adidas originals A conversation with Sun Devil Foot

adidas swim shorts A conversation with Sun Devil Foot

TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)

With this being a bye week, there is no new uniform to reveal, but there is still a lot to talk about.

ASU debuted a copper chrome helmet called Desert Chrome against Oregon last week to a rousing reception both locally and nationwide.

I had the opportunity to speak with Jerry about some of the design details of the helmet and how much of a contribution his staff made in such a successful effort:

Uniformity: Who were the parties involved in designing the Desert Chrome helmet?

Jerry Neilly: The main parties involved were in the equipment room: me, my student managers, and my assistant. We also took some of the input of some of the players and some from other teams and what they have going on.

Uy: Who were the student managers that were involved?

JN: The main guys that were involved were some of our upperclassmen: Zack Silva, Kaleb Eidsvoog, and Connor Roche who are three of our veteran managers.

Uy: Can you tell me a little bit about each of them?

JN: Zack’s main dedication to the team is helmets. That’s kind of his thing. He works with Coach Slocum at practice, the special teams coordinator, and then when we’re in the equipment room, all he does pretty much all day is helmets. Whether it’s getting the guys’ helmet specs completely right, decaling them up and cleaning them that’s kind of his thing.

Kaleb has been with me since we got here in 2012. He’s a fifth year senior and he’s just kind of been the voice of the student equipment staff all year. It’s kind of his group of guys.

Connor also helps out with the helmets on a day to day basis. He’s kind of our living encyclopedia. You can ask him about any player in the NFL or any player in college football and what style helmet, what style mask they wear and he just has it memorized. He just has this sixth sense for helmets and what guys are wearing and when. He’s in tune with what’s cool right now.

Uy: What was the original inspiration for Desert Chrome?

JN: We’re trying to do new things all the time, trying to have new looks, trying to find something cool. The copper chrome helmet actually started in 2014 when we were working on our Desert Fuel uniform. One of the original prototypes was a white helmet, the Desert Fuel helmet you see now that we wore against Notre Dame, but we wanted to use more copper in the uniform and the helmet. We got some samples sent in with a giant pitchfork because that was really popular at the time and few other twists, but we just couldn’t make it work and make it what we wanted it to be. Then, when we switched brands and went with Adidas and did the Desert Ice and the Desert Hammer, we wanted to add something different other than the gray and the white, so we tossed around the copper idea.

Uy: How were other elements of the helmet such as the decals and facemask color decided upon?

JN: We got a copper helmet sample in here and I thought I had it figured it out. I put a black pitchfork on it and a black facemask and I thought it looked nice, but my students went around and did what we call “Playing Frankenstein” with helmets and put some different decal and facemask options on it and found an option that better suited the white on white jersey and pants that we wore against Oregon with the white facemask and the white decals. It went from a good looking helmet to an awesome looking helmet with their help.

Uy: What are the more specific design contributions that the student managers made?

JN: They had a say in making it chrome, so we did copper chrome. The decals and the facemask and the center stripe, that was all them. Like I said, we were going to do black pitchforks and a black facemask and it looked good, but it didn’t look great. When I ordered our first center stripe sample, I did a thin center stripe like on the Sparky helmets, but it was white, and it looked ok. Then the student’s were like, “We want to do a three color stripe! Let’s add some copper to the pitchfork to try to make the pitchfork pop.”

The final design you guys saw on the field was probably version six after all was said and done with all the decal tweaks, and the facemask tweaks. Aside from the helmet color, they pretty much had all the say with the chrome, the decals, and the facemasks; it was pretty much all their decision. Once I got the decal samples in, I kind of let Zack and Connor spearhead it from there as far as how they wanted the back decals to look, how they wanted to position the pitchfork, how they like the stripe. I really let them have fun with it. They take a lot more pride in things when you give them a little bit more responsibility.

Uy: How did the players react when they saw the helmets for the first time?

JN: I’ve had samples of a copper chrome helmet in my office since 2014 at various times. Guys have come in and just seen it kind of laying around and everyone always asks, “Oh man, that shiny helmet, are we ever going to wear it? That’s really awesome.” But no one actually got to see the final design until they were in our lockers at Oregon and the reactions were off the charts. It very well may have been the most popular thing we’ve done since the rebrand as far as the players’ reactions.

Uy: After all the work and creativity that went into Desert Chrome, how did you like the final product on the field?

JN: Probably the best thing we’ve done since the rebrand (laughs). Just super popular. Our social media coordinator, Grace Hoy told me the Desert Chrome reveal was the most popular tweet Sun Devil Athletics has had all year. The fans loved it. Social media blew up. It kind of leaked the night before and I was a little disappointed, but it was still super popular the day we released it. I mean, everyone picked it up and thought it was awesome.

I’d like to extend a very special thanks to Jerry Neilly for the insight as to what goes into the creation of a helmet like the Desert Chrome helmet. We are all looking forward to what you have up your sleeve next!.
adidas originals A conversation with Sun Devil Foot