UVA football coach Bronco Mendenhall talks NC State loss

bronco mendenhallOpening Statement:
“Congratulations to NC State and Coach Doeren. I think they earned the victory today. We played well enough to make it interesting but not well enough to win the game. Our inability to run the ball consistently and their surprising ability to run the ball, those two things were the back story to what led to the outcome as it was. I was encouraged when it was 27-14. We had the ball down there and went for it on fourth. I thought we had a great chance there to finish this off and possibly pull off a comeback. Again, we just weren’t consistent enough to make that play. I was impressed with Bryce Perkins’ effort, competitive spirit, and ability and effectiveness. He did a really nice job of keeping drives alive and keeping the ball moving. I would say the same as a bright spot was Tavares Kelly, emerging and making some plays. I’m really encouraged by A.J. (Mejia’s) onside kick. That was executed exactly right in a critical moment, so that was one instance where execution matched the situation at a really high level. There just simply weren’t enough of those plays to win the game. Defensively, I was really surprised about their ability to run the football. Some of the same things that appeared in the Indiana game in terms of assignment, consistency (were a problem in this game). The loss of Jordan Mack certainly did affect the outcome. The loss of Brenton Nelson certainly did affect the outcome, but that doesn’t excuse the outcome.”

On putting pressure on Ryan Finley:
“It’s a combination of pressure and coverage. We knew the statistics, the number of sacks going into this game and the number of sacks the entire year last year. It’s not an accident. We kind of pride ourselves on being able to hit the quarterback, and we didn’t. Their protection and ability to throw and catch the football or throw with incompletes and have us pass interfere, not defend cleanly, that’s basically the same result. They threw and caught and protected on third down better than we rushed and covered and executed. That hasn’t happened it seemed like for a long time, a team having that much success on third down, which I attribute to their protection, their quarterback, and their receiving play.”

On Virginia’s run game struggles:
“It’s the offensive front versus their defensive front. Similar things manifested in the Indiana game. This defensive front was better, so we’re getting a clearer idea of what that looks like against the better opponents. I would say that we were realistic but certainly disappointed with our result. We’re getting a clearer idea of where our matchups and execution really are. Each play gives us more feedback.”

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