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Bronco Mendenhall and Wolverine have a mutual understanding

No, not the Michigan kind.

Louisville v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall prefers to run his offensive system with a “Thorterback”—a speedy quarterback who can make plays outside of the pocket on his own. But unlike what you might expect, the model in his office of a Marvel superhero isn’t that of Thor.

Instead, Mendenhall has a statuette of Wolverine in his office.

“The Wolverine,” Mendenhall said Tuesday night on his weekly radio show, “there just seems to be this connection where he seems like a fairly normal person most of the time, but right under the surface, there’s this other thing that can come out.”

“I don’t say much and I remain pretty stoic a lot of the times,” the notoriously soft-spoken and self-proclaimed introverted coach said. “But there is a threshold where something happens. It’s just hard to reel it back in. Me and the Wolverine, we have this understanding.”

Mendenhall said he’s had Wolverine on his desk for a couple years, and the idea that he can get past that so-called threshold isn’t entirely new. Last year, after the Hoos allowed a late second-quarter touchdown en route to a 42-23 win at Boise State, Mendenhall erupted in the locker room with a brief string of expletives.

Could there be another threshold event in the works this season? With pressure mounting to get the Hoos back into the postseason for the second straight year, every game is of critical importance to Mendenhall and company.

No word on whether he did the same at halftime against the NC State Wolfpack last Saturday, but that wouldn’t be too surprising.