Wildcats' copper helmets get a new paint job

Published: Sep. 21, 2015 at 7:11 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Arizona Wildcats have traded copper for chrome red.

Coach Rich Rodriguez surprised his players with new chrome red helmets after Sunday night's practice, and then he revealed in Monday press conference that only the paint job is new, saving the program the cost of buying a full set of new helmets.

It sounded like he was making a joke, but the team's equipment manager, Wendell Neal, confirmed on social media that it was true.

"We're not wearing copper," Rodriguez said. "We're wearing a real shiny red helmet. I think our guys like that."

The team first wore copper helmets in 2012 and used them three times, but not at all last season.

Rodriguez said he talked with Neal "months ago" about a new look. It just so happens that the team will use them at a time when the college football world will be watching -- as No. 16 Arizona plays host to ninth-ranked UCLA on Saturday night (5 p.m., ABC), with ESPN's College GameDay program on campus.

The athletic department is also billing the game as a "Red-Out" at Arizona Stadium.

"I knew this was going to be a helmet we were going to use at some point," Rodriguez said. "I didn't know we had a Red-Out until last week or after the game. I said, 'Wow, this is perfect. … We might as well wear the shiny wear helmets."

The team released a short video of the players' reaction Sunday night to the new lids. You can watch it HERE.

"They're pretty cool," said defensive lineman Sani Fuimaono. "Coach surprised us with that one. It's a nice little treat."

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