Wahoos treat preseason hype as 'interference'

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- As Virginia opened fall camp, the first thing Coach Bronco Mendenhall addressed with the team was the preseason expectations surrounding the team heading into the season.

"We're just creating any expectations in terms of projections as basically interference," Mendenhall said to the media after practice, "It just gets in the way of what we're really trying to do."

For the first time in program history, the Cavaliers were picked to win the ACC Coastal division in the preseason media poll. Mendenhall said while the preseason hype shows how far the program has come, a preseason accolade means nothing in the end.

"Preseason are things that are given, not earned," Mendenhall said, "The past few years we worked hard to be considered and to be relevant. All that does is set the stage for the season."

While the media expectations were the first thing Bronco addressed, he believes players know there is too much work to do to get caught up.

"Expectations just kinda come from media with all that Coastal stuff," senior defensive tackle Eli Hanback said, "We haven't earned that yet, but expectations from ourselves, you know, we're holding ourselves to a higher standard this year.

The Wahoos are coming off a season where they finished 8-5 overall, 4-4 in the ACC and winning their first postseason bowl game since 2005. While the team carried the #NewStandard motto the past couple seasons in pursuit of a Coastal title, winning the division is now an expectation.

"That's all media, I feel like as a team we don't feel we've earned anything yet," junior safety Joey Blount, "We're still chasing a goal. Two years ago our motto was new standard, but that's our standard now. So now we're just focused on believing and believing in each other."

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