One thing was abundantly clear throughout Wednesday afternoon's press conference with new Virginia Football Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall: nothing will be given. Everything will be earned.
The "earned, not given" mentality applies not only to playing time, which you'd expect to hear coming out of a National Signing Day press conference, but also to redshirts, workouts, and even Spring Game.
In addition to providing an overview of the 2016 signees, Mendenhall shared with the media his philosophy on redshirts. Just because a player who doesn't receive any playing time his freshman year, under Mendenhall's program, doesn't mean he's taking a redshirt. Instead, the player will continue to play his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, and as perhaps Mendenhall's "greatest honor" to bestow upon a player, if he has worked hard, he'll have earned a fifth year with the program.
The same approach applies to weight training in the gym. Players can't just muddle through the warmup in order to get to the weights and the sleds, Mendenhall said. "The warmup is important...I don't like things kind of right, I like things exactly right." So, if you don't do the warmup perfectly, you don't get to play with the big boy weights.
Mendenhall did give us a few definites to keep in mind. Virginia Pro Day will take place on March 15. The first spring practice will be on Tuesday, March 22. Practices this spring will take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. And the Spring Game?
That will be on Saturday, April 23. If the players have earned it.
It's a tentative date that will depend on how things progress between now and then. Mendenhall, who said that he likes to give players more choice, said that the players will get to decide whether or not the play a Spring Game. He didn't elaborate as to what criteria might be used in making the decision, or when that decision will be finalized.
We'll continue our National Signing Day coverage here all day long. In the meanwhile, here are a ton of new highlights videos for you to watch, plus a ton of videos straight from the coaches, behind the scenes on Signing Day. Don't forget lacrosse is right around the corner, and we previewed the midfielders this afternoon.