UVA Football coach Bronco Mendenhall on win over ODU

Bronco MendenhallOpening Statement:
“I’d like to compliment Coach Wilder and what he’s done with the Old Dominion team. I think he’s recruited really well. I think they’re a tough, physical team and they’re a team with a strong culture. They came to the University of Virginia to win a football game and that was apparent right from the beginning. That’s a tribute to him and his staff as well as their players for how hard they tried and battled. I was impressed with what he’s done with their program. All kinds of learning experiences for our program – playing from behind is a challenge. We pulled off the comeback, which is way better than the alternative. Defensively, we adjusted faster mindset-wise and production-wise than we did offensively throughout the day. The blocked field goal could have been much more instrumental than it ended up being but that certainly has to be shored up. Old Dominion showed up ready and hungry and eager to play, and it took us and our program much longer to reach that same state.”

On the reasons for the slow start for the Virginia offense:
“I’m really not sure. I looked for signs all week, so it caught me off guard. I didn’t see signs during the week that indicated that our engine might not be on. The looks that we saw tonight in game were the exact same looks that we practiced against so even though ODU had a bye it wasn’t now some radically new plan that we saw. Our preparation was in relation to what they did. Obviously, we just didn’t execute it with the urgency and precision that we needed to. That’s to their credit as well.”

On the team being mentally and emotionally exhausted from last game:
“It has to be a contributor. I don’t have any other excuse, nor will I make any. It’s hard to be on edge every game for every opponent at the level you need to and certainly that’s not where we were today. I wish I could say that I saw it coming during the week– I didn’t. My job is to try and see it and fix it if we can do it before it happens. But luckily, enough players and enough of the team responded in-game to pull a win out. Coming back from 17 is not easy.”

On his halftime speech:
“There’s an occasional time I’ll say something here or there. I think at halftime all I said was, ‘Now that that’s over, we’ll start playing.’ I don’t believe in giant speeches, nor do I think they work.”

On Charles Snowden’s growth as a player:
“I think we were the only school that recruited him or offered him a scholarship to play football. He’s a very good basketball player. We like long, tall, athletic outside linebackers in 3-4. Players weren’t racing to join our program when we arrived, and he fit all the measurables, but more importantly he’s an amazing, amazing person. Because of that, his work ethic and diligence and conscientiousness with the possibility of becoming and developing is what came together to become the kind of performance he had tonight. It’s who he is that has helped him play the way he does.”

On the Old Dominion run defense:
“We thought that we would be able to move the ball consistently. We thought we would have similar offensive output as what we had in weeks one, two, and three. That’s what we thought would happen – and it didn’t, to Old Dominion’s credit. They defeated blocks and made tackles. They covered our receivers tight. They played with very good leverage. They made it hard to move the ball. As much as I would like to say it was only us and our performance, I was impressed, and I told Coach [Wilder] that after the game. I thought their defense played really well and made a lot of plays in a very solid plan. They executed at a really high level and they were hungry and physical. But we thought prior to it would be a similar output to what we had the first three weeks. That’s what we thought.”

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