How the LSU grounds crew prepares Tiger Stadium for gameday
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Tiger Stadium is one of the most iconic college football venues. The outside of the building is picturesque and of course, the inside gets loud enough to earn a rating on the seismic scale during an LSU football game.
The playing surface itself looks like a piece of art before it gets ripped up during battle. Altogether, there’s a lot of pride in the Bayou Bengals Coliseum.
“It’s the best field in the country, nobody else is going to tell me different,” said Sheldon Rogers, the horticultural leader at LSU.
For three years, Rogers has painted various parts of the field inside Tiger Stadium. He’s just one member of a crew that works for hours during the week to prepare the playing surface for LSU home football games.
“Our prep work starts as soon as the last game is over,” said Trevor Austin, the sports turf manager at LSU.
The crew starts mowing the Bermuda grass within moments of home games ending. Once Wednesday rolls around, it’s time for the arts and crafts, including painting the endzones, the Tiger eye at midfield, and field markers like the five-yard lines. The grounds crew has a love-hate relationship with the unique concept.
We kind of hate every five, to be honest with you but it’s something different, so after you think about it’s pretty dope but it’s tiring,” Rogers said.
Those yardage numerals look different after a recent change. LSU bought a font type about a year ago and called it the “Geaux” font which they use for those big block numbers that run up and down the football field.
The playing surface takes a lot of hard work to finalize for fans to see on game day, but the crew believes Saturday game days make it all worth it.
“Yeah, all the painting and aesthetics. It’s all fun for us and something the fans can see and enjoy and the players. Knowing that we have a big part in the game is special,” Austin said.
“Once I started getting into it and learned the appreciation for the art and when you see the players, when they come out and they’re all happy and stuff to see things that’s when everything is like, alright, I’m doing this for a purpose, it’s awesome dude,” Rogers said.
The field, the venue, and the team all combine for a unique and amazing experience that’s hard to replicate.
“When you put the field together with the fans and the crowd and the team, there’s no other place better than Tiger Stadium, Death Valley is the place to be,” said Rogers.
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