If you’re a fan of the Virginia Cavaliers, one phrase you likely grew accustomed to early on was the idea that “hope springs eternal”. This spring, renewed hopes that the UVA football team can continue its resurgence into the Coastal Division’s upper echelon are on the horizon.
The Hoos’ first day of spring practice was yesterday and they hit the ground running. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall spoke with reporters afterward, and there were several nuggets of information that we can keep in mind as the next month progresses.
- Bryce Perkins is the undisputed starter, and rightly so. Mendenhall called him “dynamic”, adding that “it does not seem like the game or the pace is too fast for him...we’re day one, but dynamic, fast, athletic, and poised would be the descriptors I would use.” For those who grew increasingly frustrated with the Cavaliers’ offensive woes over the final 85 minutes of the season, that will be welcome news.
- After losing to the Virginia Tech Hokies 14 times in a row, has UVA begun to change their mindset as to how they approach their rivals (if you still want to call them that)? Mendenhall seemed to take a page out of Woody Hayes’ book, saying “we’ll find the best combination of linebackers and the best combination of defensive backs to form the best 11 players versus not only our in-state rival, the Coastal Division, but the ACC in general.” It’s no secret that the program needs to get that monkey off its back as soon as possible. Maybe this is little more than a symbolic gesture, but at this point, Mendenhall and his staff could be forgiven for trying anything to break the streak.
- The team lost several players from last year’s squad that were pivotal to bringing Virginia back to a bowl game. That said, it wasn’t just thanks to Kurt Benkert, Quin Blanding, and Micah Kiser. Seventeen first-years suited up for UVA last fall, the fourth-most in college football. Mendenhall said that the 2018 team will be a combination of year one and year three; in lieu of the music the team formerly played at practice, he couldn’t hide a smirk as he said, “we plan to make our own.”
His full comments below, courtesy Virginia Sports TV: