The current vogue in college football is weight lifting.At Vrginia, booster contributions have allowed the Cavaliers to complete a $100,000 weight room in University Hall.
On the wall, a sign proclaims: "Virginia's Grizzly Den, Where the Hunted Become the Hunters."
The Cavaliers may not have a battery of bazookas to hunt with, but, at least they aren't facing the Spanish Armada in a rowboat as they did for so many years.
After their first winning season since 1968 and only their second in 27 years, the Cavaliers are hardly easy prey anymore for their Atlantic Coast Conference foes.
"I don't think we will contend for the national championship," said Coach Dick Bestwick, who has recruited a solid core of student-athletes to Virginia going into hif fifth season there. "But we can win the ACC."
The reasons for Bestwick's optimism -- and it is realistic even though the Wahoos have not posted back-to-back winning seasons since 1951-52 -- are bulk, strength and experience on both the offensive and defensive lines. "If there's a stronger football team in the country, I don't know of it," Bestwick said.
The Cavaliers have three goals this season: another winning season, their first bowl trip ever (a feat they missed by one victory in last year's 6-5 campaign) and their first ACC championship. Is Charlottesville big enough for Monticello and an ACC football title, too?
Actually all three goals are attainable with the improvement the Cavaliers have shown the last two seasons, as long as there are no major injuries. The Cavaliers also should have a better passing game, with Greg Taylor moved from running back to wide receiver and with transfer Lindsay Delaney from Pitt posessing a stronger arm and pressuring the incumbent, Todd Kirtley. Their punting game has to be more consistent.
"We don't have anyone on the schedule that can't beat us," Bestwick offered in a backhanded way of saying this year's schedule is tougher than 1979. "But, on the other hand, for the first time, we don't play anyone I feel we can't beat."
Or, as Tommy Vigorito (1,044 yards last season) put it, "I wouldn't consider us a favorite contender ... (But) we have a chance and if we did it, we'd be like a 30-to-1 shot coming in at the track, instead of a 4-to-1 favorite winning. The 30-to-1 shot has just as much chance as the 4-to-1 favorite to win the race, and that'st what I think our chances are."
Happy hunting, Cavaliers.