Virginia football is 1-4 on the year, but the team has not reached panic mode. According to UVA defensive end Trent Corney, the 'Hoos are not letting losses affect them like previous seasons.
“[After the loss to Pitt] obviously no one was excited about losing,” Corney said, “but I felt like no one felt any panic toward the season. I remember years in the past, when we lost a few games in a row, guys in the locker room were extremely shellshocked, rattled, emotional.
“I never saw any guys after the game with a depressed look on their faces. I felt like guys were still positive after the game, even though we lost. As positive as you could possibly be after a game like that. So I still feel really good about the season.”
This is Corney's first season starting for the Cavaliers. The senior has 14 tackles in four games and 1.5 tackles for a loss.
"I feel like I have improved,” Corney said. “Games are a totally different speed, totally different level."
Although Corney, an Ontario, Canada native, has seen improvement in his game since his days as a freshman, he only wishes he could have an extra year.
“Even as a freshman, I knew that if I wanted to make a dent on the college football scene, that I would need two years [of playing experience],” Corney stated. “I thought maybe my junior year I would get some experience, so that going into my senior year I wouldn’t be seeing a ton of new stuff. If I had another year, I believe I would definitely be better that year.
“I feel almost like a freshman out there,” Corney added. “I played some special teams the last three years, but everything is so new to me out on the field that you can’t translate practice to games. I feel like I need to play more games. You’ve got to be able to see things quick and react, and I’m not seeing things fast enough to react and make some of these big-time plays. I need more experience and I need to watch more film."
Corney has been "close" to recording his first sack or recovering his first fumble, and he is first to admit that he needs more time to develop.
“If I was a great player, I would make them,” Corney said. “I feel like[former defensive end] Eli [Harold] would make those plays. It’s not a physical thing. It’s more of a mental thing, experience, and being able to react thing. If I want to give the defense a better chance of succeeding, I need to make these two or three plays in order for our defense to be the best that it can be.
“No matter how athletic, fast, or strong you are, football is about seeing things and recognizing and making plays off of that,” Corney said. "When I’m out there and not thinking at all and just using my speed and being athletic and not being tentative, that’s when I’ll know that I’m finally a good football player.”
Corney will hope to start recognizing plays faster on Saturday against Syracuse, where the 'Hoos will face another true freshman quarterback, in Cuse's Eric Dungey.
"He seems quick," he said. "He seems like a guy who's trying to make a big play. So hopefully because of that mindsethe has, we can maybe get a couple of turnovers off him."