AUSTIN (KXAN) — The race is on to get $6 million in upgrades complete at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium before the Longhorns take on Maryland in the season opener.
University officials tell KXAN feedback from fans led to the changes. They call it “good timing” as a new era in Texas football begins under new head coach Tom Herman.
“I love giving fans a great time at our games and hopefully the product on the field is going to be a majority of that entertainment,” said Herman at a press conference that coincided with the start of practice for the 2017 season.
When fans need to check out the instant replay, seeing every inch is important. UT associate athletics director Jeff Orth said he was pleased when they turned on the new big screen, known as the Godzillatron, for the first time a few days ago. It is the same size as the old one but includes more than 14,000 square feet of LED technology which should be brighter and easier to read.
UT student Karthik Jagannath who attends many of the homes games described the old screen as a little pixelated. “The stats they show, sometimes it’s hard to read but I’m assuming now it will look great,” said Jagannath.
There will be 770 additional feet of new ribbon boards circling the stands, sidelines, tunnels and end zones, and the audio is getting an upgrade. A new sound system should be more clear and consistent even in the nose bleeds.
With 100,000 people in one place, poor cellular signals will hopefully be a thing of the past. These days posting status updates on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram are all part of the game day experience. UT says fans will have stronger mobile connections so they can share every single touchdown and Longhorn selfie in real-time with their social media fans.
“Last year at the Notre Dame game all the Snapchats about the win came out at the very end [after the game],” said Jagannath.
It’s no mystery when fans are more amped up, it shows on the field.
“Oh yeah it pumps the players up 100 percent,” said UT student Tyler Amodio who has been to every home game the last three years. “If the crowd is dead and if they’re not playing well it’s going to get them angry.”
Longhorns defensive end Malcolm Roach says he always notices the crowd before the game and on third down.
“It really gets the defense fired up. I’m just ready to get their quarterback,” said Roach.
Coach Herman is also thinking about the recruits who are in the stadium trying to decide if Texas should be their future home. The energy surrounding the field can carry a lot of weight for those potential players and his own team.
“What songs are we playing on third down? And when we run down on kick off what are we showing on the video board?” said Herman.
Critical decisions he believes are all connected to the final score.