Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall bracing for all possibilities as COVID-19 halts football activities
Football in Charlottesville soared to unseen heights in 2019.
The Cavaliers ended a 15-year drought by beating their Commonwealth rivals in Virginia Tech and, in doing so, captured their first-ever ACC Coastal Division title.
It was the Wahoos' first nine-win season since 2007 - an accomplishment second-team All-ACC quarterback Bryce Perkins takes pride in.
"I'm just gonna' remember this team was one of the best teams to come through," the NFL hopeful said. "Not many teams have won nine games in UVA history, beating Tech after 15 years - just to be a part of that and do it with the guys that I established close bonds with means the most. I'm gonna' miss these guys, and I know they're gonna' be great next year and even better in the years to come."
But what next year will look like is still very much up in the air.
Virginia, like nearly every other program in the nation, has canceled spring practice. It's possible the next time the team can convene together won't come until training camp begins in August.
And though it's too early to know how, or if, the games themselves will be impacted, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team will be ready to play whenever it's safe to do so.
"The ideal [scenario] is there's no change in what the season might look like," Mendenhall said. "The next would be to eliminate any preseason games and just play your conference games. That would be kind of the next threshold and then it just works its way down. So a 10-game season, I think, is still strong and powerful.
"The reality is that we're all capable, as professionals, to get our teams ready with whatever time-frame that we have. To say that you can't get a team ready without that just isn't true. It's challenging. It's more difficult. It will take more work and more innovation, but when you measure that against the circumstances we're in, it really doesn't seem that important."
Virginia is scheduled to open its 2020 football season on Monday, Sept. 7 against Georgia in Atlanta.