With the help from Adidas, Notre Dame unveiled special uniforms in August for the Fighting Irish’s annual Shamrock Series game against ASU on Saturday.
It left Sun Devil fans wondering if ASU would respond with flashy new uniforms for the game as well. They got their answer on Monday.
Following Graham’s weekly press conference, the Sun Devils unveiled a special flaming helmet for Saturday’s game in Arlington, Texas.
The helmet is black with maroon and gold flames spreading across the top half. The side pitchforks, noticeably smaller, were moved to the back corners of the helmet and a third pitchfork was added on the back. It also sports a coarse, dark-brown facemask to emulate a charcoal effect.
ASU coach Todd Graham said the helmet’s design was in the works since spring under the equipment staff. He said he had some involvement in the design, but it was mostly the players’ choice.
“We want the players to have the best, first-class in everything we do,” he said. “We got a tremendous brand in the fork. If you want to be a champion, you have to look like a champion first.”
Of course, recruiting was a huge factor in creating a new flashy helmet.
Saturday will be a chance for ASU to showcase itself on a national stage as well as in Texas, Graham’s home state and where he hopes to establish the team’s No. 3 recruiting pipeline, behind Arizona and California.
“The best recruiters are our players,” Graham said. “Just like how we travel, where we stay what we eat, the uniforms we have; when recruits come in here, our players are going to tell them how that is. We want to be the best in the country in taking care and providing that brand.”
Every player’s helmet will be different from one another. While alike in design, no two helmets’ flame pattern will be exactly the same, Graham said.
ASU teased fans on Sunday through social media by releasing pictures of new black socks, black arm sleeves with a pitchfork surrounded in fire and gold gloves with “NIKE” reading across the palms, hinting the team would announce a bigger addition after Graham’s presser.
For the rest of the uniform, the players will be wearing black jerseys and black pants. Although ASU is technically the away team for Saturday’s neutral-site game, the Sun Devils are able to wear solid colors, because Notre Dame elected to wear white.
While the helmet design was kept a secret that only included the team’s leadership group, the rest of the players saw it on Sunday. Some players, like redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jaelen Strong, already tweeted their reactions to the uniforms, even though they couldn’t leak what it was.
“A lot of players were excited to see the helmets,” said redshirt senior defensive back Osahon Irabor, who modeled the complete uniform at the press conference. “As you can see, they look really cool. It was really exciting to showcase them.”
In college football, the idea of having flashy helmets and jerseys lead to a team’s success depends on the coach’s philosophy. While Graham is still set on winning on the field, he knows having his team look good could help.
“The No. 1 focus is win the game, but this is something exciting for our guys,” Graham said. “Looking sharp is part of being a champion and also part of the educational process teaching our players, ‘If you want to be successful, and if it looks a certain way, speaks a certain way, walks a certain way and plays like a certain way, it works a certain way.’ This is what it’s all about.”
- The Pac-12 named senior safety Alden Darby the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following last Saturday’s win over USC. Darby had seven tackles and two interceptions, including one he returned for a 46-yard touchdown.
- Graham said he is unsure whether sophomore nose tackle Jaxon Hood (leg) would play against Notre Dame and said Hood won’t play if he’s not 100 percent healthy.
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