Virginia faces its toughest start to the season in more than decade, as the Cavs open with games against BYU and then Oregon. So you see why it is never too early to get a jump on preparations.
Coach Mike London said in a call with reporters Monday that he used the final week of spring practice to begin getting his players used to what they could see out of the Cougars and Ducks. BYU has a new offensive coordinator in Robert Anae, who stressed picking up the tempo this spring. Oregon has been the poster child for fast tempo, something that will not change with Chip Kelly off to the NFL.
"What we tried to do is get some defenses or offenses on tape, a pre-scouting report of what we’ve seen ourselves, of what we’ve heard," London said. "BYU played their spring game and it was televised, and as they I’m sure are going to try to get a copy of our game, we’re going to try to get a copy of theirs and see what we practiced for or anticipated. You try to do those things to give you a pre-practice scouting report.
"The only thing you can’t replicate, like with the Oregon offense that runs 80 something plays a game, is the physical aspect of it. That’s why the next four months and what these guys do from a conditioning standpoint is going to be critical for us early in the season."
Virginia has not opened up with back-to-back nonconference opponents from FBS conferences since 2006, when the Hoos played Pittsburgh and Wyoming. But the start to the season is more difficult than any since 2002, when Virginia opened against Colorado State, No. 5 Florida State and No. 22 South Carolina.
London and the administration have made it a point to upgrade the schedule. For each of the past four seasons, Virginia has opened against an FCS opponent, allowing the Hoos to ease into their slate. That will not happen this year. Given how critical this season is for London and his program, they will take all of the extra preparation time they can get.