Virginia performs its first recreation with out three fallen teammates Saturday when it faces No. 12 Tennessee in each groups’ season opener in Nashville, Tenn.
Working again Mike Hollins was injured within the November 2022 capturing deaths of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry on the campus in Charlottesville, Va.
“I can solely think about the feelings that’ll be flowing via my physique,” Hollins stated of taking the sector for the opener. “I actually don’t have any phrases as a result of the spring recreation, it hit me like a sack of rocks and I did not anticipate it, so I can solely think about. I am prepared, although. I am prepared for it.”
Virginia canceled its closing two video games final season following the tragedy and completed 3-7 in Tony Elliott’s first season as head coach, together with 1-6 within the Atlantic Coast Convention.
Elliott named Monmouth switch Tony Muskett because the Cavaliers’ beginning quarterback. He handed for five,687 yards and 51 touchdowns in 23 video games with the Hawks from 2020-22. He received an offseason battle with Anthony Colandrea to switch Brennan Armstrong, who transferred to North Carolina State.
“Caring for the soccer, discovering completions within the go recreation, getting us right into a proper examine if crucial,” Virginia offensive coordinator Des Kitchings stated of the choice to go along with Muskett. “He checked the field on all these issues.”
Hollins enters the season as a backup to final season’s main rusher Perris Jones and Clemson switch Kobe Tempo.
Virginia has not posted a successful report or been to a bowl recreation because the 2019 season.
Tennessee, in the meantime, completed 11-2 final season and ranked No. 6 within the closing Related Press ballot. The Volunteers capped the yr with a 31-14 win towards Clemson within the Orange Bowl.
The Volunteers are four-touchdown favorites at Nissan Stadium as quarterback Joe Milton III takes over full-time for Hendon Hooker, the 2022 Southeastern Convention Offensive Participant of the Yr and now a rookie with the Detroit Lions.
“I am excited for him. He is a man that did it the appropriate manner when it did not go his manner early on,” third-year head coach Josh Heupel stated of Milton, who changed the injured Hooker and accomplished 19 of 28 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns within the Orange Bowl win.
“He checked out himself and noticed how he wanted to proceed to enhance to get higher, belief in his coaches and this system and imagine within the guys round him inside the locker room.”
Since transferring from Michigan after the 2020 season, Milton has handed for 1,346 yards with 12 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in 17 appearances (4 begins) for the Vols.
Linebacker Aaron Beasley, Tennessee’s main tackler final yr and a preseason Bednarik Award candidate, stated the staff is getting into the season with an aggressive mindset.
“Uber aggressive, play actually quick … simply attacking,” he stated. “We blitz so much, so simply enjoying within the opponents’ backfield. Affecting the road of scrimmage, affecting the quarterback, actually simply uber aggressive.”
Heupel stated there can be a second of silence earlier than kickoff, and the Volunteers will put on helmet decals to honor the deceased Virginia gamers.
The Volunteers have a 3-1 lead within the all-time collection, however that is the primary assembly between the colleges since Tennessee defeated Virginia 23-22 within the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1990.
—Discipline Degree Media