AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- Nothing ratchets up expectations like winning.
So it goes that much more is expected out of Virginia coming off a surprising 8-5 season and appearance in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Coaches always say it is more difficult maintaining success than rebuilding from the bottom up, so this upcoming season will be a huge test for coach Mike London.
"Expectations are always at a point where you want to do well," London said at the ACC spring meetings. "I always make note that we won four games literally on the last play of the game last year. Look at whatever the record was, it could be four games less, two games less, but you want to attract very good student-athletes, guys that value an education. Virginia is the best of both world opportunities. The school’s academic reputation as well as what’s going on athletically, a chance to win, a chance to play, makes Virginia an attractive choice."
London may not have to find extra ways to motivate his team going into the fall. The Cavaliers are going to have enough to worry about with replacing seven starters on defense, as well as their punter, kicker, kickoff specialist and leading receiver. Michael Rocco returns at quarterback, but there may be a competition with Alabama transfer Phillip Sims, depending on his eligibility status.
"We just keep talking about getting better as a team and the experience we had going to a bowl game and those opportunities that were afforded to us," London said. "That work was forged long before the season started. It was last spring, the summer workouts. So we’re hungry. Never satisfied. You’re one game from playing for the conference championship and you can’t sit back on what you did before. Now we have to do everything again, do it over and do it better. The mind-set of the players, particularly a lot of the young ones who played, that’s what they want to do."