SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame players saw a mannequin decked in a green jersey and a shamrock-covered helmet Monday, excited as they learned what they would get to wear this Saturday.
"I love them," Zack Martin said of the Irish's uniforms for this weekend's Shamrock Series. "The helmets, they're awesome. I think everyone on the team really likes them and we know a lot of time and effort were put into them, so we're excited to wear them on Saturday."
And if they weren't?
"I would tell you this," Brian Kelly said, "if they didn't like what we showed them, I would not even touch the topic again. But they're the ones that generate this. The players come to me, they see what other teams are doing and what other programs have, and they bring it to them, and I shoot it up the flagpole and see if anybody likes it and then go from there."
In its 10th game of the season this Saturday against Maryland, Notre Dame will be wearing its fourth different helmet of 2011, in addition to green jerseys.
Public perception has taken on a negative tone as the Irish get set to face a Terrapins team with no shortage of wild uniform designs itself. But both Kelly and his players have seemed to tune all of that out.
"No, look, the only people I care about relative to the uniforms are the 105 guys that were in this room when we showed it to them, and they were excited," Kelly said. "All due respect to everybody else that has an opinion, I really don't care about theirs, I care about what my players think, and our players love it. We're going to stay with those kinds of things that still fall within our color schemes and our logoing, and kids like that stuff. So if our kids like it, then I can tell you I'm certain that the recruits like it, as well. And that's really the only people that measure for me relative to who likes them and who doesn't like them."
Forget color schemes, as far as Cierre Wood is concerned. He would like to see the Irish dress down like the Terrapins.
"I wish we could do that, to be honest with you," the running back said. "I always tell myself we should do a full black-out jersey — black everything or white everything or green everything to switch it up sometimes."
Wood, who said his teammates echo similar sentiments, will for now take pleasure in the fact this week's helmet features a green facemask.
So far, Irish players have come away satisfied with the uniforms presented to them, despite the veto power that is apparently in their hands.
"I loved the ones we wore at Michigan this year, those were probably my favorite we wore," Martin said, "and then the helmets this week are pretty cool."