Rain, snow or sleet, Notre Dame’s football team must be ready to play in any weather. How does the equipment manager ensure the team is prepared while on the road? ABC57’s Vahid Sadrzadeh spoke with the head equipment manager to get a look behind the scenes.
“When you play so far away, you have to plan for the worst. When we played in the Fiesta Bowl in the Dome, we packed rain gear,” Ryan Grooms, Head Football Equipment Manager, said.
From hurricanes to snowstorms to sunny days in South Beach, no one knows how to equip the Fighting Irish better than Grooms and his team when Notre Dame hits the road.
“A lot of the work is done in here. To actually load the truck, we could do it in 45 minutes. We have 40 different travel trunks that we could take. The athletic trainers they have travel trunks. The video staff has travel trunks. We all work collectively, get it ready, take it to the truck, put the ramp out and then we play real life Tetris. How can we best fit it in there?” Grooms said.
Like avatars in their own video game, Grooms and other staff put the pieces together after making sure nothing is left behind.
“It’s a lot of hours throughout the week. The prep work. Adam does a lot of maintenance on the helmets and I’ll focus more on packing the coaches clothes,” Grooms said.
They have packing down to a science in the semi.
Bernie Ferro has been driving the big rig for seven years.
“As soon as we pull in somewhere inevitably someone spots us, they come running with their cameras and want to take pictures. Some people ask us what we are hauling. Our big joke is socks and underwear,” Bernie Ferro said.
Yes the unmentionables travel along with cleats, helmets, pads and most importantly – uniforms.
“Adam and I, never do we pack the uniforms without each other so we can check it off and make sure we have jerseys. When we travel to Miami, I’ll take 250 white jerseys. We know exactly who’s on the travel roster, but there’s no point in not taking them,” Grooms said.
They make a list but they check it more than twice.
It’s a job that requires 100-percent accuracy, so nothing is left to chance.
“I don’t trust the forecast until the morning of, so no offense to the meteorologist,” Grooms said.
Don’t expect anything but clear skies in Miami Gardens.
The team will be wearing cleats modified specially for grass, not field turf – which is what they play on in South Bend.
Read the entire article and watch the video at ABC57.com.