CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - For the first time this year, it’s ‘Game Week’ for the Virginia football team.
The Cavaliers will host Duke this Saturday at Scott Stadium.
It’s Week Three of the college football season, and UVA is still looking to play its first game.
The Blue Devils are the fifth-different opponent the 'Hoos have scheduled for their season opener.
The first four were canceled or postponed.
Senior wide receiver Terrell Jana says, “I was always getting ready to get into ‘Game Mode,’ but the closest we got was seven days away with Tech. That was the closest we got to a game.”
Head coach Bronco Mendenhal says, “The simplest narrative is probably, ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf.’ The players realize now that we’ve made it to a Monday of Game Week, that this one is real.”
“It’s obviously not been anything like years past," adds senior linebacker Charles Snowden. "The way I’m looking at it is, it’s Monday, and it’s Game Week. I’m trying to keep that as normal and simple as possible. I’m really excited to finally get out there and play a game, and not just practice.”
Virginia has been practicing for 12 weeks.
Mendenhall says as of Monday, the team has had Zero positive tests for COVID-19.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment by them," says Mendenhall. "I’m looking forward to helping them play football in a real game.”
Snowden adds, “I’m really proud of my guys for following those protocols. I don’t know if we get a ribbon, necessarily, but we get to play football, and I think that’s a great reward, in itself.”
The experience will be different, with no fans at Scott Stadium, just the family of players and coaches.
Snowden says, “I can imagine how different it is, and how unfortunate it is, to not have that same energy you would get from playing in front of fans.”
“I grew up playing football in Canada, so I’m used to having no fans at my games," Jana said, with a laugh. "So for me, it’s going to be kind of normal, and we practice a lot at Scott, when it’s empty.”
Mendenhall says he expects opening-game mistakes, but he want to make sure his team has fun.
“I hope we play well, we play clean, we play effectively, but I really would like to see our players enjoy playing football," says Mendenhall. " It’s been a long time.”
UVA will kickoff against Duke at four o’clock on Saturday at Scott Stadium.