Aug. 29, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — After UVa’s final dress rehearsal at Scott Stadium, Mike London gathered his team around him Saturday evening.
“Seven days from now they keep score,” London told the players. “So all this other stuff, you chalk it up to a learning experience. Everything you do now, it’s for real, for keeps. The season starts here.”
There were no fans in the stands this weekend as the Wahoos practiced their pre-game routine and worked on various situations. That won’t be the case this coming Saturday, when UVa opens the season at 6 p.m. against the University of Richmond at Scott Stadium.
“It does bring it into perspective,” London said before practice Sunday, “that all the stuff that’s gone on in December, spring practice, recruiting, early camp, leads up to this. Here we go. Game week. Right here.”
London’s ties to UR have been exhaustively chronicled. He is a UR graduate. He played at his alma mater and later had two stints as an assistant there. Most recently, he spent two seasons as the Spiders’ head coach, compiling a 24-5 record in 2008 and ’09.
Richmond won the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision national title in London’s first season and advanced to the FCS quarterfinals in his second.
London still knows most of UR’s players, as well as countless other people at the private school in Richmond’s West End. He hasn’t heard much from the UR side about the season-opener, though, and doesn’t expect to.
“Not really,” London said Sunday. “I’ve been on the other side of getting ready for a game like this also. There’s no need for trash-talking, going back and forth. I know they’re excited about playing this game, their first game, under a new coach, as I’m excited about playing and coaching with this team, with a new team, playing my alma mater.”
* The Wahoos came out of training camp in relatively good health, but several players have “little nagging injuries and things like that,” London said.
“We’re taking everything day by day with some of these guys,” he said. “Tuesday starts our preparation week, so we’ll be able to see what’s going on.”
* It’s been a hot summer in Charlottesville, and temperatures are expected to reach the 90s this coming week, with cooler weather predicted for Saturday.
Knowing how many hours his players put in this summer with the team’s strength-and-conditioning coach, London is confident they won’t wilt in hot weather this fall.
“The investment was made during the early part of the summer, when Brandon Hourigan had them out here and they were training in that heat,” London said. “I think working out over the summer and having Brandon getting them out here, running, when it was middle-of-the-day hot, will benefit us.”