Is Bronco Mendenhall signaling for help at Virginia?
Over the weekend, Virginia head football coach Bronco Mendenhall made some candid comments about his football roster, stating, "I believe we have 27 ACC-caliber football players on our roster today,” Mendenhall said. “We have 85 scholarships to give,” Mendenhall said. “That means that with our [recruiting class of 2018] arriving, that we think that number [of ACC-caliber players] will jump to the mid-40s this year."
You can read the entire article here from the Daily Progress on Mendenhall's comments, but those are pretty strong comments from a sitting head football coach.
Typically you don't see a coach that candid about his own team, especially in year three of a coaching tenor. Mendenhall took over after Mike London who had a train wreck tenor at Virginia from 2010 to 2015, having loosing seasons in five of his six years.
Mendenhall, who had a great run at BYU from 2003-2015, brings a lofty resume to Virginia where he is currently 107-60 and coached in 12 bowls. He took Virginia to the Military Bowl a year ago, as Virginia finished 6-7, a year after winning only two games. We pegged Virginia 3-9 a year ago, and they got over on our projection by winning three ball games by a touchdown or less.
Fast forward to this year, Virginia is looking for a new quarterback, and their head coach is ripping the talent profile of his own club; IN YEAR THREE.
But, the deal here is Mendenhall is exactly right; he doesn't have great talent. Virginia is rated with the 62nd best roster talent on our 2018 metric, which is good enough for 11th in the ACC.
We again have Virginia finishing 3-9 in 2018, going 0-4 in one possession ball games; and Mendenhall's comments could lead you to believe he expects his club to fade backwards in 2018.
Look, Virginia is a tough place to recruit to and while Mendenhall is recruiting better in the 2019 cycle, his efforts this year if they stay the same, at 48th in the country, would only bring his teams talent metric up from 62nd to around 55 next year. Also, by default, Mendenhall's coaching numbers are getting worse at Virginia, which impacts their projections moving forward.
Rarely do you see a coach call out his own roster three years into the program, in three years of talent hes recruited, so this makes you wonder if this is motivation for his team, the old Steve Spurrier sand bag trick or a small wave of the white flag?
If I am guessing it's the latter at number three. Virginia just doesn't have good roster talent; Mendenhall is right - and fair or unfair, that's on him.
Virginia also isn't out recruiting the likes of Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Duke, Pittsburgh or Louisville in the near future to even get to the middle of the ACC Pack. These are things Mendenall see's at this point, and while he is no quitter. he may be letting people know right now; this job is extremely tough to navigate, so do not get in any hurry - it could be a while.