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Watch now: Illinois State helmets to feature new decals for each home game

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Illinois State helmet decal

Illinois State freshman long snapper Peyton Cramer showed off the Redbirds' throwback helmet decal before last week's game against Butler at Hancock Stadium.

NORMAL – Nick Watson called it a “random idea.”

And even though that idea means considerably more work, Watson is all in on sporting a different helmet decal for all five Illinois State football home games this season.

“We wanted to make it kind of cool for the guys,” said ISU’s director of equipment operations, “give them something different.”

The Redbirds defeated Drake on Saturday while adorned with an “ISU” logo the team wore in the late 1980s.

“It gives us the benefit of alternate helmets without having to spend the money alternate helmets cost,” Watson said.

Locating former ISU helmet decals and getting them reproduced in a quantity to outfit the entire team proved a chore.

“We had to send the old decals in and have them recreate the artwork for us and send them to our normal decal people who can turn them into the actual sticker for us,” said Watson. “Some of them were easy and some of them a little more challenging because they hadn’t been worn in so long.”

And then comes the actual labor. Watson and graduate assistant Ari Osier had to switch about 100 decals before Saturday’s game.

Not only with there be a new decal for each home game, the Redbirds will be go back to their usual Redbird head logo for road contests.

“It’s a lot of work because we’re basically having to decal all the helmets every week,” Watson said. “It took us about three hours last Thursday to put all those on.”

Watson prefers not to tip his hand on which decal will be used for the next home game “to build a little bit of hype.”

Hickcox nears debut

Noah Hickcox, a defensive lineman transfer from Minnesota, is on track to make his ISU debut Saturday when the Redbirds travel to Western Michigan.

“I’m hoping so,” said the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder who sat out the season opener to give a hamstring strain additional time to mend. “I’ve got to take it day by day. You can’t overstep the recovery process. You’ve got to do what the trainers say, and they’ve taken really good care of me the whole time.”

Hickcox hated to leave his shoulder pads in the locker room for the first game, but “this is a marathon not a sprint. Not playing in game one wasn’t ideal, but it was best for the team.”

Reid clear for return

ISU linebacker Shanon Reid will be eligible to play against Western Michigan because his ejection for targeting occurred in the first half of the Butler game. Had it been the second half, Reid would be sidelined for the first half Saturday.

Jacob Bellizzi replace Reid and tied for the team lead in tackles with seven.

“Jake did a nice job,” Spack said. “He had a really good training camp and good offseason.”

White sits out

ISU tailback Nigel White, who rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown on seven carries against Butler, did not participate in team drills Tuesday because of a muscle strain.

Spack expects White to be available Saturday.


Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt

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