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Virginia Football team promised a round of golf if they reach a bowl game

Their streak of golfing in December will continue regardless of their record.

NCAA Football: Virginia at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When Virginia Cavaliers safety Quin Blanding posed a question to head coach Bronco Mendenhall on the latter’s radio show Tuesday night, it wasn’t one about Saturday’s season opener or the 3-4 defense that Mendenhall and defensive coordinator Nick Howell operate.

He wants to know if Mendenhall will take the team golfing.

Blanding was the guest on the weekly “Coach’s Corner” program with Mendenhall and UVA radio play-by-play voice Dave Koehn, and asked if he could bring the team to play a round at the Birdwood Golf Course in Charlottesville. After a hearty laugh, Mendenhall said that, in line with the “Earned Not Given” mantra of the program under his watch, he will take the Cavaliers golfing if they reach their first bowl game since 2011.

Jokes aside, Mendenhall spent much of this season’s first Coach’s Corner comparing this year’s team to last.

“From a year ago to this year,” Mendenhall said, “the camps couldn’t have been any different.”

Mendenhall described the atmosphere this year as more “workmanlike,” and as a result, the team came out “much better than was expected.”

In particular, mental maturity was noted as the biggest difference for the players between this year and last. For Mendenhall personally, the biggest difference was perspective in terms of learning about the players and their stories and what they want out of their UVA careers.

Some other items of note from the show:

  • Bronco’s biggest lesson so far? The “point of reference” of where the team really was when he took over and what has to be done to turn the program around. He’s approaching it with a “blend of optimism and realism with a focus on the process” and is “certain we'll have success at some point.”
  • When asked if the team will be running the no-huddle on offense this season, he said that, contrary to the way things were in the latter stages of his tenure at BYU, “specific players can do specific things” with their skillsets at UVA, and that the team isn’t equipped to run that scheme at this point.
  • When discussing graduate transfers, Mendenhall touched on the very high number of graduate transfers in college basketball - Virginia alone had three go out and one come in this summer. “Something's not being done right” in college hoops recruiting, he said, but is comfortable with the idea of grad transfers with his team if they play with a chip on their shoulders and want a Master’s degree from UVA that he described as “powerful.”
  • Lastly, he said that Saturday’s opponent, William & Mary, has developed consistency and a “clear identity” under Jimmye Laycock, who is about to start his 38th season as coach of the Tribe. He said that they have “really good players” with question marks at quarterback and run a 4-2-5 defensively.