Cavs to Lean on Veteran Leaders Against UCLA

The Virginia football team has endured some growing pains the past few seasons, with just six total wins since the program's Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance after the 2011 season.

UVa followed an 8-5 season in 2011 with a 4-8 performance in 2012. Last year, the Cavaliers went just 2-10, with a team that included just seven seniors.

This year's UVa team -- which kicks off the season on Saturday against No. 7 UCLA at Scott Stadium -- returns 18 players with starting experience from last season. The Wahoos have 23 seniors on their roster, including 10 listed as starters on the updated depth chart released this week.

"There is a different mentality with a serious and older group, about the expectations of what it takes to play and be competitive," head coach Mike London said Thursday. "The seniors that we have, and even the guys that have been around for three-plus years, are guys that want to experience some success."

The seniors on this year's UVa team were freshmen on the 2011 team, that won four games late in the year, and entered the regular season finale against Virginia Tech in contention for an ACC Coastal Division title.

"A lot of these guys have had the opportunity to experience the Chick-fil-A Bowl year," London said. "And now, in setting their legacy when they leave here, they know what it takes, and what it took. And now you've got guys that are older now, that can demand those type of expectations of performance on the field, and in the classroom, and in the community."

The expectation entering this season is that London's job could be in jeopardy with another down year. But London says the veteran leaders on his team have kept the Cavaliers focused on Saturday's game with the Bruins.

"The guys have really been focused, and are ready to play a football game," London said. "You have a bad taste in your mouth from last season, and the only way to remedy that is to get back on, and execute, and perform and be productive."

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