NORMAN — Brad Camp pulled open the door of one light brown cabinet, then another and another and another.
Tucked neatly inside were stacked, white facemasks. They were at least 11 cabinets, maybe more, that contained row after row of masks. Some were made of carbon or tubular steel. The most expensive masks were made of titanium.
The craze of facemasks around college football has Camp, Oklahoma's director of athletics equipment, extremely busy.
He isn't sure on the exact total of face masks within his equipment room, but with seven helmet styles, and anywhere from seven to 14 masks that fit per helmet … well, he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
Then the Justin Tuck craze hit. The New York Giants defensive end created his own face mask that he wore while playing in the Super Bowl. The mask is comprised of six cross bars. The bars were made to leave little open space to prevent an opponent from slipping their fingers through the bars, grabbing Tuck's mask and pulling on it to hurt his neck.
Luckily for guys such as Oklahoma's Jamarkus McFarland and R.J. Washington, Camp was able to order the mask in time for spring practice. OU is one of the first college programs in the country to get the new style of mask, which is known to equipment managers as the CU-S3BD-HT-SP.
Camp sat on the countertop of the equipment room as he picked up one facemask then another.
Dom Whaley wears one like Adrian Peterson. McFarland wants the Justin Tusk mask. Tony Jefferson likes to switch up his style.
So how often are the players actually asking for a new look with their facemask?
“More often than I would like,” Camp said with a laugh. “Most of them, once they kind of find their style, they stick with it because that's their look. … but you might get a guy, he's one of the first two or three guys that gets a mask on and all of a sudden you get a whole position, like all the defensive backs decide, ‘OK, we want this look now.'”
McFarland is one of the defensive linemen who made the switch to Tuck's style of mask.