As Cavaliers open practice, UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall acknowledges challenges still facing football

The Wahoos have not had a positive COVID-19 case since the report issued on July 24.
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 6:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - With hopes of building on the program’s first ACC Coastal division win a season ago, the Virginia football team was back together Monday for the first time on its new grass practice field.

The official start of fall camp coincided with the athletic department’s fourth update on COVID-19 testing, which reported no additional positive test results since July 24.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said the program’s emphasis on mitigating the spread is paying off, but he recognizes the larger scope of the pandemic.

“We have done a very good job of controlling that component,” he said via Zoom press conference on Monday. “However, that does not reflect the community spread. That doesn’t reflect the nationwide numbers and it doesn’t reflect the worldwide pandemic, and football is secondary to all of those things, in my opinion.”

But, at least for the moment, football is moving ahead in Charlottesville, where the Wahoos landed a pair of JMU grad transfers this weekend in defensive back D’Angelo Amos and defensive lineman Adeeb Atariwa.

Mendenhall compared the current college football landscape to an NFL-like free agency, with players looking to leave programs that have already canceled fall seasons.

“Should we play, depth is going to be at a premium, having as deep a roster as you can have, with as good of players, with some of the unknowns that might manifest, it just seemed to be a win for everyone involved,” said Mendenhall.

But with Power Five conferences still weighing major decisions, Mendenhall acknowledged that, even with a set schedule and practice underway, nothing is guaranteed.

“What is clear to me is the numbers nationally and the numbers worldwide just don’t seem to reflect progress,” he said. “And so, regardless of how well we do within football, I have to acknowledge that as well. Again, I’m at peace with how well our program has managed this and our department, and I’m so thankful for that through Carla [Williams] and President Ryan, and that unity has been so comforting.

“We’ve controlled what we can control. There just seems to be a lot more that hasn’t been controlled effectively that, eventually, we’re going to run into if we want to play, and those questions still linger.”

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