In the uniform and helmet arms race, college football programs are always trying to keep up with the times and create the coolest, most futuristic-looking helmet. But while Oregon, Baylor and others go chrome, the Virginia Tech Hokies are going the other direction.
Andy Bitter, Virginia Tech beat writer for the Roanoke Times, tweeted a picture of a preliminary design of VT's new "Hokie Stone" helmet, which looks like it is made of pure limestone:
UPDATE: Monday, September 23, 4:47 p.m. EDT
The Virginia Tech football team confirmed Monday on its official website that the Hokies will wear their "Hokie Stone" helmets Thursday night when they begin ACC play against Georgia Tech.
Head coach Frank Beamer reiterated the tradition behind the helmets in the release:
When you look at this helmet, it’s not flashy, but it means a tremendous amount to this University. The outside world may have to do a double-take, but the Hokie Nation will know exactly what it is: Hokie Stone! And it’s something we’re proud of.
The reason I like it, is because it represents what this program and this University are built on. Each piece, in its place, serving its purpose, doing its job, and when it’s all working together, it’s rock solid and it’s something special.
That Hokie Stone … represents what we’re all about, a foundation that we’re proud of, built on brotherhood, loyalty, leadership, Ut Prosim, sacrifice, service, honor, and duty. And I hope you saw all of that on display this past Saturday in our game with a very talented and determined Marshall team. Not just from the players, but from the fans as well, who withstood a driving rain and stuck in there with us through it all!
So, on Thursday night, some may see it as stone on our helmets. We know it’s SO much more!
--End of update--
The helmet design is modeled after the same stone that makes up much of VT's Blacksburg campus. According to the university website, VT mines the stone from its own quarry in Blacksburg.
While the players may come out looking like Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple, tradition is always important.
The Virginia Tech website also explained how the limestone formed in the earth:
In the timeline of geology, dolomite formed at the same time as fish, insects, and reptiles, making it somewhat of a geological newcomer. The formation of this limestone (technically known as Chepultepec and Kingsport dolomite) was an earth-shaking event. Continental drift forced the coastal planes of Africa and North America to collide, creating wrinkled layers of faults and folds. As these layers were pushed near the earth’s surface, they formed the stone that distinguishes Virginia Tech today.
While the process to make these helmets will likely be much quicker than a continental shift, Chris Littmann of Sporting News contacted VT, which said there are no firm plans as to when or if the Hokies will wear the helmet.
Though there are no official plans for VT to wear them yet, don't be surprised when it happens. In the past, the Hokies have shown that they aren't afraid to don unique headgear.
Earlier in 2012, the Hokies rocked a white lid with a mean-looking turkey on one side and numbers on the opposite side.
Also in 2012, they donned a green camouflage helmet and another white one with turkey feet on the sides, both of which can be seen from Graham Watson of Yahoo! Sports.
On Sept. 21, the Hokies will wear a maroon and orange camouflage for a military appreciation game against Marshall.
While many programs have experimented with original helmets, this new geological-themed headwear looks to be something entirely different.