Despite Brennan Armstrong’s most mediocre performance of the season against Miami last Saturday, Bronco Mendenhall is still incredibly pleased with his quarterback’s play and, in particular, his mindset as the Virginia Cavaliers prepare for Louisville this week.
“How refreshing to win, to win that kind of game, to battle, all that, then have your quarterback, the very first thing he’s thinking about is how to improve,” says Mendenhall. “He was upset about his interception,” he adds, noting how Armstrong came up to his head coach right after the game and said “‘that one’s on me.’”
“I don’t have to say a thing,” says Mendenhall, “which is so remarkable and so refreshing, that accountability.”
Of course, Mendenhall does note those necessary improvements. “[Brennan] was upset about his interception,” and considering “we played over 50 plays in the first half… the point per play, I think he would have expected to be higher. We all would have.”
“With the opportunities in relation to the points, we can be better,” as he identifies that, “especially in the second half when we need [points], we had so many chances. But our own lack of execution or mistakes, kept [Miami] fighting back.”
He goes on to echo many frustrations the fanbase had with Saturday’s game as “we always struggled to pull away and we didn’t execute well enough on either side [of the ball] to pull away. [It] tells you where we are, but also where Miami is, right?”
Looking past Armstrong’s 25-of-44, 268-yard, one touchdown, and one interception performance against Miami, Mendenhall sees his quarterback’s talent level as on par with former ACC quarterbacks now starting in the NFL. “He’s absolutely in that realm,” Mendenhall emphasizes, “he’s not kind of on the fringe, he’s right in the middle of that realm.”
He points out how Armstrong “can make every single throw, he’s tough, competitive, smart, durable,” and says that “anyone that doesn’t think that, I guess they’ll find out the hard way. All you have to do is watch him play and the production speaks for itself.”
Granted, Mendenhall knows that “he has tons and tons of room to improve as well. But capability is right there in every level. I think he’s a good player.”
In terms of Armstrong’s accuracy and his willingness to sling the ball into near-impossible windows, Mendenhall reasons that “sometimes when you hit shoeboxes from 50 [yards away], you do it 10 times in a row, you actually become pretty confident,” adding that “he’s [made those throws] enough now, and the sample size has become big enough, not perfect, there’s still issues he can develop and grow in.”
But, all in all regarding Armstrong’s arm, “this is absolutely not an issue of capability,” emphasizes Mendenhall as “he can basically hit whatever you put out there moving or stationary as many times as you want and he can do it with people chasing him around.”
The ‘Hoos will hope that Armstrong can continue to hit those wide variety of targets this Saturday as Virginia hits the road again to kickoff against Louisville at 3PM on Saturday.