Mike London hasn't won many football games lately at Virginia. But prior to last weekend, he had never lost a season opener as head coach of the Cavaliers.
Last Saturday, London's team had a chance to knock off UCLA, then the seventh-ranked team in the country. But three second-quarter turnovers -- all returned for scores by the Bruins -- were the difference in a 28-20 UVa loss. That outcome extended the Wahoos' losing streak to 10 straight games, a skid that dates back to late last September.
But on Thursday, London said the loss hadn't impacted his team's attitude in practice this week, as the Cavaliers prepare for Saturday's visit by Richmond.
"Very upbeat. Very, very positive. Very focused," London described the mood in practice this week. "When you have an older group, they always bring back the remembrance of "This is why we're here. These are the things we need to do.""
"You're in a close game like that against UCLA, you have to do things that can allow you to win," London added. "And so that focus has been carried over into this week of preparation."
One focus for UVa fans this week is what the team will do at the quarterback position against the Spiders.
Sophomore Greyson Lambert made the first start of his college career last Saturday against UCLA, but was on the sideline by halftime after throwing a pair of interceptions for scores. He was replaced by fellow sophomore Matt Johns, who led UVa on a touchdown drive late in the second quarter, and another in the third quarter.
London has said both quarterbacks will play this weekend, and reiterated on Thursday that the starter will be a game-time decision on Saturday. But he had praise for Johns, who was virtually an unknown quantity outside the McCue Center prior to the UCLA game.
"Matt's had a series of good practices. Our last scrimmage at the stadium, he had an excellent day," London explained. "So we always know the guys, and who they are and what they're doing."
"And the thing that intrigued me was, in a competitive situation, in a game, that he went in and he performed," London added. And again, it's reasonable to say that, "Hey listen, we need to look at him more." And he'll get an opportunity."
Saturday's game will mark the third time London has led the Cavaliers into a game against his alma mater. He's 2-0 against the Spiders at UVa, beating Richmond to open both the 2010 and 2012 seasons.
The Wahoos have won their last nine meetings with Richmond. And London hopes to not only extend that winning streak on Saturday, but put an end to his team's current 10-game slide.
"Well they've worked hard for it," he said. "And there's been a lot of adversity, we all understand that. And they've been really resilient. I'm very proud of the effort. This whole team unity and togetherness is something that's real. And they deserve an opportunity to experience some success -- and we will this season -- but the first step of having the opportunity to do that is this game against Richmond."