The players looked good, the coach eager, the tri-tip sandwich vending trailer ready to deliver.
But the star of Bakersfield College's Renegade Football Media Day event Wednesday was the lush green artificial turf newly installed on the floor of Memorial Stadium.
The Field Turf, as this particular product is known, gives the half-century-old stadium a freshness no amount of renovation could ever have achieved alone.
"It's such a great accent," head coach Jeff Chudy said of the bold green faux grass bracketed by the Renegade Red of the end zones. "Not that I'm an interior decorator."
Athletic Director Sandi Taylor beamed.
"The people that I work with in the state (community college system), they're so jealous," she said.
And it's all because, she said, voters gave their blessing to Measure J, the $502 million Kern Community College District bond that will not only have funded a Veterans Resource Center and administration building, among other structures on the Panorama Drive campus, but the new, NFL-caliber field turf and all-weather track.
BC's new football turf is the same stuff used in the stadiums of the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
If a little of their mojo rubs off on the Renegades, Chudy is fine with it.
He is well aware that the new turf is more than a playing surface, though. It's a recruiting tool, too. When visiting prospects come to the BC campus, they're likely to be impressed with the stadium as well as the program's history and place in the community.
"Once we get it all in there, it'll be something," Chudy said. "We have a chance to host some CIF state championship games, because of where we're located within the state and what we've got here. We'll have some (high school) players come through and take a look, and they'll be impressed."
The new turf is already paying some dividends: Memorial Stadium will host the state community college championship game this December and again in December 2020 — and, yes, Taylor would like to call both of them Renegade home games.
Chudy's own players have not yet tried out the spongy-but-firm turf; that'll have to wait until the all-weather track is complete, probably around the end the month, according to Associate Athletic Director Keith Ford.
Ryan Roeder of Wisconsin-based Worldwide Flooring, the contractor installing the all-weather track, said he expects to be finished in about a week. The Bakersfield heat, he said, demands special attention lest the track — the same product in use at UCLA — develop air bubbles.
Bakersfield College continues to lead the state community college system in football home attendance, drawing an average of 3,671 fans last season, well ahead of the second-place school, College of the Canyons.
The turf's coming out party is Sept. 7, when the Renegades open the season against Mt. San Antonio College. Season tickets, which range from $35 to $60, are available online at Vallitix.com, by phone at 322-5200 or in person at the Bakersfield College business office.