UVA Football Aims to Fix Offense, 'Hoos Host UConn Saturday
UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall
The UVa football team plays host to Connecticut Saturday at Noon in a game nationally televised by ESPN2.
The Cavaliers are coming off a loss against Indiana, where the 'Hoos averaged 2.2 yards per carry, and quarterback Kurt Benkert didn't complete a pass for over 20 yards.
"Kurt wasn't especially accurate throwing some of those balls out of bounds, some were overthrown," says coach Bronco Mendenhall. "I want at least 50 percent of those caught, which means the ball goes up and both the receiver and defender have a chance to go up and make a play. Those alone, loosen coverage and start to become a little more dictorial toward the defense and give us a chance to have bigger windows not only in the run game but in the underneath throw game."
Benkert says, "I think as the season goes on and we develop our chemistry of going downfield and how we're going to hit these shots, because it's going to look different every week, as we get to that point it will alleviate some of the pressure."
Mendenhall says Virginia's offensive line is still a work in progress, but showed its potential Saturday opening up a big hole on Jordan Ellis' 12-yard touchdown run.
"That was an example of what we're capable of when things come together," says senior tackle Jack English. "It takes a little time but I think its something we all recognize we need to accelerate as a group if we want this team to go where we we think it should and where we want it to be."
Virginia now get set to host Connecticut. The 'Hoos lost to the Huskies last year in Storrs, CT 13-10, missing a potential game-tieing 20-yard field goal as time expired.
"I think we're a significantly better team and I think we've already shown that after two games," says Mendenhall. "I'm not asking anyone else to see that, but I see it."
Benkert says, "I think this is a really big game for us. I think winning this game would be huge for our season and getting back on the right track. We still have a bad taste in our mouths from last year about it. I think we're so much further along right now as far as scheme goes and concepts and awareness, we're excited to get out there."
English says, "This is a different team this year and I feel like this is a chance for our team to bounce back after a tough one on Saturday and like you said be a measuring stick for the improvement of the program."
Virginia has a record of 1-1. UConn is 1-0 coached by Randy Edsall, who returned to UConn after spending time as the head coach at Maryland.
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Marty Hudtloff is the Sports Director at WVIR-TV. He joined the NBC29 sports team in October of 2003. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Bradley University. You can reach out to Marty via Email or Twitter.