Postgame: UVA football coach Bronco Mendenhall on loss at Virginia Tech

bronco mendenhallOpening statement:

“I’m proud of my team. I love the kids that I coach. I thought they battled and played very hard. I think they value this game. I think they represented us very well. Congratulations to Virginia Tech and Coach (Justin) Fuente on their victory. It was a great college football game.”

On the final possession in regulation leading to a UVA field goal:

“I was really hopeful for a touchdown there, but I thought the field goal would be enough. But it didn’t really change the situation. Before we kicked the field goal, they still needed a touchdown. The long scramble play, that was a jump ball, and they made the catch on, was a big play.”

What was the difference offensively in the second half?

“Poise and execution. We were much cleaner with our poise and execution up front, and had a clearer idea of what they were vulnerable to.”

How tough is it to lose two consecutive overtime games?

“It’s tough. It’s part of the growing pains of building an exceptional program. Can’t get closer than where we currently are. There’s not much else to say.”

On the emergence of Joe Reed:

“The last three games, he’s really emerged and that’s helped our point production significantly. When you add Bryce [Perkins] to Olamide [Zaccheaus] and Joe [Reed], that helps a lot.”

On the conservative play-calling towards the end of the game:

“We thought we could get first downs and use the clock.”

What happened on the blocked punt?

“It was just an assignment mistake.”

What was your message to the team at halftime?

“There wasn’t much of a message, except we can play better and we just focused on assignments and execution. There wasn’t ranting or raving or emotional speeches, it was just assignments and execution.”

On the positive takeaways from today’s game:

“Our players fought hard. They are completely unified. They are resilient. They don’t know the word ‘quit’ or ‘stop’. They want to win and they expected to win. And it’s clear that they are getting close to being capable of winning wherever they go and against whoever they play, in a pretty tough environment.”

What did you tell your players after the game?

“I told them I was proud of them. They have a chance to win eight games and win a bowl game.”

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