Aug. 27, 2012
Virginia opens 123rd season of football
The University of Virginia commences its 123rd season of football Saturday against Richmond.
UVa will be playing its 82nd season in Scott Stadium, which opened Oct. 15, 1931, against VMI.
UVa is 78-35-9 (.676) all-time in season openers.
The Cavaliers are 72-19-7 (.770) in home openers and have won 14 of their last 18 openers in Scott Stadium.
In his career as a head coach, Mike London has won all four of his season-openers: 2008 at Elon and 2009 at Duke while at Richmond and 2010 vs. Richmond and 2011 vs. William & Mary while at Virginia.
With a win over Richmond, Mike London will become the first UVa head coach since Rice Warren (1913, 1920-21) to win the season openers in his first three years at the helm of the Cavalier football program.
Virginia vs. Richmond, CAA
Virginia owns a 26-2-2 edge in the all-time series with Richmond, which dates to 1893. UVa has won the last eight meetings, including a 34-13 win in 2010 in Mike London's debut as UVa's head coach.
Richmond's last win in the series came in 1946, a 19-7 victory in Richmond.
The Cavaliers own a 55-9-3 record against current members of the CAA.
London is 15-3 all-time vs. the CAA and 8-3 all-time against FCS ranked CAA foes.
Familiar Aces on Both Sidelines
The coaching staffs from the two teams are uniquely intertwined, with former UR head coach Mike London now in his third season at UVa and former UVa assistant head coach Danny Rocco now the head coach at Richmond.
Both London and Rocco served as defensive assistants together at Virginia under former UVa head coach Al Groh (2001-04). Rocco played two seasons under Groh at Wake Forest, was a graduate assistant with the Demon Deacons and later joined Groh with the Jets in 2000. Rocco followed Groh to Charlottesville in 2001 and spent five seasons with the Cavaliers.
UR head coach Danny Rocco is the uncle of UVa QB Michael Rocco.
UR head coach Danny Rocco's daughter Amy is a second-year at UVa and works in the football office.
UVa defensive coordinator Jim Reid is another former Richmond head coach, serving as the head coach of the Spiders from 1995-2003.
Three UVa assistants coached at Richmond before coming to UVa with Mike London and helped the Spiders to the 2008 FCS National Title (Vincent Brown, Jeff Hanson, Mike Faragalli); Brown also was on UVa staff in 2007 as a graduate assistant.
Four Richmond assistants (Wayne Lineburg, Bob Trott, Levern Belin, Byron Thweatt) have been assistant coaches at Virginia. Thweatt is a former Cavalier standout and was a UVa graduate assistant in 2006.
UVa OL coach Scott Wachenheim spent three seasons as the OC and assistant head coach at Liberty (2006-08) under current Richmond head coach Danny Rocco. The Flames put up prolific numbers under Wachenheim's offense and ranked in the top-10 in the FCS in yards and scoring during the tenure.
Richmond assistant coaches Brandon Streeter (OC/QBs) and Blaine McCorkle (OL) both worked under Wachenheim during UVa's offensive line coach's time at Liberty.
Last Meeting: 2010 (UVa 34, UR 13)
Keith Payne rushed 16 times for 114 yards and four TDs to lead UVa to the 34-13 victory.
UVa QB Marc Verica threw for 283 yards and 1 TD, while his favorite targets were Kris Burd and Dontrelle Inman, who both came away with seven catches a piece.
Burd, who graduated a year ago tied for the UVa program record (9) for most 100-yard receiving games in a career, posted the very first of his career vs. Richmond with 122 yards.
The contest was the first for Mike London's new 4-3 defense and they were led by LaRoy Reynolds' eight tackles and Chase Minnifield's seven stops and one INT.
Season-openers vs. In-State Foes
2012 is the 35th season UVa has hosted a Commonwealth team in Scott Stadium's first game of the year.
Playing in the season-opener against UVa, Richmond will have been the team four times out of those 35 games.
Hampden-Sydney leads all Commonwealth teams in those 35 seasons with 11 appearances.
A London/UR Flashback to 2010 Meeting
Mike London made his UVa debut in 2010 vs. the Spiders the last time these teams met. UVa's 34-13 win against the Spiders in 2010 made London the first UVa coach to win his UVa debut game since the Bill Elias-led Cavaliers defeated William & Mary 21-6 in 1961. Six UVa coaches in between lost their debut game.
Since 1931, the first season at Scott Stadium, a total of seven UVa coaches won their debut as head coaches of the Cavaliers - all seven defeated an in-state opponent.
The full list: Fred Dawson (1931 vs. Roanoke), Gus Tebell (1934 vs. Hampden-Sydney), Frank Murray (1936 vs. Hampden-Sydney), Art Guepe (1946 vs. Hampden-Sydney), Ben Martin (1956 vs. VMI), Elias (1961 vs. W&M), London (2010 vs. Richmond).
London became only the second coach (George Welsh - Navy) to make his UVa head coaching debut against his alma mater. Welsh opened up with Navy to kickoff the 1982 season for the Cavaliers.
Consistency is Key
For the third season in a row the UVa coaching staff under head coach Mike London has remained intact.
UVa is one of 16 schools in the nation entering 2012 with the same nine assistants that started the 2011 season.
Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech join UVa among ACC shools on the list of 16.
BYU, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana Tech, UL-Lafayette, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Oregon, San Diego State and Texas also made the list.
Virginia joins Florida State and Louisiana Tech as schools that have staff that have remained intact for two years in a row, while the only school on the list of 16 with a longer tenure is Oregon (three years).