UVA football: Not looking past William and Mary

uva-wmThe inclination for UVA football might be to look at William and Mary next on the schedule after the heartbreaking loss to #9 Notre Dame and take a breath.

And then you remember: 2009.

“I had been on the other side, an FCS coach, playing a BCS school. I’ve been on the side of winning those games, as well. The thing for us is, even what the captains talked about, is, We don’t care who we’re playing,” Virginia coach Mike London said Monday.

Which is a solid approach, given 2009. That William and Mary team came into Scott Stadium and upset an Al Groh-coach UVA team, 26-14.

That loss was the beginning of the end for the Groh regime. The ’09 Cavs went on to finish 3-9, Groh was fired at the end of the season, and London was hired to turn things around.

Now in his sixth season, London has supervised just one winning season, in 2011, and the 2015 ‘Hoos are off to an 0-2 start after the 34-27 loss to the Irish, who rallied in the final seconds to keep their playoff hopes alive.

William and Mary is coming off an early bye. The Tribe won their season opener on Sept. 5, a 34-7 win over Lafayette.

Quarterback Steve Cluley threw for 289 yards on 20-for-30 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Tailback Mikal Abdul-Saboor ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries as the Tribe ran up 489 yards of total offense.

“They’ll be well coached, excited about this opportunity. They won’t be intimidated coming up and playing in Charlottesville,” London said. “They have a quarterback and running back, with a couple wide receivers that are very productive for them. Defensively they got two safeties, a linebacker, a guy up front, they play hard. They’ll come to play.”

Even with London making the case that Virginia won’t overlook W&M, this one has the makings of the classic trap game. Boise State looms on the schedule next weekend after the season-opening losses to UCLA and Notre Dame.

“As I said, you can look at FCS. I mean, we’re not looking at it that way. We’re looking at it as another opponent, the chance for us to compete and win a home game here in Charlottesville, get moving in a positive direction coming off these last two games, particularly this last game,” London said.

“Again, no disrespect to them, it’s more about us than it is about them. But understanding about them, they’re a well-coached team. Like I said, I’ve been there, so I know what’s being said and how those kids feel about it. They got a chance to come in here and compete and do well.”

– Story by Chris Graham


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