In the last ten seasons, the football program at the University of Virginia has finished above .500 just twice - an 8-5 season in 2011 under Mike London in his second year leading the program, and in 2007 under Al Groh when the Cavaliers went 9-4.
So Bronco Mendenhall and his staff came up with an interesting idea to initiate a culture change: players were going to EARN EVERYTHING under the new staff, including their numbers.
Andrew Ramspacher of the Daily Progress highlighted the decision in a piece yesterday, adding that nothing will appear on the helmets during the spring either.
"If you start from the beginning of the off season program and you take the body of work from the off season program through spring practice, through the summer and through fall camp. That will then determine the order in which a player can choose his number."
“As I was speaking to these strangers in our first-ever meeting. I kept thinking, ‘What better way to hold players accountable than have them earn everything they get, including what they wear?’” Mendenhall added, and that is exactly what he has done to get his point across.
Ever since the beginning of winter workouts, players have known that they're in an everyday battle for their number. After spring practices conclude, the team will get together and vote on how has worked the hardest and earned the top pick, then the second pick, and that will continue all the way down to the last guy on the roster..
Mendenhall has also instituted an ultimatum regarding the locker room where players have been instructed to keep everything maintained within it's walls in tip-top shape, including scraps of paper on the floor all the way down to how their shoes sit in their locker. If it's not perfect, Mendenhall will lock the players out of the locker room.
“It has to be perfect, that means any scrap of paper on the floor, sink’s not washed down, shoes aren’t at 90 degrees, gear’s on the wrong hook, I’ll close it.