Mack leads 'Hoos with quiet intensity

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- As Jordan Mack took the podium on Monday morning, he got a few good-natured jabs from some of the reporters covering Virginia's season-opening news conference.

A short time earlier, Mack had been announced as one of the Wahoos' three captains this football season, along with quarterback Bryce Perkins and cornerback Bryce Hall. With UVA opening the season at Pitt on Saturday night, all three captains spoke to the media on Monday.

Monday's news conference marked the first time all summer that Mack took questions from the media. Even after being chosen as the player to 'break the rock' that symbolized the end of off-season workouts, the fourth-year inside linebacker did not make himself available to reporters.

"He doesn't say much to anyone. He doesn't need to," UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall said of Mack. "When you're the strongest player on our team, when you're one of the fastest players on our team, when you're the hardest worker on our team, and you have the capability to make the number of plays, yeah. He doesn't need to say much."

Mack has always preferred to let his play speak for him during his UVA career. Mack's 220 career tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 7 1/2 sacks are all most among current players on the Cavaliers' roster. He's third among current UVA players with 31 career starts. Despite missing four games last year with a shoulder injury, Mack finished second on the defense with 66 tackles, and third on the team with six tackles for loss.

Mendenhall says his research has shown that the best captains in sports around the world rarely crave speaking to the media, but instead choose to focus on what needs to be done behind the scenes and "then playing with this fierce intensity."

Mack says that will remain his approach, despite the added responsibility that comes with being named a captain.

"Same guy. Never change. Be yourself. And that's part about being a captain is just be yourself," Mack said. "Whatever the team needs me to do, that's what I'm going to do. Whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I'm going to do."

"A man of few words, and he's just literally straight work," Hall said of Mack, his classmate in UVA's 2016 recruiting class. "When you hear pads popping and people's chinstraps falling off, you usually think Jordan Mack is somewhere near. Because that's the kind of mindset he has and the intensity he plays with."

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