Mike London's team doesn't have the luxury of an extra week to prepare for Georgia Tech's triple option offense this season.
Last October, Virginia had a bye week prior to hosting the Yellow Jackets, who entered the game 6-0 and ranked No. 12 in the country. The Cavaliers won that game 24-21, and afterward credited the extra practice time that came with an open date the week before.
The Cavaliers travel to Atlanta to open their ACC schedule against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
"It's the No. 1 offense in the ACC on the ground, top-five in the country and there is a methodical approach that Coach Johnson has for this offense, go for it on fourth down," Mike London said on Monday. "It's very balanced, very thought out attack."
London said that since Georgia Tech was one of the Cavaliers' first three opponents on the schedule, the defense spent some time this preseason preparing for the triple option. Linebacker Steve Greer said players organized some informal practices over the summer to work on defending the Yellow Jackets as well.
"It's not an open week for us, but I think at the same time, understanding that they are one of our early opponents, that the opportunity to get some practices in and get some things on paper and on film about the way we are probably going to try to play them, allowed us to do that this particular season," London said.
Georgia Tech will be trying to avoid slipping into an 0-2 hole in the ACC Coastal Division after opening the season last Monday with a 20-17 overtime loss at Virginia Tech. The Yellow Jackets bounced back with a 59-3 win at home over Presbyterian last Saturday.
Virginia enters Saturday's game 2-0 after last weekend's last-second 17-16 win at home over Penn State. The Georgia Tech trip continues a tough early stretch for the Cavaliers that includes a visit to TCU on Sept. 22, followed by a home game against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 29.
"It's really important to build momentum at the beginning, and kind of keep that rolling," said Greer. "So we understand these first couple games can kind of change how the rest of the season is going to go. We've just got to stay focused and high energy, and keep executing, and good things will happen."
"It is a tough stretch. But it's the schedule," London said. "I think someone said it's the second-toughest schedule in the ACC, because of the who we're playing. But we're playing these teams now. And we've got to get ready to go."
"We want to win every game," said sophomore cornerback Demetrious Nicholson. "No matter how hard the schedule is; no matter which team we're playing. We just want to win. No matter if it's September, October; we just want to win every game, and just prepare every week."
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