Virginia managed to win its lone Thursday night game last year on short rest, but it hasn’t made the preparations for this Thursday’s game against North Carolina any easier.
Coming off Saturday’s dramatic 41-40 victory over the Hurricanes, the Cavaliers returned to the practice field Sunday and will be back at it Monday, which is usually a day off during a normal game week, and Tuesday. Virginia also will hold two practices Wednesday, one at night to simulate playing under the lights ahead of its showdown against the Tar Heels, the first Thursday night game at Scott Stadium since 2006.
“It is very condensed,” Coach Mike London said. “You have to streamline a lot of what you would normally do on a full game week, but at this point in the season, it’s not as much about putting in new schemes like that. It’s probably more about putting in your game plan that you’ve used throughout the season.”
Another complication is class. London said most of the school’s professors have been flexible in excusing his team from class and make up any exams that might take place Thursday, but a few players will still have to take tests on the morning of a game day.
As opposed to last season’s 28-21 Thursday night win at Miami, the Cavaliers won’t have to travel Wednesday, hence doubling up on practices that day.
“Having done it before, there’s a model to use and we’re gonna stick close to the model,” London said.
The Tar Heels team would already be bowl-eligible and in contention to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC championship game if they weren’t ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions.
Note: London said Sunday night that freshman defensive end Eli Harold was suffering from migraine headaches last week, which caused Virginia to rule him out on last Thursday’s injury report. But the headaches subsided later in the week, and Harold was cleared to play by the team’s doctors Saturday morning. He received about 30 snaps, London said, about 20 fewer than he did a week earlier when he started at North Carolina State.