UVA's Mike London: Team Showed Grit, Determination

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-- UVA Head Coach Mike London discusses Virginia's 42-34 win over Duke on Saturday.

Virginia head coach Mike London was very proud of his team's grit and resiliency on Saturday, after holding on to beat Duke 42-34. He talked about the win and more int he video above. 


Opening statement:
“First of all, very happy for this football team. Again, Cardiac Cavs, I don’t know what you want to call us. It’s just one of those things where the guys just hung in there again and played a tough game. We played a good team. The game went back and forth. It’s just one of those games where there were big plays, explosive plays, long passes. Things occurred during the course of the game where you could turn and felt the pressure of another close game but the guys have been in close games, as you guys know. We executed and did what we needed to do to win a good football game against a good football team. I’m happy for the players. They were tough and resilient and that is something that we’ve been talking about all year. Now we have an opportunity to win another game, the last game against a very good football team who’s looking for their own opportunities as well. It’s an in-state opponent and all the things that go with that. We’ll enjoy this today, tonight, but go to work tomorrow on the things we need to take care of. My hat goes off to coach [David] Cutcliffe. That’s a good football team in that locker room in there. They played another tough, close, gritty game. We’re ready to move on from there and get better.”

 On the unsportsmanlike penalty called against Virginia sideline on last drive:
“A series of things. I thought the ball was tipped. It was pass interference that was called. When the ball is tipped like that, then there is no pass interference. But obviously, replay didn’t have a good shot at the tipped pass and so we argued the call, and it resulted in a penalty on the sideline. So we take responsibility for that and how we handle ourselves. Even though calls may be controversial or difficult to accept, we have to do a better job of managing ourselves, the coaching staff and the sideline.”

On gathering the team to the center of the field after the game:
“You know, it’s tough to win college football games and this season has been, with some of the games that we’ve lost by a touchdown or less, it’s been one of those things that you go through. But I was proud, at the end, of the effort, proud of the game, proud of the way our guys responded. We got out on them early. That’s a good football team and they did some things to come back, and we had a chance to continue our lead. Scoring 42 points, scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter on drives, touchdowns not field goals. Freshmen, Olamide [Zaccheaus], Juan Thornhill, David Eldridge guys having good games and stepping up for some of these seniors. It’s good to see the maturation process when you’re playing a tough game and to come out on top of that. Those are some of the things you talk about, resiliency, grit, and determination. These guys showed it today and we need that to continue on and we’ll have another opportunity next week.”

On Matt Johns’s development:
“It was very important for Matt to continue his growth. The maturation process of a quarterback is only developed when you’re playing, when you’re in the fire. There were some things, you don’t want the turnovers or some decisions that he might have made. When you’re a guy that touches the ball 100 percent of the time, I thought Matt did a good job again of just moving the football team, making some throws that were right on the money, decisions that might get us out of plays because they’re showing us a certain defensive look and he has to continue to keep playing better. He is a guy that our players follow. He’s a leader. He’s gotten better the last few games here. We’re going to need him to play his best football next week, for sure.”

On offensive troubles in the fourth quarter:
“They did a good job defensing us. They did a good job of stopping some things that were working earlier. We have to make sure we find ways to continue moving the ball. But that’s a good football team and they came up with a way to play the running lanes and we didn’t execute the way we needed to. In the end, we made the first downs, we made the catches that we needed to win this football game. I think we were 50 percent on third downs. Matt had a career day passing. Yardage wise, there were some things running the ball that we did well. A lot of guys were involved in this production in this offensive day. We won the football game. That’s the major thing. Obviously we look at things that we need to take care of watching film in the morning. But again, I’m proud of the effort.”

On Olamide Zaccheaus:
“He’s a good football player. He’s a guy that has a lot of skill. The skill set for him is that you can put him out as a receiver like we did. You can have him as a running back, punt return, kickoff return, he does a lot of things. He can catch the ball out in space. He’s such an added bonus to our offense. He’s a great young man even more than that. We’ll continue to try and find things that he can do to touch the ball because he was very productive today.”

On the offensive game plan:
“I told Steve [Fairchild] just to call it and let’s go. There’s no holds barred on this. We’ve had those plays in the arsenal for a while, and sometimes you just have to call them. The guys executed a lot of the plays we practice over the course of the season. They did a good job in practice and we said ‘Let’s go. Let’s do it. Let’s play to try and win a football game.’ We executed well those first few possessions that we had. We did some good things as the game went on. But again, I’m happy for the team.”

On importance getting a win before the Virginia Tech game:
“It’s always important to have a measured amount of success. This was a win. Offensively we did some good things. It’s always important to have the mindset going into your last game with a positive mindset. Having played a lot of football games, we’re getting ready to play a team that’s a really good football team. It’s important that we end it on a positive note. We talk about the positives and we’ll talk about the things that we need to get corrected, and we’ll move forward. This is an important game for us and the last for a lot of seniors.”

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