After taking Virginia down to the final game for the ACC Coastal Division title during his second year in 2011, Cavaliers Coach Mike London saw his squad rapidly regress last season from 5-3 to 2-6 in conference play. This trip from second-place to the bottom of his division in relatively weak conference caused some soul-searching for the UVa football program, leading to a massive overhaul of London’s staff and reportedly raised level of intensity in spring practice.
The 4-8 debacle in 2012 saw four football coaches fired and an infusion of new staff that includes ex-North Carolina State head coach Tom O’Brien at offensive coordinator, Jon Tenuta at defensive coordinator and Larry Lewis as special teams coordinator and running backs coach. Tenuta is among the Cavalier coaches bringing an increased sense of intensity and urgency to spring practice.
“It’s intense, because that same attitude has to translate onto the field,” UVa linebacker Henry Coley said, via The Washington Post. “If he’s intense, we’re intense and we’re living through him. I always felt that’s how football needed to be.”
The Post didn’t detail of any balls being chucked at heads or boorishly offensive slurs, but did note that the curse jar requiring $1 for curse fines (donated to charity) has been done away for this offseason. Time will tell if these measures produce a squad more ready for opening day, though it’s likely to pale in comparison to recruiting and developing players into a cohesive unit better than perennial Coastal Division winners Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
Who knows if this intensity storyline or other offseason endeavors will pay dividends, but the on-field results will show conclusively. As the The Key Play sums up one of UVa’s ideas from last year, “Frank Beamer doesn’t put his face on shirts for recruits. He just beats UVA 38-0.”