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UVA Football holds first practice of the fall

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team was on the practice field for the first time on Friday morning.

The first thirty minutes of the practice were open to the media.

After warm-ups, UVA focused on Special Teams.

This practice was much different from last year’s COVID-controlled sessions.

On the first day, the Cavaliers say they were enjoying the simple things.

Like breathing.

Senior center Olusegun Oluwatimi says, “Not masking, and not having a full visor on helps with breathing and overheating, so we’re able to get more work in.”

“It’s been a while since we were able to just breathe and relax, and just know that we’re safe, within these precautions that we do have,” says senior running back Wayne Taulapapa.

“It’s nice to talk without a mask on,” adds head coach Bronco Mendenhall. “It’s nice to get a team prepared without the COVID protocols being front and center, and the very first thing I consider, every day.”

The Cavaliers have a lot of experience coming back this season, including eight Super Seniors, who are using the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA, and they say they’re looking to take care of unfinished business.

Senior linebacker Noah Taylor says, “Seeing guys that want to come back, strictly because of how last season ended, that motivates me, saying like, they’re doing this, I have to do this for them.”

“In this life, there’s nothing you’re going to be great at without the reps,” says Oluwatimi. “All those reps we accumulated over four years, five years, and for some people, going into their sixth year, it just helps.”

Mendenhall adds, “From what I saw today, the experience is allowing us to start in a different practice model than we normally do, and so far, so good.”

Virginia is scheduled to kickoff the season at home against William & Mary on September 4th.

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