MANHATTAN — Mason Barta's first reaction was to reach for his phone.
AJ Parker's thoughts turned to his buddy who walked out to cheers from in the Vanier Football Complex's Steel & Pipe Team Theatre.
The occasion was the long-awaited unveiling of Kansas State's new alternate football uniform, featuring a white helmet and pants in place of the traditional silver. The Wildcats will show off the new look at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for their Big 12 home opener at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
"I love 'em," said Barta, sophomore fullback from Holton who grew up watching the Wildcats dressed in nothing but the traditional purple and silver. "I texted my dad right after and bragged to him a little bit (when) I showed him our new uniforms."
Barta's dad, Brooks, was a standout linebacker at K-State from 1989-92, the first four years of legendary coach Bill Snyder's tenure. The old uniforms had remained mostly identical since then, with purple or white jerseys, silver pants and the silver helmet emblazoned with the Powercat logo.
"He was a little shocked to see them; we all kind of were," Barta said of his dad, now the longtime successful coach at Holton High School. "But we were really excited and he loved them."
Parker, a junior cornerback, also was excited when the team saw the video reveal, shared on social media under the @KStateFB Twitter handle. But even more so when former running back Mike McCoy walked into the room modeling the new look.
McCoy, a Topeka High product, saw his career end last year because of a spinal condition.
"When I watched my boy Mike walk out, that brought joy to my heart," Parker said of McCoy, who remains with the team as a student assistant. "That's my boy; he came in with me … that brought a smile to my face.
"I feel like he was stoked to get into that (uniform). I know he misses the game and I know he tries not to let people know that, but he's out there, he's going to work and he's doing everything to help this team. It was fun, and glad for me to watch him enjoying himself and getting to put the pads back on."
A small sample surveyed, consisting of players on hand for Tuesday's weekly media availability, showed unanimous approval of the uniform.
"I love the pants," Barta said. "I'd love to see the pants with home jerseys, away jerseys, everything.
"It would be awesome."
Defensive end Wyatt Hubert and quarterback Skylar Thompson were drawn to a detail on the helmet.
"The top of the helmet where it says Cats in cursive is probably the coolest thing, and I wasn't expecting that," Hubert said.
Thompson gave it high marks all around.
"I like how it's pretty simple," he said. "It's not too much or too flashy, but I think it looks good and clean."
First-year head coach Chris Klieman said he chose to unveil the uniforms on Monday in order to give the players a week to adjust to new helmets. The fact that the Wildcats were coming off a tough 26-13 loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday and playing at home this week for the first time in nearly a month seemed to make the timing just right.
"We didn't want to do it early in the season," Klieman said. "We wanted to wait until a conference game and this seemed like the perfect time to do it."
It definitely boosted morale, according to Hubert.
"I don't know if you believe in the saying, look good, feel good, play good, but there's a lot of guys that believe in that saying and it's definitely nice to have a little bit of swag on this team," he said.
But now the pressure is on not to waste it.
"The guys are super excited to go out there and practice hard," Hubert added. "No one wants to go out there (in a) new, cool-looking uniform and take an L."