As Virginia fans look forward to kicking off the 2021 football season on September 4th, Wednesday afternoon marked a major checkpoint on the road to the 2021 campaign as Virginia’s head coach Bronco Mendenhall travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina to participate in the ACC Kickoff Event, alongside QB Brennan Armstrong, S Joey Blount, and WR/QB Keytaon Thompson.
While Coach Mendenhall was optimistic for the upcoming campaign, one area that the Cavalier team desperately needs to improve upon was their record away from Scott Stadium:
“17-2 is what our record has been at home, but we are second to last the ACC in my tenure on the road… that’s the next level of expansion, to have consistency in our program, is to maintain what we are doing at home and that has to travel and it has not yet.”
For Quarterback Brennan Armstrong, having a full offseason to prepare with his teammates for the upcoming season has led to increased confidence heading into this season, saying “A lot of chemistry being built in the spring games and spring practices and games under my belt. [Having] games under my belt helps a lot.”
A key storyline for the upcoming season will be how the Cavaliers and Coach Mendenhall decide to implement utility man Keytaon Thompson in their offense. Thompson is prepared for whatever role the Cavaliers throw at him, saying “I can do whatever you need me to do… just going out there and taking whatever my coaches giving me and focusing in on the attention to detail.”
Another major area of concern for the Cavaliers is the secondary, where they ranked near the bottom of the conference last season. A key cog in the defensive unit was taken away from the Virginia program this offseason when Charles Snowden was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent.
Joey Blount, Snowden’s partner in crime during their time in Charlottesville, realizes the increased leadership role being placed on him and has already encouraged young members of the secondary to step up:
“There are a couple guys that I’m looking for some leadership qualities and mentality. Nick Jackson, phenomenal season last year at linebacker. One of the top ACC Performers in tackling and rally showed us that he is a defender that everyone needs to take account for.”
While the Cavalier unit had a rough 2020 campaign, another season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall and the return of fans to Scott Stadium, could help return the 2021 Virginia Cavaliers back to their incredibly successful form from 2019.