Coming off a loss to Ball State that coach Mike London called "embarrassing," the Cavaliers go on the road for just the second time this season this Saturday. They travel to Maryland Saturday. It is the last time the teams will face each other as ACC rivals. The Terrapins will depart for the Big Ten next season. Kickoff from Byrd Stadium is at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
NOTES FROM MONDAY'S NEWS CONFERENCE WITH COACH LONDON AND PLAYERS
-As you might expect a bulk of the talk surrounded the topic of getting over the loss to Ball State. Phrases like "we can't give up," "there's a lot of football left," "we have to stick together," "I believe in the team, in the process," were used quite often from both coach Mike London and the players.
-Seven players on offense and seven players on defense that are juniors or seniors are listed as starters. The team also relies on a lot of younger, inexperienced players. London has had three recruiting classes. A majority of those players are either true freshmen, redshirt freshmen, or sophomores. London said the changes in the coaching staff and as a result the changes in schemes has shifted the types of players UVa is trying to recruit. So overall that fact and the youth, in London's mind, is leading to the losses.
-Mike London hinted there would be continuing changes on the offensive line.
-Tim Smith has moved into the starting punt returner role. Based on what London said Smith will stay there until he feels another change needs to take place.
-London is not opposed to playing Maryland in the future even though they're leaving for the Big Ten Conference.
-London said Tim Harris will get more playing time at defensive back.
-Sophomore defensive end Eli Harold said "the whole day was frustrating" against Ball State.
-The source of UVa's defensive downfall began when Ball State scored a touchdown on its second drive. In 5 plays the Cardinals went 83 yards in 1:34. Even though the defense was coming off an impressive performance against Pittsburgh, many players were down on themselves. Harold said it was because of how quickly they moved the ball down the field. Ball State's first touchdown was not its last. They scored five more touchdowns and two field goals the rest of the way.
-True freshman Eric Smith made his first start on the offensive line. He is listed at 6-5, 280 pounds but he said on Monday he is now 6-5 1/2 and 295 pounds.
-Maryland's Stefon Diggs returned a kickoff 100 yards last year against UVa. He also caught four balls for 89 yards in Maryland's 27-20 win in Charlottesville. London said he's just as dynamic this year as he was last year. He also mentioned that UVa tried to recruit Diggs to UVa.
-Despite Maryland's 63-0 loss to Florida State, London said Maryland is still good.
-Eli Harold noted that senior DL Jake Snyder and redshirt sophomore QB David Watford are the two players that have tried to keep the team upbeat.
-Junior running back Khalek Shepard said that the team's mindset is to "fix it."
-Kevin Parks ran for 104 yards versus Ball State. Khalek Shepard ran for 7 and Taquan Mizzell ran for 14. Daniel Hamm, who had filled in with Shepard and Mizzell out with injuries, did not run the ball. With several tailbacks, Shepard said, "the running backs group is like a family. We're all humble."