Missing helmets garner national attention
‘One helmet returned! Two to go,’ head coach Kevin Sumlin tweeted on Wednesday.
More than one week has passed since ‘Helmet-gate,’ and it’s safe to say that after Saturday’s 58-41 loss at the hands of the UTEP Miners, feelings about the team have changed.
One week ago, the Cougars were riding the euphoric high of beating their second consecutive Bowl Championship Series conference opponent, Texas Tech, and the stolen helmets were just an unfortunate yet comical event.’
Sumlin even joked in a tweet, saying that it would be hard for three of his guys to play without their helmets. ‘
Associate Athletic Director Chris Burkhalter saw firsthand the madness that transpired after the whistle blew.
‘When the fans rushed the field and began to mingle with the players, three of the players had their helmet ripped right out of their hand,’ Burkhalter said.’
After word broke of Sumlin’s tweet, everyone from the Houston Chronicle to ESPN wanted to know exactly what had happened.’
‘It was elbows to elbows and butts to butts down there,’ Burkhalter told ESPN.
Burkhalter said the Athletic Department still wants the fans to be at games and celebrate with the team.
‘We want (fans) to be there; we feed off of their energy as a team,’ Burkhalter said.’ ‘But at the same time, you really don’t want to take someone’s helmet.’
For the most part, Sumlin as well as his players had seen a lot of humor in the story, but wanted to move on and focus on their next opponent.’
‘(Coach Sumlin) doesn’t dwell on things like this,’ Burkhalter said. ‘He’s a guy who gets his team focused on the task at hand.’
For some reason, the task, which was to beat UTEP, was fumbled miserably.’ It might have been too much too soon for this young squad.
‘All that outside distraction stuff, (Sumlin) shoulders it himself and he figures it out,’ Burkhalter said.’