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UVa's football coach answered a question about his job security Monday after his team blew a 22-0 lead against Duke and lost its fourth straight.
Virginia head coach Mike London talks with Virginia safety Brandon Phelps (21) and Virginia linebacker Henry Coley (44) during the first half of a college football game against Oregon Saturday Sept. 7, 2013 at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, VA. (Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)
Virginia quarterback David Watford throws a pass against Duke second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Ryan M. Kelly)
Monday, October 21, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE - For perhaps the first time in his four-year tenure, Virginia football head coach Mike London on Monday fielded a question about his job security.
Athletic director Craig Littlepage indicated in Roanoke recently that London was not in any danger.
Since then, the Cavaliers' losing streak has stretched to four games, including a 35-22 home loss to Duke on Saturday in a game the Cavaliers had led 22-0.
Virginia (2-5, 0-3 ACC) is a 10-point underdog for its homecoming game Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2).
"I believe that the process that's going on here, although painstakingly slow, is a process that will be successful," London said at his weekly news conference.
"I'm very appreciative that the administrators and the people that make those decisions have the utmost confidence in me. I'm 100-percent committed to winning."
London was named ACC coach of the year following the 2011 season, when the Cavaliers played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and went 8-5. However, Virginia is 6-15 in its last 21 games, including 4-15 against Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
"I know how to win," London said. "I'm always excited about the challenge that presents itself, whether it's negativity or whatever it may be.
"It's embrace the adversity, look it in the eye and tell the players, ‘Let's go,' because the only thing you can do is get ready for the next game.
"No one wants to win more than I do. No one wants to win more than the players. The attitude is as high as it's ever been."
Without providing a name, London confirmed that Virginia has taken a commitment from a prospect who had attended the Duke-UVa game with his parents.
The reference was to Darious Latimore, a 6-foot, 175-pound cornerback from Central Gwinnett High School in suburban Atlanta. According to rivals.com, he also had offers from Georgia Tech and Kansas State.
"In the midst of seeing what happened Saturday and how disappointing that was, there was positive news to come out of the weekend," London said. "He spent time with the players and the coaches and people around the program and said, ‘I see what you're doing and, yes, I want to be a part of it.' "
Virginia added two Georgia players late in the recruiting process last year, including Eric Smith, who has started the past two games at left offensive tackle as a true freshman. Latimore is the second Georgia prospect to commit to UVa this year, joining Suwanee running back Jordan Ellis.
Former North Carolina State head coach Tom O'Brien pushed for a bigger emphasis on Georgia recruiting when he joined the UVa staff as associate head coach. His old Wolfpack program has 14 Georgia players on its current roster.
Virginia defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta spent six seasons in the same position at Georgia Tech but never worked under Paul Johnson, now in his sixth season as the Yellow Jackets' head coach.
Tenuta was at North Carolina State when the Wolfpack played Georgia Tech in 2010-11, with the road team winning both games.
State won in Atlanta 45-28 in 2010. The Yellow Jackets beat the Wolfpack in Raleigh, 45-35.
A new stand-in?
After Virginia defeated Georgia Tech in Charlottesville two years ago, much credit went to the Cavaliers' holder, Jacob Hodges, a walk-on who had played quarterback in high school and ran the UVa scout team.
Hodges has completed his eligibility and is serving as a graduate assistant, but would that preclude him from playing quarterback in practice?
"That's a great compliance question," London said. "The biggest thing is, would he physically be able to do that because he hasn't been training."
London made a point of singling out redshirt freshman Dylan Sims, who has handled kickoffs in the three games since Ian Frye incurred a hip-flexor injury in warm-ups at Pittsburgh. Sims is a former All- Timesland selection from Jefferson Forest in Bedford
"Probably the biggest surprise out of everyone is Dylan Sims," London said. "When Ian Frye went out, people were worried about the field goals and all that, but Dylan Sims has done a really nice job. In fact, I think he had three touchbacks in this game [with Duke]."
Odds 'n' ends
Items in need of clean-up for UVa include Luke Bowanko's shotgun snaps, two of which went awry, resulting in 21 yards of losses.
"That's not indicative of Luke," London said. "Not to be funny, but that was a fluke."
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