Virginia tries to maintain edge vs. No. 21 BYU
With No. 21 BYU up next, the Cavaliers senior co-captain Coley gave his teammates about 20 hours to celebrate their second consecutive victory, then he reached out to coach Mike London to set up a players-only meeting.
''I just wanted the guys not to be complacent and not to be comfortable in the skin that they're in because we still have a long way to go,'' Coley said Monday of why he called Sunday's ''captain's meeting.'' ''There's a lot of things that still did not go right on Saturday that could make us a better team.''
Still, the Cavaliers had a number of reasons to celebrate after beating then-No. 21 Louisville 23-21.
It was their first victory against a ranked team since 2011, their first against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in 12 games and their first against another team from the Bowl Subdivision in their last 11 attempts.
Coley scrawled 2-1 on the offensive and defensive boards in the meeting room, and asked the players for Virginia's record after three games a year ago.
It also was 2-1, and they finished 2-10.
He asked for their record after three games the previous year, when it also was 2-1. They finished 4-8.
In the weeks that followed, he said, we ''lost something,'' and he doesn't want to see this team repeat that mistake.
In 2011, when Coley was a redshirt freshman, the Cavaliers had endured three consecutive losing seasons, and their seniors grew weary of the ''stigma'' of Virginia football as ''soft,'' he said.
Coley said the seniors changed their attitudes, and those of their teammates - and the results followed. Virginia went 8-5 and played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, their first bowl game since the 2007 season.
''You could tell they were just fed up and they were willing to do whatever it takes to win,'' Coley said, ''and I feel like that's the mentality now, and a lot of the guys are just playing together.''
Coley may be the loudest, but with 22 seniors on the team, he's not the only one making noise.
''They want their legacy to be something positive, something that ... will last for other guys that are in the program now,'' London said Monday. ''But it's been a tremendous amount of maturity that these guys have shown, that they want results and that they're going to demand them from their teammates.''
Coley doesn't just demand things, fellow senior Brandon Phelps said. He demonstrates.
''He just plays with a chip on his shoulder and it's contagious,'' the cornerback said. ''I see Henry make a big play, I need to make a big play, and (safety Anthony Harris) needs to make a big play.''
The Cavaliers will likely need to make a few big plays to beat BYU.
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