Clemson may not have any film on the 2020 version of the Virginia Cavaliers just yet, but that has not stopped defensive coordinator Brent Venables from doing his homework.
Virginia has yet to play a game in 2020 after their first two games of the season were canceled and/or postponed to a later date. The Cavaliers play their first game of the year on Saturday when they host Duke at 4 p.m.
Despite losing quarterback Bryce Perkins, Virginia returns an experienced team from last year’s Orange Bowl squad. In all, 16 players (seven on offense and seven on defense) are back from last year’s 9-5 team that lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
“Obviously, Virginia is an experienced team coming back. They have their same staff. They have tweaked somethings and added some new wrinkles and things like that,” Venables said. “I know they feel really good about their personnel.
“They have most of their offensive line back, got a big-time transfer, I believe, from Central Michigan. Then they feel really good about their quarterback.”
Actually, Virginia returns its entire offensive line. The Cavaliers starting quarterback is sophomore Brennan Armstrong, who beat out senior Keytaon Thompson for the job.
“He is athletic, tough and is a really great leader,” Venables said. “They added some other really good transfers at the skill positions and at running back.”
“They have an excellent spread offense that tempos you, motions and things like that,” the Clemson coach continued.
Now in his fourth season, head coach Bronco Mendenhall has built a culture at Virginia that has the Cavaliers playing with a lot of confidence and belief that last season was not a flash in the pan, but the start of what should be a good program for years to come.
“They are a confident team with a good culture, an established program. They have done a great job. We have a lot of respect for Virginia, the staff and what they have done in developing a program the right way through player development, recruiting and developing a culture.” Venables said.
Top-ranked Clemson is scheduled to host Virginia next Saturday at Death Valley. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised by the ACC Network.
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