Late Monday afternoon, when Virginia defensive tackle David Dean and wide receiver Canaan Severin finally made their way onto the podium during the ACC Football Kickoff student athlete interviews, the first question asked to the Virginia players was fairly straightforward.
Two years ago, Virginia was a two-win team. Last year, the team saw themselves with a three-game improvement (which lead to multiple Meat Mountains). They're right on the cusp of returning to bowl game eligibility. The question is, can they get there this year?
For Dean, the answer lies in experience.
The key, Dean said on Monday, is "continuing to keep learning from our mistakes."
Dean is hoping that, with Virginia returning many of the guys who found their way to playing time last year, "they're able to pass on their wisdom to the younger guys who didn't play."
"Now, Dean added, "we have the ability to fix those mistakes, correct what we did wrong, now go on to try to have just as successful of a season as we had last year."
When asked a similar question, Severin replied that the key was simply finishing down the stretch. Noting the one-possession losses to North Carolina (1 point), Virginia Tech (4 points), UCLA (8 points), and Duke (7 points), Severin said, "We were three or four games away. Honestly, just finishing down the stretch is what we have to do."
"Just finishing down the stretch, we believe that will get us over that hump."
The players are convinced that by cleaning up some mistakes from last year and playing a full four quarters, that should be enough to reach bowl eligibility this year. What do you think, Wahoo fans? What are the keys to playing in December or, better yet, January?