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Changes in program come down to the smallest detail

Apr 19, 2010, 4:01 PM EDT

Saw a snippet this weekend that I thought was a great encapsulation of the wholesale changes that Brian Kelly is making to this football program.

While many have spoken about the new philosophies and systems that Kelly is incorporating, one of the largest changes is quite literal: The Irish will be playing a different brand of football.

Well, maybe it isn’t a different brand, but it’s a different model. That’s because the Irish will no longer be playing with their traditional Wilson F1001 football, but will switch to the Wilson GST F1003.

Lorenzo Reyes over at had some nice quotes from Dayne Crist that give us some insight on the change.

“The preference is with the coaching staff,” Crist said of the change. “They used it at Central and Grand Valley and Cincinnati so it’s just the ball that the coaches choose. I guess they do better in damp weather. I think they hold up a little better.

“It’s just like anything — getting used to it and getting familiar with it. I think that’s just a minor adjustment. But at the end of the day, it’s an adjustment just like anything else.”

I took the time to track down a representative at Wilson in Ada Ohio, and eventually spoke to a team sports representative to find out what the true difference was in footballs.

The GST model stands for “Game Saving Technology,” and the GST footballs are made with a proprietary leather and have a much deeper pebble and firmer texture than the traditional model. Another interesting change is that the GST models are different from the F1001 and F1005 footballs in that the white stripes on the ball are made of a composite leather, as opposed to being a cosmetic paint applied to the football after it’s hand-made.

Every change about the new football has been made to help handle the football better. The GST 1003 even has a narrower girth than the F1001, with the dimensions of the ball being slightly longer than the old model. (All footballs must fall within the range of 10.875 to 11.5 inches to be considered official collegiate size.) Simply put, the rep for Wilson believes that the GST football is the most technologically advanced football in the marketplace and believes that the GST technology truly does impact a team.

“It allows players to become better by making their contact with the football better,” he said.

In an offensive predicated around speed, where quarterbacks need to get the ball out of their hands as quickly as possible, it only makes sense for the Irish to use a football with a firmer grip and better handle. While the black seams might make a purist bristle, the switch to a more functional ball highlights the minute details that Kelly and his staff believe are worth changing.

  1. A Wilson - Apr 19, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    If Kelly has had success with this ball everywhere he has been, then I totally trust HIS judgement. Running the spread is quick quick quick, every fraction of a sec counts.

  2. Shazamrock - Apr 20, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    Perhaps by changing to a different ball, it will lead to better concentration by all those who come in contact with it. From QB’s focusing on better throws, to receivers concentrating on catching it, to running backs more aware of securing it.
    Hell, I would be all for gold cleats if I thought it gave our lineman a psychological edge.

  3. E-Man - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    Seems like a no-brainer, don’t know why other teams haven’t adopted it yet. A longer and thinner ball potentially could be thrown faster and farther, and for me would be easier to hang on to when it is locked in your forearm. The composite material is like glue with receivers gloves, so while the thinner shape would be harder to catch, once you got used to the thinner size, it really shouldn’t be any different.
    If ND is one of a few teams using this ball, I expect a slight advantage of our passers vs others DBs (thinner, faster ball) and our DBs over other passers (going after the thicker, slower ball). Probably not measureable, but then again, why do pro golfers practice putting to tees during warm ups

  4. Sgt. Moon - Apr 20, 2010 at 11:09 PM

    I don’t care if they use a basketball! Just as long as they score touchdowns!!
    Let’s get this season started!

  5. olemantj - Apr 21, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Not a bad change. This is more than just a cosmetic change. From what I’ve learned, this new Wilson is very similar in size and feel to the Nike ball most of ND’s opponents use. Which will help when they play them on the road

  6. E-Man - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Um, teams bring their own balls with them on away games. The only impact having the “new” ball similar to what our opponents use is defensive players would be more familar to the ball the opponents are using.

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