Perkins downplays latest injury to right knee

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Bryce Perkins wasn't even fully seated at the podium on Monday when the Virginia quarterback started fielding questions about the latest injury to his right knee.

"Definitely thought I was going to feel worse the day after," Perkins told reporters at UVA's weekly press conference. "There was no swelling, so I feel all right."

Perkins missed two snaps early in the Cavaliers' 28-21 loss at Louisville on Saturday after taking a hit that re-injured his right knee. That knee has been hindering Perkins since originally getting hurt in preseason camp. He also missed a few snaps in last month's win against Old Dominion after taking a big hit.

UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall admitted on Monday that the latest injury -- and the concern about not getting Perkins further injured -- impacted the Cavaliers' game plan offensively at Louisville. With Perkins limited in the run game, it became more difficult for the offense to get going with plays built off the threat of the quarterback carrying the ball.

Perkins finished the game 24-of-41 for 233 yards, with a touchdown and a costly interception late in the first half. He ran the ball 13 times for 22 yards. On Monday, Mendenhall said he can believes Perkins has been impacted both throwing and running by concerns about his knee.

"I would say a little more anxious in the pocket. A little less confident in the pocket," Mendenhall said. "And trying to stay out of harm's way at a little bit higher level than what Bryce would be under normal circumstances."

Perkins came into his senior season as a potential ACC Offensive Player of the Year contender. But through eight games, most of his numbers are down from last fall, his first as the Cavaliers' starting quarterback.

In 2018, Perkins completed 64.5 percent of his passes and averaged 206.2 yards per game, with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His per-game average is up to 225.4 yards this season -- but with eight interceptions and just nine touchdowns, while completing 62.7 percent of his passes.

On the ground, Perkins is rushing for less than half the yards per game he put up last season, from 71.0 in 2018 to 34.4 this year. His yards-per-carry average is down from 4.4 to 2.3. After breaking the 100-yard mark on the ground in four games last year, Perkins' season high this season is 68 yards.

"I know I can play way better, and I'm sure everybody knows that as a collective group we can play better," Perkins said on Monday. "I've got to do a better job of just being smarter about not trying to always be Superman, and make the Superman plays and make the first down at all times. Just try to do a better job of being smarter."

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