ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Virginia Tech won't be thinking only about football when the Hokies take the field during the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday.
The team will also have the victims of the mass shooting in Connecticut in mind, by honoring them with a special helmet decal.
Hokies players will wear the decal on the side of their helmets this week during practice in place of their usual helmet logo.
It features an orange and green folded ribbon, and includes "VT" and "SH" for Sandy Hook on opposite ends. It also includes the number "58" under the word "Prevail." A smaller version will be worn on the back of their helmets during the game.
"It's just one of those things where we've been through what those people up in Sandy Hook are going through," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "We got 58 on the helmet there — the number of guys between us and them that was needlessly killed. We prevailed in Blacksburg, and I think, if anything, it brought us closer and more determined. The same thing is going to happen there. I can just tell that community is coming together."
Beamer said the decision to wear the decal during Friday's matchup with Rutgers was made because Virginia Tech — the site of a 2007 mass shooting — feels a kinship with the victims of the Dec. 14 shooting in which 20 children and six adults were killed.
The coaching staff will also honor the victims by wearing an orange, white and green ribbon, held together by a Virginia Tech pin on the side of their hats.