TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory and his four captains met with the media Monday afternoon as the Sycamores continue to deal with the tragic death of three ISU students while also preparing to open up the season Thursday night.

“This week has been very difficult for everybody. Our hearts go out to the three families and what they are going through. Just a devastating tragedy,” says Curt Mallory.

“We’ve talked together as a team. We’ve hung together as a team through these trying times and that’s how we got through it. With our immediate families and our football families.”

Senior wide receiver Dante Hendrix gave praise to his head coach for helping the Sycamores these last couple of weeks.

“Coach Mallory has done a great job just leading us through this difficult time,” says Hendrix.

A lot of the younger guys have been looking up to guys like Hendrix and Kris Reid.

“Things are hard, but it’s okay to grieve and talk about things and let it out and not hold it in,” says Reid.

“Everyone says it, but these past two weeks we came together,” says Jose Vazquez.

“Being around the younger guys – those were their first friends that they made on campus so just being around each other and carrying them along throughout the process and just sticking together as a family.”

We expect a lot of emotions for the Sycamores as they take the field Thursday night.

“Football is a big thing. We all enjoy this and it helps us cope with it,” says Geoff Brown.

“We are all a big family so we can talk to each other about anything when we go through situations and tragedies like this so the biggest thing is sticking together and leaning on one another.”

Kickoff is set for 6pm Thursday night against North Alabama at Memorial Stadium.