Cavaliers confident as camp winds down

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- One of Bronco Mendenhall's principles is "you never know until you play." But with the Wahoos' season opener at Pitt just 10 days from Wednesday, Virginia's head coach likes the direction his team is trending in preseason camp.

"I like the experience. I like the mindset. I liked our practice today. I like the direction. And I'm optimistic," Mendenhall said after practice Tuesday night. "So I think we're on track for an opening game, this many days out."

The Wahoos began Tuesday evening's practice at Lambeth Field, but they were forced by the threat of lightning to head back to the George Welsh Indoor Facility after about 30 minutes of work. According to outside linebacker Charles Snowden, the sudden change in location didn't affect the work the Wahoos put in.

"Like Coach Pop (co-defensive coordinator Kelly Poppinga) said today, today was our best fall camp practice. That's what you like to here as we keep progressing," Snowden said. "And so I think we've seen flashes throughout camp of the potential the offense and the defense can have. Now it's just starting to bring the consistency part of it."

"We're trusting the process the coaches are giving us. I think we're right on schedule," said wide receiver Terrell Jana. "Still every practice we're going out there trying to get better, trying to work every day and hopefully come game time we'll be ready."

The Cavaliers' August 30 visit to Heinz Field will be the program's biggest season opener in Mendenhall's four seasons. It's a division game, pitting last year's Coastal champion against the preseason pick to win the division this fall. It's Mendenhall's first opener at UVA against an FBS opponent, and the head coach is 0-3 against the Panthers in his tenure in Charlottesville.

"We have returning players and a returning quarterback," Mendenhall said. "That doesn't guarantee success. But if there were to be an ACC opponent on the road as an opener, I'm glad it's year four rather than three, two or one."

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