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[ ESSENTIALS ]
You've got to have the right
HelmetThis durable 5-pound item comes from Riddell, Schutt and Adams USA. They are shipped to Continental Athletic Supply in Gridley, Calif., where they are painted "Warrior Green." Decals are added by UH's equipment staff and are replaced if scuffed up during a game.
Shoulder padsMade by Douglas Protective Equipment in Houston, they come in six styles, some with more foam cushioning and molded plastic for protection. With 200 in stock, there are plenty to choose from. Despite their bulky appearance, they weigh only between four and seven pounds.
GlovesTwo Reebok styles are offered. 1. Double Grip College is made with neoprene on the palm and fingers for extra grip, useful for those who handle the ball often. 2. Padded Lineman: Small cushions line the back for extra protection. Only XL and 2XL sizes for those really big guys.
PadsRugged. Durable. These skeletons of plastic wrapped in vinyl-coated foam help protect the knees, thigh, tailbone and hips. There are plenty in stock -- 100 pairs for the thighs, 50 for the tail and hip, and 200 for the knees.
MouthpieceThose pearly whites can be protected with two models: 1. Just boil the moldable plastic mouthpiece for about 20 seconds, insert over upper teeth and bite for five seconds. 2. A custom-made mouthpiece is made from a mold of the player's teeth for a really perfect fit. Perfect for those who gotta chat it up on the field.
JerseyAnother Reebok item, a jersey is made of nylon that can take a beating. "The life of a jersey is roughly three to four years," Ginoza said.
Athletic tapeRolls and rolls and rolls from Johnson & Johnson. From pre-wraps to extra strong Elastikon, the Warriors are covered with some 275 cases earmarked for the football team this year. That's 32 rolls per case at 15 yards per roll.
PantsMade of 92% nylon and 8% spandex, this Reebok item is "designed for the serious athlete." So it says on the tag. Only one per player each year. Old pants are used for practice.
Jock strap'Nuff said.
So you want a look that can scare a puny defensive back to death. How about that running back you're about to pummel as he tries to run up the middle?
Try Mueller No Glare Strips.
"It's like being a warrior," said Lui Fuga, Hawaii's 6-foot-1, 294-pound defensive lineman from Waipahu. "When you get ready for battle you paint your face."
Of course, the more-traditional no-glare stick is still available for a more dramatic look.
"Putting on my face gets me in the zone," Fuga said.
Another zone Chad Owens definitely likes is the end zone.
The fleet-footed 5-9, 177-pound receiver needs those strips to cut down on the glare from bright stadium lights or the sun.
"The light gets in my eyes," he said. "I also return punts and it helps with the light."
The strips are made by Mueller Sports Medicine Inc., a family-owned business started in 1961 in Wisconsin. The strips stick to the face and are easy to remove. They won't smear or sweat off. And they won't stain uniforms.
Jayson Goo, an assistant athletic trainer at UH, admits its a "fashion statement ... a high tech version for game days only."
That's when it counts.
"I don't know if I'm very intimidating," said Owens, "but it looks cool."
Cinderella had only one choice of shoe for that perfect, happily-ever-after fit. Not so with the Warriors.
They have a choice of five styles depending on taste and position.
"It all depends on what the player wants," said Al Ginoza, UH's assistant equipment manager. "They've got to feel comfortable or they won't perform."
Performance is all that matters. So much so that UH has 900 pairs of shoes in stock this season.
NFL Outside Speed M2Great on grass and FieldTurf. Built for guys who have to run far and wide, such as RBs, QBs and DBs.
NFL Outside Speed DOffers the same qualities as the M2, only with detachable half-inch-long cleats.
"It's a typical grass shoe," Ginoza said. Cleats are molded to the sole. Great for linemen.
Workhorse MidThis molded-type shoe comes in wider widths, a perfect fit for those extra-large linemen.
Workhorse TurfHundreds of small nubs offer fantastic traction on rug-like AstroTurf, which UH will play on against Rice.
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