actually started out on the basketball court. The beginning of the 2013-14 basketball season saw even more additions of the Northwestern Stripe to Auburn's uniform, something that Under Armour is still in love with. The basketball team trotted out in the Auburn Arena sporting new striped socks, and a few guys wearing new shooting sleeves that were striped around the back of the elbow. Sadly, these were only worn for a few games and never seen since on the hardwood. I briefly spoke with Chris Denson after a game asking about the sleeves, and he simply stated that the football team liked them so much that they took them all.
|Kris Frost was one of the few players to first sport the striped arm sleeves|
in 2013 (photo via Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images)
Flash forward to the 2013 game at Texas A&M. Auburn, then ranked #24, traveled to College Station to face the #7 ranked Aggies and Johnny Manziel. The Tigers came out on top to begin the run to the National Championship Game that season. Outside of the play on the field and the result, this game marked the first time Auburn had sported specially designed arm sleeves, with these having a stripe similar to the pants.
The arm sleeves disappeared for a few weeks following the return from Texas. It wasn't until the Alabama game, six weeks later, that sleeves returned. This time they were the same elbow-striped sleeves from the basketball team. We all know how that game went, and the sleeves were here to stay.
Through the final three games of the 2013 season, Auburn wore the arm sleeves in all three colors - orange versus Alabama, blue versus Missouri, and white against Florida State.
For the 2014 season, the sleeves came and went and became more of a personal accessory for the players. This year's rendition were more of a compression sleeve and less of a padded shooting sleeve like the year before. The stripes also fell from the elbow down to the forearm. QB Nick Marshall loved these sleeves, and wore one nearly every game after he first wore one in the 2013 Iron Bowl. Marshall wore the white striped sleeve for the first four games of the season, switching to a plain orange sleeve for the LSU game.
The 2015 season saw a lot of changes for Auburn's uniforms. A new template and metallic helmet details were the biggest changes. To help keep the uniformity among the players, the team adopted a new base layer system, keeping every item and every player looking similar from head to toe. Even with this, the striped sleeves didn't go away completely. They came and went game-in and game-out, depending on the designated base layer color and, of course, player preferences.
Now comes the opening game of the 2016 season. Not many players wore sleeves, but the few that did wore a completely new design. QB John Franklin III, who wore the elbow striped sleeves extensively in practice, was one of the few sporting the new vertical stripes sleeves.
I don't hate the vertical stripes, but it feels inferior to the elbow stripes. I would expect to see these sleeves, of course in all three colors, used throughout the rest of the year. It might get a little cluttered if the old elbow sleeves get mixed in to a few games along the way.