Doug Doughty’s Sunday interview with Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall in the Roanoke Times shared the new head coach’s evaluations of different aspects of the program after seven months at the helm. And it was none too charitable to the Mike London era in Charlottesville.
Coming out of the spring, UVa’s staff would not pick a starter between Johns and 2015 backup Connor Brewer, a fellow fifth-year quarterback coming off stops at Texas and Arizona. The Cavaliers also took a transfer quarterback this spring, Kurt Benkert, from East Carolina.
“I think, in general, the quarterback position at UVa has been probably the biggest mismanaged position in the program,” Mendenhall said. “This is just an objective assessment in terms of not only who has been chosen to play the position but in the succession planning for the position.”
We broke down how the quarterback depth could look for the next several seasons under Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Robert Anae. The scheduling philosophy also caught some of Mendenhall’s ire.
Mendenhall was greeted by a schedule that includes back-to-back road games in the first three weeks. After playing host to Richmond in the opener, Virginia will cross the country to meet Oregon, followed by a trip to Connecticut.
“What jumps out at me,” Mendenhall said, “is at one point, there looked to be an intrigue of possible exposure in the West. When I was at BYU, they chose to play us. They chose to play Boise [State]. They chose to play Oregon, and that’s a long ways away.
“There are equivalent opponents much closer and in our footprint, which means where most of our players are from. My guess is that the intent was to expand the UVa brand. From what I’ve seen in my short time here, it’s not necessary. I’m not going to be a proponent of that.”
Neither point is a shock to any UVA fan who watched the program in the past five years (and even longer, at least as far as the quarterbacks are concerned). While personnel management falls squarely on the coaches, there are plenty who would have the athletics administration shoulder some of the blame for building schedules that left previous Virginia football teams fighting an uphill battle.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Mendenhall spoke very positively of how quickly his staff has built strong connections with local high school coaches, and of how strong the bonds are among Virginia’s coaches across several sports.