We’re very fortunate to have the SB Nation network of team sites to work with during game weeks. This week we’re chatting with Caroline Darney, a staff editor over at Streaking The Lawn, SBN’s blog for the Virginia Cavaliers. We chatted about Cavalier quarterback Bryce Perkins, how Virginia might try to slow down the Seminoles’ explosive offense, the job head coach Bronco Mendenhall has done, and horses.
TN: So tell us about the 2019 Cavaliers - how good are they, please introduce us to Bryce Perkins, and if Virginia is going to hurt FSU real bad, how are they gonna do it?
STL: Man, let me tell you what. I like these 2019 Cavaliers. It’s a weird feeling, this...confidence. We’re so used to dread from August til basketball season, so this has been a very welcome start to a football season in Charlottesville. You’ll love Bryce; he’s such a good dude. He’s extremely elusive, has a good arm, has an electric personality. If Virginia hurts FSU real bad, it’s going to be because the Hoos win the field position battle (dramatically), force a couple turnovers, get to James Blackman (a lot), and limit Cam Akers. Easier said than done, however.
TN: Osceola rides Renegade, a spotted Appaloosa horse. What type of horse do you think Cavman would ride? Using something like Microsoft Paint, can you draw us a picture of Cavman riding his horse at the game?
STL: Being a self-proclaimed equine expert, Cavman’s trusty steed is a [checks notes] brown horse named Sabre. I have done my very best to illustrate their majesty, and initialed my work so no one tries to claim it as their own and sell it for profit.
TN: FSU’s offense is currently ranked 9th by S&P+, and their defense is 109th. What will Virginia do on defense to try and slow down the Seminole attack? Who are the defenders FSU fans should know?
STL: Virginia’s defense has been so strong early through the first two games. They finally have players in the 3-4 defense that understand what’s going on, and that has allowed them to 1. flourish and 2. implement some more complicated schemes. The blitzes this season have been more complex, and that’s something that will be key against a Florida State offensive line that has...struggled. There are a few guys you should keep an eye on. On the line, look out for first year Jowon Briggs. He is a 4 star recruit that has started both games so far this season. He’s big, physical, and learning quickly.
Charles Snowden is a 6’7 linebacker that gets outstanding pressure, and has the longest arms on the field to cause problems for QBs getting the ball past the line. He’s a guy that just seems to be EVERYWHERE and is one of the leaders on the defense. While I should include All-American Bryce Hall in the secondary, I’m going to point out his counterpart Nick Grant. He will be tested against FSU’s talented receiving corps, but he had a pick six last week.
TN: After squeaking by Louisiana-Monroe by the thinnest of margins, the recent SBNation FanPulse revealed that no fanbase is less confident in the direction of their program than FSU’s. Even worse than 0-2 Miami. Do you have any words of comfort?
STL: You have a lot of talented players! And it seems as you only have to work on fixing the SECOND halves so far. FSU has started games really well, but finishing them has not been their strong suit.
TN: I can’t take credit for this question, but once I heard it I really wanted to know - how would Thomas Jefferson describe the state of the program at FSU? What changes do you imagine he would make?
STL: FSU’s encouraging hashtag #DoSomething reminded me of this quote from UVA’s founder Thomas Jefferson: ”Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.” You know, don’t focus on the past, don’t talk about what you’re going to do...just...do something.
TN: You know those ‘trading spouses’ type shows? What do you say to trading coaching staffs for this game? Or are you happy with the job Bronco Mendenhall has done? How far do you think he can take the Cavaliers?
STL: While I appreciate the offer to trade, I’m going to stick with Coach Mendenhall. They’ve shown marked improvement year over year, getting their guys in the system and creating a succession plan so that the team continues to be successful. I think this is a program that needs to be going to bowls every year, staying in the discussion for division titles, and toying with an ACC Championship (if Clemson ever stops being like a machine). If Virginia under Mendenhall can mean consistent 8-win seasons with some 10-win seasons thrown in, I’m happy.
TN: What is Virginia’s ceiling this season (record, accomplishments, bowl game, etc), and can you give us a score prediction for this game?
STL: I think Virginia can go 9-3 in the regular season, win the Coastal Division, get smacked by Clemson, and play in a high quality bowl game. Those will all, obviously, take work, but what I like about this team and what Mendenhall has built is that Virginia has become a team that makes you make mistakes and takes advantage. Over the last season and a couple games, Virginia has rarely been out of a game, and there’s something to be said for that.
I think Virginia gets rolling and keeps a lead, winning 31-21.
A big thank you to Caroline for taking the time to chat with us, and for that amazing drawing! Click here to read our answers to Caroline’s questions. Don’t forget to check out Streaking the Lawn for your Cavalier coverage needs.
Lastly, here’s an actual picture of Cavman and Sabre. The resemblance is uncanny.