MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Miami has the turnover chain. Florida State has a turnover backpack.
Tulane rocks the turnover beads while SMU dons a crown and chalice.
Boise State has a turnover throne and Memphis has a turnover robe. Several teams have turnover belts.
Now, West Virginia has a turnover coal miner’s helmet.
It’s a new tradition that is only fitting for the state with its rich coal heritage.
The Mountaineers’ defense had been playing well but something was lacking.
“We weren’t getting any turnovers,” WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “So, we finally broke it out against K-State, and we have four since then. We’ll keep it.”
A combination of factors went into the idea. Fans were emailing Gibson, encouraging him to do something to reward his Dawgs.
“The more I thought about it, I thought it was a pretty good idea,” he said. “I asked the kids and asked a couple of the defensive leaders. They were all about it. So, I wanted to do it.”
And no it is not a fake helmet.
“They were saying that it looked like we got it from Wal-Mart,” Gibson said. “We didn’t. It’s a real one. The light works. So, it’s the real deal.”
While select Mountaineers knew about the new prop, it was a surprise to many.
“I had no idea about it. I just remember seeing one of the security guards bring it in and I thought it was for them,” linebacker JoVanni Stewart said. “They handed it to Gibby and he was holding it. But then at one of our walkthroughs he said this is what we’re going to start doing. I was like okay. Now everybody actually wants to try to get to the ball faster.”
Since the debut of the helmet, WVU has forced several turnovers, including three against Texas Tech.
Defensive end Reese Donahue was the first to wear the new hat after recovering a fumble against Kansas State.
Not only is the magic of the helmet working but also the players and fans love it.
“I love it,” David Long said.
It keeps the Mountaineers’ defense hungry at all times.
“It’s cool to put on. I need to put on the helmet soon,” Stewart said.
Cover Photo Credit: UNISWAG Twitter Account