With spirits and confidence high following a pair of blowout wins where the ‘Hoos dominated on both sides of the ball, the Virginia coaching staff — somewhat remarkably — didn’t make any changes to the depth chart heading into Coastal play.
Of note, the defensive alignment and adjustment that came following the William & Mary remains. With De’Vante Cross holding down the spot at nickel cornerback, Fentrell Cyprus III and Anthony Johnson sticking around as the starting outside corners, Joey Blount starting at strong safety again, and Nick Grant getting accustomed to playing free safety, there seems to be a developing sense of comfort with this group after a particularly impressive performance against Illinois.
Giving up just 221 yards through the air as Artur Sitkowski completed only 53.3% of his passes, nabbing one interception, and holding Sitkowski to a paltry 52.6 QBR, the secondary had been as about as good as Bronco Mendenhall could’ve hoped for through two weeks.
As expected, the offensive line remains intact after another stellar performance on Saturday in which the group didn’t allow a single quarterback hurry, much less a sack. The Wahoon big men also paved the way to 133 rushing yards on 33 carries for a respectable 4.0 yards per carry.
On the defensive line, Adeeb Atariwa is once again listed as the starter at left end despite missing the Illinois game with Nusi Malani taking his spot. In his Monday presser, Bronco Mendenhall emphasized that he’s “hopeful” Atariwa will be available come Saturday but that there’s no official update on the senior’s status against UNC.
Otherwise, though, everything is as expected heading into Saturday which is undoubtedly indicative of where the coaching staff feels this team is as it takes on increased competition in conference play. The Wahoos have rolled through their first two opponents, now it’s time for this group to test its mettle against the type of teams it’ll have to beat to be competitive in the Coastal.