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Oct. 21, 2017

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Virginia vs. Boston College
Oct. 21, 2017

UVA Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall

Opening statement:
“First of all congratulations to Boston College. They were very well prepared, they executed very well, they had an exceptional plan versus us at all phases, and I think were the better coached, and the better prepared, and the better executing football team today. (It’s) my job and I’m responsible for how our players play. And so our players, they do the best they can and clearly then they weren’t prepared in a manner to have the kind of chance they needed to play at a higher level. So I’m anxious to learn from this as much as possible. There’s lots and lots to learn, and expose all kinds of new things for us to work on, and with that hopefully comes growth and progress as hard as it is to handle. So yeah, I’ll take questions.”

On Boston College Quarterback Anthony Brown:
“Well I think the plan they had was really good. Their was no way that they were going to allow sacks, so the ball was coming out very quickly with man to man type of beating routes and he was delivering the ball on time to well executed routes and consistently. And then on play action where he is athletic enough, he bought enough time for routes to develop, a first route, a second route, or even a third route sometimes and that combination between those two things really gave us problems. And right from the beginning and very surprisingly because we believe on of our strengths is playing really good pass defense and play really well on third down and so the had a very good plan, they executed it really well, and to their credit.”

On the development of the program:
“I’m not sure we lost sight of it, but again, I’ve talked a lot about managing interference and I’ve tried to express week in and week out, at least up to this point, we’re just at the very beginning of this program and what I want it to be and I think we all want to skip ahead a number of chapters to see how the story ends. It’s word by word and letter by letter and page by page and that was driven home today again of where we currently are, where we can be if we’re not really well prepared and really precise and compete at an elite level and if you have an injury or two along the way. That shows again the impact that some of those things can have.”

On Boston College third down conversions:
“I think their plan. Offensively I think it was the best plan that we have defended to this point and so I give their coaches credit and they players credit for executing it really well. Again, the thought was this was going to be a really physical game and a really run-oriented game, really if you look at their yardage of points, a lot of it was around us and over us rather than through and so the game took on really a different context than what I had anticipated and our adjustments weren’t effective in terms of counter measures. Conversely, I think when our defense plays well there’s kind of an energy of our team and I think it effected our entire team, including our offense, that there was some surprise there, that they were able to hold onto the ball, convert third downs and move it.”

On defensive tackling:
“The only tackling that I recognized that I found fault with are run fits especially on the perimeter. We had a misfit a number of times on the perimeter and then I think the only other time it was really exposed is quarterback scramble. That allowed a number of third downs to convert. In terms of tackling the running backs, there was a third down early on one, two, or three guys on the far sideline had a shot. But I didn’t see it being much different than what it has been other than the execution was allowing the angles to be off and plays we normally make we didn’t make and we didn’t make it repeatedly. A lot of that has to do with preparation and as the team starts to move forward and as this resiliency piece starts to build in, which we have shown a lot of resiliency, when you get to about this point, almost every player on the team now is having to battle something to get healthy enough to play and practice long enough and get enough repetition to be able to play. That’s something else we are going to have to manage really effectively.”

Virginia Player Quotes

Sophomore Inside Linebacker Jordan Mack

On BC’s fast start:
“They had a fast start. I give credit to them. We came out slow and they took advantage of it. We have to learn how to bounce back.”

On expectations leading up to the game for defense:
“Of course I expected things to go better, but in all aspects of the game we have to be better. We have to play our assignments better and take care of the small things.”

On anything BC did that they weren’t expecting:
“They didn’t really do anything they didn’t expect, we just didn’t play our assignment football like we were supposed to. We just have to watch the film and come back and be better.”

Senior Free Safety Quin Blanding:

On the impact of Boston College’s big plays:
“I think those three big plays at the beginning changed the momentum of the game. It shouldn’t have happened, but things happen in this game and that’s what it was.”

On struggling with the third down:
“It wasn’t anything they were doing. They kept running the same stuff they normally run, it was just us. We have to execute and that’s what we are going to go back to the drawing board and do.”

On this game as a gut check:
“This is all about your heart and where you stand. This is the midway point of our season and this is what will determine how we finish. This is a gut check, and I told the team it’s a hard check for all of us. If you messed up, you messed up. We have to watch the film, fix it, and get back and ready for next week.”

Junior Tailback Jordan Ellis:

On the line of scrimmage:
“They had a pretty good defense but we were able to run the ball a little bit. Our offense wasn’t consistent today and we struggled on third downs and got into a lot of third and longs. I thought after the drive before the half, that would lead to success in the second half, but obviously that didn’t happen and we have to bounce back. That was only one game, and we have to get ready for Pitt next week.”

On offensive hesitancy:
“I think the whole team was hesitant. We got down early and we had some chances to get back in the game and we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were given to us today.”

On how much the defense hurting affects the offense:
“You definitely can’t run the ball as much when you’re down by a few touchdowns. They had eight or nine guys in the box, so we had to spread them out and throw the ball more. We try to the best of our ability to throw the ball and today that just wasn’t very consistent. We have to get back to what we were doing before this game.”

On bowl eligibility causing the team to get ahead of themselves:
“The one thing about football is that this game will really humble you. I think we thought we were better because we were 5-1, so this definitely humbles us and brings us back down a little bit. This gives us a chance to correct the mistakes that we have and go into next week with a chip on our shoulders because we got kind of embarrassed today at home.”

Senior Linebacker Micah Kiser

On Boston College’s big plays early in the game:
“Yeah, they had three big ones. We didn’t execute well on third down, and that was the story of the game.”

On Boston College’s success on third-down:
“We were playing man-to-man, so they had quick stuff. On the screen, we had a perfect call, we just didn’t execute well. That’s all it is, just executing on third-down. We had them right where we wanted them. We normally make those plays. Today we didn’t.”

On bouncing back next week against Pitt:
“Another ACC game. We’ve got five opportunities left to get to that number six, that sixth win. We’re taking it day-by-day. You win some and you lose some, and we lost this one, but we’ll come back.”

Senior Quarterback Kurt Benkert:

On if Boston College’s big plays made the offense press:
“Yeah, definitely. I think that kind of bit us a little bit. I threw a stupid pick trying to press, trying to make a play. I think those type of mistakes we can limit, and we just really have to take it one play at a time.”

On how defense has changed their schemes since the Boise State game:
“The past few weeks a lot more two-high safeties, just not letting us throw it down the field as much. When we have had those opportunities, we haven’t connected. I think moving forward we have to do a really good job of when we do get the chances down the field, we have to connect on them. Teams don’t give them to us that much.”

On the message to be taken from this game:
“I think it shows that we can’t just show up and expect to win. It’s not just going to happen for us. We have to go take it. These teams prepare just like we prepare. No game in the ACC is going to be easy. It really changes that mental approach going into the game that we have to go out and take it. It’s not going to be handed to us.”

Boston College Head Coach Steve Addazio

Opening Statement
“I want to start out by saying that I am really impressed by what Bronco Mendenhall is doing here at Virginia in year two. He is developing a really fine, really good football team over there – a physical, tough football team. I saw the foundation of that all week on film, and it is real. I have a real appreciation for what he is doing here at Virginia. He is a first-class guy and this is a first-class program. I am proud of our team. I am proud of our kids. They came out here today with a real mission and a real glue and a real love for each other. That is why I love this team – it is special. We are a resilient group of guys that believe in each other, and we are improving.

“We were able to today put up some pretty good numbers here. We were pretty good with the ball here on our first drives mixing it up pretty good – going for it on fourth down, throwing the ball well on fourth down, and doing the things we needed to do to keep them off pace. We rushed for 230-something yards. Threw for 270-something yards. Had over 500-something yards of offense. It was the first time in the ACC that BC scored over 40 points in back-to-back weeks. It was the first time that we have gone over 500 yards in the ACC since 2009 or 2006 or something like that. Some good things are starting to happen. We are still a young football team; we are still a developing football team but, as I said, good things are happening right now on both sides of the ball and special teams. Our defense was able to hold them below 100 yards rushing and in the low 200s in total offense. I thought it was a great team win. I give all the credit to our players. All three phases played really, really hard, and they have prepared well all week and all year.

“One thing that we thought was a big advantage for us was that we have been through the grinder – we have played some of the best football teams in the country this season, and we have done it while losing some of our very finest players. We have stuck together and kept believing in each other and that is what makes me so proud of these guys. We felt that the quality of people that we have played, at some point, would pay a dividend for us. That was not an illusion. That was real – three top-20 teams and all the other great teams that we have played this year. You could see some really great things. It did not always come together for us all at the right time, but you could see it, and I kept saying that. Well you can see that now. Is the growth period over? No. We are paper-thin. We have got to stay healthy. We have got some guys in key positions that are still learning. For the last two weeks, specifically this game, I thought we played at a really high level. I think you can clearly see the growth, see the potential and the brightness of the future of our football program, of which I am so proud and excited for our guys. That is not deniable. I think we have got the makings of a really good program here right now, and I think a lot of people got to witness that first hand [today].”

On the two long touchdown plays:
“They were huge plays. These are things that we do all the time – we run those jets. We probably should have run a few more jets today, to be honest with you because they were really pounding it in the middle on us a little bit. We hit a jailbreak slip screen to Kobay [White] on a critical third down when we knew they were going to bring some pressure on us. We have got to do a little bit more of that too. These are the things that we are trying to continue to develop as we go. We have got some speed and athleticism here and we have got to continue to grow that a little more.”

On their approach to contain Virginia Quarterback Kurt Benkert:
“We felt like he was a really fine player. He is a really good thrower, and we wanted to disrupt him. We tried to do that with a lot of four-man rushes. We brought a little bit more than a four-man rush every once in a while, but we wanted to do it that way. We still do not have Harold [Landry]. Harold played really limited snaps because he is not healthy yet. We are also playing a lot more coverage than we ever have played here at BC right now. We are learning how to play coverage. As a result, there were a lot more coverage pressures out there, if you will, where there was just nowhere to go with the ball. I thought we played really well on the back end.”

On the way the team has responded the last two weeks:
“I feel that there were a lot of good things brewing, and the team feels great because they watch the video. The video does not lie. All that does is just build their confidence and you are able to bear some fruit from the foundation that you lay. You have got to get some validation from your hard work at some point in time. By the nature of our schedule, we did not have an opportunity to do that earlier this season. We did not have those easy lead-in games like some teams have early on where you can really develop that momentum and confidence, but we got another kick from that in a different way because we got toughened up in that process. Hopefully we can continue to do that going forward. Keep in mind that we have a freshman at the center, quarterback, and tailback. There is still a process, but I am jacked up to be a part of it.”

Boston College Player Quotes

Redshirt-Freshman Quarterback Anthony Brown

On balanced offensive attack and big play threats:
“It was a lot of balance that was put into the game plan and we executed well. We executed well early and we just have to continue on that. It is great because it opens up the defense a little bit, and it is really good to have those components in the game.”

On scramble from the end zone on the first drive:
“I had to get out of the end zone. That was really that. I wasn’t thinking any more than that. Two guys almost had me for a safety. We’re just going to have to watch that on film. Coach Addazio emphasized that me scrambling when I need to gets the chains moving. When the play breaks down, I have to know what to do with the ball and today that was scrambling and sometimes getting rid of the ball. It was very effective.”

On responsibilities brought on by coaches’ confidence in their play:
“Our coaches do a great job of game-planning and everything to help us out. We had to take it upon ourselves to make a difference, and we have to play as hard and as physical to be as effective as possible. We took that into our own hands.”

Junior Safety Will Harris

On his second-quarter interception:
“That was a good one to check off the bucket list seeing as it was the first one of the season for me. I have been patient all season, so I was just trying to go head hunting for it. We were trying to just run to the ball all day. That is the one thing that our coaches always emphasize, just run to the ball. That is what I was doing. I ran to the ball and good things happened from there.”

On his third-quarter sack:
“That was exciting. It’s always fun, especially when a defensive back can get in on a sack because we’re not always around the pass rush or the quarterback like that. It was a fun opportunity for me and I’m glad I was able to capitalize like that on the play.”

On what it is like to win a big game:
“It is big. It speaks to the resilience that we have here. We talk all the time about just staying in the boat, and right now we have our building blocks that we are working on every single day. We try to get better at something every single day. This just goes to show that the guys that I play with and the guys that I love going to war with every single week kept that resiliency and it paid off today. I’m happy we got the result that we did.”

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