FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (WWBT) - In 2016, Bronco Mendenhall arrived in Charlottesville with a plan, and knowing that UVA football’s road to national prominence would not come without some bumps.
“I think it means that you’ve arrived at a different stage in college football, an elite and exceptional tier," said UVA Head Coach, Bronco Mendenhall in a news conference before Monday night’s game.
Bronco Mendenhall knows this isn’t just any postseason bowl game. In just four years, he’s taken UVA from a two-win team to under some of the brightest lights in college football.
“The steps have been made methodically to get to this stage, we’re learning, we’re growing, we’re developing but we are also comparing and contrasting and learning with each of those games, what parts of our program still need attention," said Mendenhall.
A big one of those learning experiences— last time-out. Clemson rolling past the Cavaliers in the ACC title game, an experience Mendenhall calls one of the valuable catalysts ever for UVA football.
“I don’t intend to put it behind us until we rectify any of the deficiencies that were exposed. I intend to use it to leverage the program and moving forward, every minute every second until we become better,” said Mendenhall.
The loss to Clemson was one of the many lessons, and Wahoo’s senior class has experienced all of them. This group is the head coach’s first group of recruits, and the strongest pillar of the product on the field today.
"They’re the pioneers of this era of UVA football. They were part of 2-10 and now they are apart of the Orange Bowl.
When asked what an Orange Bowl victory would mean, Mendenhall said he would let the numbers speak for themselves.
“The University of Virginia has one 10-win-season in 130 years of football..." Mendenhall said during a press conference.
A victory over Florida Monday night would give Virginia that 10th win, tying the 1989 team for the program record.
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