Mendenhall acknowledges challenges with conditioning as season opener nears
You knew that several months away from the gym would have an impact on the strength and conditioning of your average college football team.
Even based on those expectations, UVA football coach Bronco Mendenhall has been surprised how long it has taken his team to get to where he thought it should be.
“It took a long time to get to where I thought baseline would be of a normal return to fall camp. And that was about with three weeks from game day to where it started to look relatively normal for, like, a normal reporting day,” Mendenhall said in a video conference with reporters this week.
That date would have fallen late last week, three weeks out from the scheduled season opener at in-state ACC rival Virginia Tech on Sept. 19.
Maybe it’s a good thing, then, that the previously scheduled season opener, which would have been on Friday at home against VMI, ended up getting scuttled.
The extra week has given Mendenhall time to see his players get closer to game shape.
Interesting choice made here by Mendenhall: “I’ve chosen not to add additional conditioning, but I have chosen to do more acclimation and situational work, of actually just playing the game, probably more than we ever have.”
Mendenhall acknowledged the risk of injury in going that route.
“I think that’s the best way to replicate what we’re going to be doing, is to be doing it,” Mendenhall said. “We’re just trying to mitigate that risk as much as possible. And luckily, man, our (new) grass fields are magical. It’s the healthiest we’ve ever been in any team I’ve coached. The grass has already just paid huge dividends in terms of keeping our roster healthy.”
Story by Chris Graham