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New helmets, same jerseys for Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian Kelly entered his meeting with reporters after practice Wednesday carrying a gold helmet, which he placed in front of his feet before fielding more than two minutes of questions about the Irish's wardrobe for the weekend.

The helmets, which Notre Dame will wear this Saturday against USC, are closer in color to that of the Golden Dome. The 23.9 carat golden dust from the Golden Dome will still be used in the helmets. And managers will no longer paint them.

"We finally got it right," Kelly said. "Jack [Swarbrick] and I have been frustrated with the color of the helmet and we got Ryan Grooms, our equipment manager who's worked diligently in getting this put together, and we felt that we finally got the gold the right way. It's not all of, it's not those different shades that we've seen over the years, so we're pretty excited about it. We'll wear those this weekend."

Kelly said he noticed the tints of the old helmets were changing ever-so slightly in his two years at Notre Dame, and he said he feels this model does a better job of maintaining the tradition of the Irish's uniforms.

"We've been frustrated with the helmet," Kelly said. "It just has never gotten to the right color. We want it to be the Golden Dome. I mean, that's the representation for me. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but that's the gold that we were looking for. Still has the flake, the gold flake in it. The only difference is our managers won't paint these."

Kelly said the helmets were already tested under high-definition colors and should stand out even more under the lights this weekend.

He also said the Irish would wear their "traditional colors" this weekend, though his vagueness with those were consistent with the past two weeks, as he has dodged all jersey questions.

"Last I checked they were blue, white and gold," he said, before quickly adding, "and green."

Grooms, the team equipment manager, seemed to clear that up on Twitter, however, posting that Notre Dame would wear blue jerseys.

Notre Dame athletics' Facebook page has several photos of the new helmets, along with the old ones, here.

Notes: The helmets of Irish players will feature a green shamrock sticker featuring a black "X" for the rest of the season, in honor of late team intern Xavier Murphy, who lost his battle with leukemia Oct. 11. The team will hold a moment of silence before next week's game against Navy, as that would have been Murphy's 23rd birthday and is technically the first game after fall break, which Notre Dame students are currently on. Murphy's family is scheduled to attend the Oct. 29 game. ... Long-snapper Jordan Cowart (broken hand) is cleared to play, but Kelly said he is still competing with Ryan Kavanagh and Braxston Cave this week for snaps. ... Defensive end Ethan Johnson (ankle) is cleared to play but is not yet 100 percent. He won't play his normal 50-60 snaps Saturday.