One of the big stories for UNC Football this offseason has been Mack Brown’s commitment to re-doing the field at Kenan Stadium, turning it from natural grass to turf in order to better deal with the unpredictable weather of North Carolina, lessen the load on groundskeepers, and help bring the program into the head coach’s vision of modernity. There are obviously strong opinions on both sides of the debate between turf and grass, but this isn’t the place for them: we’ve covered them before here, so go check that article out.
No, today is for the news that we got yesterday, which is that the AstroTurf company tweeted out photos of a completed Kenan Stadium. Here’s a look:
There are two big aesthetic changes to note straight away. The first is the Carolina Blue end zones; that’s a new feature and definitely one that pops off the camera. This had been revealed already in various mock-ups around the internet, but seeing it actually photographed is still pretty special. It helps the argyle on the back lines stand out more than they did before, as well, now that the turf itself is white rather than grass with spray paint over it. The sidelines remain exactly the same, maybe a tad bolder for the same reason even though they aren’t next to a blue end zone. The second big change is that the stadium’s iconic hedges are gone, seeing as they can’t exactly grow out of turf. They were a known casualty, and on the bright side, there’s a chance that sitting on the sideline might feel closer to the action than it did with the hedges serving as a natural barrier.
Beyond that, everything looks pretty similar to how it was before, which is to say that it looks pretty great. From these pictures, the turf doesn’t look overly turfy (which I’m sure was a major fear, because being able to see the artificial surface definitely detracts from the viewing experience for a lot of people), the 22-yard dashes are still painted blue to maintain the Charlie Justice tribute started in 2014, and the white border persists. The change is much more in functionality than in visuals, meaning we’re going to have to wait until the fall to see what’s really changed, just like with everything else surrounding the program. Until then, we have this for eye candy.