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Mike London on Louisville: Traditional Rivalries Had to Start Somewhere

On this week's ACC teleconference, Mike London discusses Virginia's quarterback situation; his experience coaching against Louisville's Bobby Petrino; and players Kevin Parks, Wilfred Wahee, and Taquan Mizzell.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia football head coach opened up his Wednesday ACC teleconference by acknowledging that the Hoos willb e facing yet another Top 25 team this weekend in Charlottesville, but that the players are ready. Here's the full transcript of today's teleconference:

Q. What would you say are the differences between Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns?

MIKE LONDON: Well, I mean, obviously there's physical differences. You look at each guy's body type and structure, but one is a guy that has a pocket presence. The other one will move in the pocket, hit you up and take off and run with the ball. The elements of what they are physically are things that can allow them to be successful for us, but they're different mentally in terms of the way quarterbacks handle and approach pressure and handle and approach just so many different things that quarterbacks have to.

But combined they've done a good job thus far in doing the things that we've asked them to do, and I'm sure as time goes on, those things that they are, those things that they're limited at will manifest itself, but right now with two games under our belt going into the third game against a very good football team, we'll find out more about them.

Q. Do you basically call the game the same way with the two of them? It's the same package?

MIKE LONDON: You know, again, without getting into specifics about it, there is a game plan that's dedicated to getting the ball to other players on our team. There are some things that we do to try to put each player in a successful position in order to execute that play. You know, again, there are some things that we do and there are some things that are more predicated upon getting the ball to the running backs, the receivers, where we throw the ball, those type of things.

Q. I was just curious if you've had a lot of experience coaching against Coach Petrino or know him very well.

MIKE LONDON: No, I don't have a lot of experience coaching against him, just through the professional organizations in college football and him having been places where I have friends that have coached and just knowing him in recently the last few ACC head coaches' meetings have had a chance to have conversations. Most of my knowledge or interaction with him has been in the professional organizations, conventions and things like that, but other than that, just the brief meetings we've had here recently, and now he's in the ACC so we'll see him every year.

Q. Obviously you are going to see them every year. How do you guys go about trying to build a rivalry now with them, replacing Maryland as your rival?

MIKE LONDON: Well, I mean, there's no doubt Maryland was a geographic rival for us because of the same type of players, a lot of times we recruit in those densely populated areas. The fact that Louisville now has caused us to even increase our recruiting territories, we will be in Ohio and PA and in Connecticut and those areas‑‑ excuse me, and Kentucky, out in those areas.

Over a while you build rivalry games, you build those type of things that are matches that people come to enjoy. We'll see how they travel to us, how we travel to them when we have to play them, and just over the course of time your rivalry games and situations start to develop, and this is a new one that's started. But a lot of ones that have been longtime traditions had to start at some point.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about Parks. I know you used a bunch of‑‑ you're rotating your backs to some extent, so he's not putting up big numbers, but how is he playing and producing right now?

MIKE LONDON: Kevin, as I said, is one of our captains. He's a guy that's a great leader, and obviously when you're returning rushing leader, you want to get the ball and get it in your hands. He's a guy that wants to help the team win, and he's done some great things, he's done some great things in pass protections. Where we've asked him to run or block or whatever it might be, Kevin embraces the role. We're looking to get him opportunities to utilize his skill set, and as I said, he's a good runner, and we'd like to help him get those yards that he was accustomed to last year.

Q. You mentioned Wil Wahee a couple times. He's a guy obviously who is a third‑year player but red shirted one year and missed all of last season with an injury. People may not know much about him. What are his strengths and what's he done well on special teams, and I guess trying to get in the mix in the secondary?

MIKE LONDON: Yeah, sure. Wil is an outstanding young man that just gives unbelievable effort. He was hit with the injury bug there when he hurt his knee, and he's a guy‑‑ our team is full of guys that have been here for a while and now are stepping up into the position of playing a lot and being maybe a three or four‑phase guy on special teams or being a backup.

The thing that he brings is there's a tremendous amount of energy that he brings when he plays on the football field, and that's the type of energy that's contagious. I said last week, versus UCLA he was running down the field on the kickoff cover, he got knocked off his feet but hopped up, dove for a runner, and did it in a matter of seconds, and it was unbelievable effort, and I keep showing that to the team, that if each individual collectively made those type of efforts per play, gave that type of energy and effort, then we could be successful, and so Wil has been kind of one of the models of, you play with effort, you play with energy, then you have a chance play in and play out. We need those type of plays in order to win football games here, and again, it's a pleasure to have him on the team.

Q. Taquan's leading you in receiving, but his per‑catch average is clearly not where you would want it. Is it a matter of him not hitting the spots where he needs to be, or has the blocking been the biggest issue there?

MIKE LONDON: Well, you know, as I said before, he's a dynamic player for us, and we have to create the opportunities to get him to the next level, whether it's a blocking assignment that doesn't sustain a block or whether it's a throw that doesn't lead him in a manner where he can catch it and run. There's always little things that happen back and forth here, but the big thing with him is in working in practice and working on a lot of the quick pitches to quick slants to quick bubble screens, things that are like basically toss sweeps, that we have to be able to get him the ball and then give him the type of blocking or whatever it is on the perimeter to allow him to make one miss and go. We're just waiting for that opportunity, and so we'll keep working hard on making that happen because I believe when you see the success of what he can do in terms of getting away from defenders, making one miss, then the explosive play situations for us will improve. We're going to work with that, and I believe he can do things like that to help this team.

Q. And you've seen that burst previously on special teams, yes?

MIKE LONDON: Oh, without a doubt. There was a kickoff that he returned that was kind of a‑‑ I don't know what they tried to do, but he picked it up and then he ended up making I think a 30‑something yard return. We've seen it in practice, and now we want to be able to execute it in games so he can benefit us. He ran track for us this spring. He does have the dynamic speed, and now we've got to give him the ball and let him go and do his thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports