Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was wrapping up his postgame comments to his team and the support staff as well as recruits in the Cowboys dressing room when he remembered how the day started and he said, "how about those helmets?" The players roared their approval with the new head gear the Cowboys debuted.
From way on the side of the gathering at the front of the locker room that included everybody associated with the team on a daily basis came another shout, "how about a game ball?" The voice was head football equipment coordinator Matt "Chief" Davis. No word on whether he will get a game ball for himself and his staff but there is no doubt the helmet, part of the new uniform design in the works for close to two years, was a huge hit with the players.
The helmets are actually wrapped with the same design that is used on the sleeves and the neck of the new uniform jerseys, a kind of bandana design that includes the front of the West End Zone of Boone Pickens Stadium, a train, the words "pistols firing," pistols, and paddles.
The extras on top of the wrap were a single stripe of orange barbed wire down the middle of the helmet, the sheriff star badge logo with the brand OSU logo in the middle on the side, the player's number, the four retired numbers, Big 12 logo, and the American flag all on the back of the helmet. The mostly black helmets had bright orange face masks, something Oklahoma State has not had before.
What was extra cool was the helmets, ready for several weeks, have been hidden and the players had no idea they even existed, much less that they would be wearing them. It was two seasons ago on a Thursday night game that Oklahoma State debuted the orange chrome helmets with the oversized Pistol Pete head as the logo. Those helmets were put in the players' lockers while they were out on the field warming up in the traditional white helmets with the brand OSU on them.
Chief, his assistant Justin Williams and some of his crew helped out by volunteers like team medical staffer Dr. Donald Crawley pulled it off again. However, not without some speculation from players. It seems the black chin straps were needed on these helmets, so the equipment staff had white chin straps in the orange chrome helmets that were in the lockers when the players arrived. Some of the players complained.
"I had to get my story straight," Davis said. "I told them we had to wear the white chin straps because we have always worn white chin straps on Senior Day and that was tradition."
When the players came back in from warmups they were not only surprised, they were fired up immediately. The desired effect was created.
"I saw those and I knew we were going to have something in here. Just the orange helmets with the white chin straps just didn't look right," said wide receiver Chris Lacy, who had a career-high 100 receiving yards on four catches. "I knew something was up. I know they did something like this our freshman season against Texas Tech and that is when we came out with the orange chrome helmets. We were real excited to come in and see these."
"Oh man, when we came back in from warmups I said, we got to get this money (win)," senior linebacker Devante Averette said. "We looking too good and looking too fast and we got to win this game. Our (equipment) staff is so good. Those helmets were the best."
Secret kept, surprise intact, and the look was fantastic. Give 'em a game ball, they deserve it.