After a difficult 2013 season, the Cavaliers are in desperate need of a rebound. Thanks to a more experienced team, head coach Mike London feels his team is ready to turn the corner.
“Last year we had four seniors,” he said. “This year we have 22. I mean, there’s a maturation process that takes place when you have teams that are looking for leaders, that are looking for an identity…I’d say there’s unity with this year’s team.”
Unity was the major theme for London as he spoke to the media Monday at the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C. While a largely inexperienced Cavaliers team only managed a 2-10 record last season, London stressed experience and consistency among the team and coaches.
“The coordinators are back, and so the systems and schemes are intact. The experience of guys that have played in college football games are there.”
Even with experience being so highly valued, however, Virginia will head into the season with a new quarterback atop the depth chart.
Though incumbent David Watford is back for his junior season, Greyson Lambert will head into camp as the team’s starter. Lambert appeared in seven games in 2013 and London hopes he can provide more consistent play and leadership.
“Greyson is a guy that the team will rally behind and a guy that wants to lead this team to championships,” said London.
A championship, however, seems like a lofty goal for Virginia, especially when they face such a tough schedule.
In addition to their Coastal Division schedule, the Cavaliers will open the season against UCLA, a team expected to challenge for the Pac-12 title, and head to Provo, Utah to face BYU.
Virginia will also meet face defending national champion Florida State as well as conference newcomer Louisville. This will be the first of many meetings between the Cavaliers and Cardinals as Louisville was selected to be Virginia’s cross division rival to replace Maryland, meaning both teams will meet annually.
It’s a challenge, London says, the team is not shying away from. “It’s a tough schedule. But you don’t stray away from challenges. You embrace the schedule as it is.”
Still, it is a daunting task for the fourth-year head coach who faces tough questions regarding his future at Virginia.
London has little to show for his time in Charlottesville with an 18-31 record and only one bowl appearance. Regardless, London reaffirmed his commitment to the school in the future and to developing the team’s new players.
“I am a coach that’s committed 100 percent to the development of this team, to moving forward of this program, to accepting the challenges that lay ahead of us, and those are my focal points.”
Virginia’s season kicks off on August 30 as the Cavaliers host UCLA.