UVA Football Practices in Front of Cameras for Final Time before Season Opener
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The UVa football team had its final practice that was open to the media on Tuesday night.
The practice started at historic Lambeth Field, then moved inside when thunder and lightning began.
Virginia's season opener against Pittsburgh is just 11 days away, and the question is... are the 'Hoos ready?
"I share a principle with our team, you never know until you play," says coach Bronco Mendenhall. "We scrimmage a lot. That always tells us something we didn't know prior to the scrimmage and that will be the same case for the game. However, I like the experience, I like the mindset, I liked our practice today. I liked the direction and I'm optimistic about the direction. I think we're on track for an opening game this many days out."
This was the first time this August we've seen players wearing numbers. The 'Hoos recently had their annual draft for jersey numbers.
Reed Kellam, a senior linebacker, began his career as a walk-on and now plays regularly on special teams, earned the top pick and chose #45.
"It's such a huge honor, getting the first jersey pick," says Kellam. "I think it's the biggest honor anyone can receive in this program. It's really peer driven, teammates selecting it so it really meant a lot to me. I've just always been a hard-working guy , not a big talker and really believe in actions over words."
Mendenhall adds, "The players and the strength coaches have a nickname for Reed. They call him one speed Reed. He is always just trying as hard as he can try."
Some players are switching jersey numbers, including receiver Terrell Jana. The former Woodberry Forest standout says he's starting a new era, switching from #84 to #13.
"I want to contribute more, I want to be a better leader," says Jana. "Every day just go out there and lead by going out there and getting better and working my butt off. I just want to show my teammates that I'll do anything for them that I can contribute, that I'm going to be one of the hardest workers on the field and every day just trying to get better."