Virginia Cavaliers 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
2015 Record 4-8
Virginia Cavaliers 2016 Preview
The Virginia Cavaliers look to Bronco Mendenhall to turn their fortunes around in 2016.
Overview: Bronco Mendenhall left a very successful Brigham Young program for Virginia who went 4-8 and lost five, one possession games. Does Mendenhall have the horses for a quick turnaround or will the fans need to keep waiting?
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Offense: Offensive coordinator Robert Anae came with Mendenhall from BYU and will try to get quarterback Matt Johns to produce like he did in 2015 (2,810 yards/61.3%) but without the mistakes with an ugly 20/17, TD/INT ratio. Taquan Mizzell led the Cavaliers with 719 receiving yards on 75 catches while Andre Levrone, Doni Dowling and a few others appeared to impress in the spring to give Johns a few targets. Mizzell also led the Cavs with 664 rushing yards while Daniel Hamm and Albert Reid combined for another 600 yards and will ply their wares behind an O-Line that returns seven players with starting experience.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Nick Howell also comes over from the Cougars and will implement the 3-4 alignment. Virginia lost their top three lineman that combined for 23 TFL and will look to incumbent ends Mark Hall and Andrew Brown to step up with Donte Wilkins filling the void at tackle. UVA returns five of their top six linebackers with Micah Kiser bringing back 13 TFL and 7.5 sacks while Zach Bradshaw is the next best option with 3.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks in 2015. The Cavs secondary is safety heavy led by Quin Blanding with 91.5 stops a year ago followed by Kelvin Rainey with three TFL while corners Tim Harris and Darious Latimore totaled 12 passes defensed.
Special Teams: UVA gets back the big leg of punter Nicholas Conte with Dylan Sims handling the placekicking. Olamide Zaccheaus and Juan Thornhill look to boost the Virginia return game which was not a strength in 2015.
Outlook: Virginia has a shot at starting the season strong and if they do, an upset or two could get them to Bowl eligibility although that could be asking a bit much from Mendenhall in his first year.
9/10 @ Oregon
9/17 @ Connecticut
9/24 Central Michigan
10/1 @ Duke
10/22 North Carolina
11/5 @ Wake Forest
11/12 Miami (FL)
11/19 @ Georgia Tech
11/26 @ Virginia Tech