Bursting the Bubble: Cavaliers preparing for return of students to Grounds

The UVA Athletic Program hasn't had a student-athlete test positive for COVID-19 since July 24th, but when the students return to Grounds, staying in 'The Bubble' won't be possible.

Bursting the Bubble: Cavaliers preparing for return of students to Grounds
Richard Burney breaks 'The Rock' - courtesy: UVA Athletics (Source: UVA Athletics)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The start of the college football season is less than a month away, and teams teams are preparing for more than just the challenges they’ll face on the field.

Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley says he lost an entire position group at practice, after a quick outburst of the coronavirus.

Miami University of Ohio has quarantined its entire athletic department (athletes, coaches, and staff), after 27 positive COVID-19 tests were reported following an off-campus party.

The Virginia Athletic Department has only seen four positive tests, and none since July 24th.

The Cavaliers football team has been staying in its bubble.

The Wahoos are currently all living in one dorm, and practices are closed.

But their situation will change next week, when the students return to Grounds, and classes begin.

“That is what I am losing sleep over, right now,” says head coach Bronco Mendenhall. “We’ve had zero cases attributed to Charlottesville.  The only cases we had were when players brought it back with them, when they arrived.  It’s been remarkable, the discipline our team has used.  Not only our team, but the entire athletic department.  Our numbers are staggeringly positive.  But that is only Chapter One.”

“It’s kind of been like a fairy tale, surreal thing we’ve been living in for the last couple months here at UVA, with our bubble,” says senior safety Joey Blount. “The bubble has been very successful.  It’s allowed us to play football, and allowed us to get better, but when reality strikes, there are going to have to be sacrifices that are going to have to be made, to play.”

Senior linebacker Charles Snowden says, “Once the students come back, the reality of it is, we’re still college kids that have been in quarantine for months on end.  When the students get back, there will be that increased temptation to burst the bubble, and it will be tougher, but just kind of hunkering down.  ‘Hard Things Together.’  It will be hard for all of us, but I think we got to give it a shot, and I believe in us.”

The Associated Press released its Preseason All-America teams on Tuesday.

There are Ten players from the ACC.

Clemson and Miami each had two.

Virginia did not have anyone picked.

Virginia Tech junior Caleb Farley earned Second-Team honors at cornerback, though he has Opted Out this season to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Farley led the ACC in passes defended with 16 last season, and was tied for second in the league with four interceptions.

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