#CampLife, WMU Football Equipment Manager
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Imagine waking up even before the sun comes up, to come into work and do laundry. Sounds like the dream job right? Let's not joke around, that doesn't sound the most intriguing to any of us, but to equipment manager Taylor Jorgensen it's part of one of the many tasks he has to complete for his job.
When the Broncos storm the field every Saturday it's not just coincidence that their uniforms look clean and perfect and that the WMU gold helmet shines with every sunlight dropped upon it. There are many different moving parts that make up Bronco football, which include the obvious coaches, players and media but there are the working parts that go unnoticed and behind the scenes.
"It can sometimes lead to very long days." said Jorgensen.
During WMU's two-a-day practices, Jorgensen would already be in working mode as the player's started to arrive around 6:30 a.m. He would then go to his staff meeting where there would be a laid-out schedule of how the day is going to progress. Then the decision on which side of the ball (offensive or defensive) will either wear black or white during practice.
"It's whoever won the day before in practice, usually get's the black jersey," Jorgensen said. "It's like a reward to show that they won."
Once everything is planned out and ready to go, the equipment staff is racing back to the laundry room to make sure that all the practice gear is ready for the players, which includes making sure that every player has all of the gear cleaned in the player cubbies that they are assigned.
"It's a fairly long process, about a half an hour depending," said Jorgensen. "But that's sorting through a bin that's piled with laundry."
Once practice get's done Jorgensen and his staff make sure that all the practice equipment is not only clean but they'll do regular maintenance all the equipment. Making sure that there are no big gauges on the helmets and that straps and buckles on the shoulder pads are ready to go for the next practice. And that's only half a day!
"We'll go to lunch and then do it all over again," said Jorgensen.
The two-a-day practices are not only tough on the players and coaches but on the equipment staff as well. But though the days are long making sure that the player's are safe and well equipped is the main goal.
"It's very important that the helmet and shoulder pads all work," said Jorgensen. "If it's not fitting correctly then it's not going to work right."
Once the season begins however the routine of the equipment manager changes but is still a highly important job. Prior to the game during the week, Jorgensen and his staff are gathering game day clothing for the coaches, which more than likely includes a white hat for head coach Bill Cubit.
"I know he likes white hats," said Jorgensen. "I've got plenty, just in case something happens."
Next comes the players' gear which includes shoes, towels and any other game day needs that the players may have. Before the game and the players are getting ready to do battle, Jorgensen and his staff are making sure that the players are fit and ready for that day's game.
"Just try and make the players and coaches the most at ease during pre-game so they can just concentrate on football and getting the job done." said Jorgensen.
This will be Jorgensen's first year as equipment manager for the Broncos. Following in the foot-steps of his dad Paul Jorgensen who was a quarterback from 1974-1976 and is the only quarterback to rush for 100 yards. Taylor Jorgensen, who graduated from WMU in 2008, spent some time with the Detroit Lions before coming to WMU this year. An experience that garnered many memories, like the season of 2008 when the Lions went 0-16.
"That wasn't a great year, it was tough to see guys working so hard and not being able to get it done of the field," said Jorgensen. "It made for very long weeks."
There is much optimism surrounding the Broncos this season and from the coaches, to the players and even the equipment staff, the hope of a MAC championship is on the minds of everybody.
"It's great to be back at WMU and last year being so close to winning a bowl game is something to build on for this season," said Jorgensen. "I hope we can take it to Ford Field at the end of the year for the MAC Championship."