Coming into every football season, most players are expecting to play and maybe compete for a starting position, but not every football player will get the chance to play. Some players will be red shirted.
A red shirt is when a player has five academic years, but skips a year of play without losing a year of eligibility.
Most people who are red shirted are freshman students. The redshirt players can practice but cannot play in games.
Onuche Oyibo, 20, a junior math education student from Gainesville was red shirted his freshman year of 2006. Oyibo plays offensive line for the Rattlers football team and described his reason for being red shirted as a time to learn the system, the offensive terminology and work on his technique.
“You have a more positive outlook and you know what to expect,” Oyibo said. “You have to attend off-season workouts and do what the coaches ask you to work on.”
Some reason players are red shirted is that a player may have gotten injured during practice or in a game and the extent of his or her injury lasts to long for them to compete in the season. The other reason is for development, which means the player is not playing because he or she is maybe not ready for the college game.
Red shirts affect every player differently. For Nari Tomlinson, 20, a junior public relations student from Miramar who plays center for the Rattlers football team, being red shirted was something he just had to deal with. He was red shirted his freshman year of 2006.
“I just told myself it’s a time of transition from high school to the college level,” Tomilinson said.
Some athletes take being red shirted more harshly.
Steve Brazzle, 21, a junior criminal justice student from Coatesville Pa., said when he was red shirted he was upset because he couldn’t contribute to the team.
“It hurt me by being red shirted because the team went 3-8 and I felt like I could have done more to help out my team,” Brazzle said.
Oyibo said the experience of being red shirted is “stressful, but you have to be patient and practice like you are playing, in the end the team has one goal.”
Tomlinson said that being red shirted is stressful because of not being able to contribute to the team.
“I just want to help my teammates out by giving my all on the scout team,” Tomlison said.