Virginia Coach George Welsh is about the only one connected with the football team who has bowl experience, and he isn't certain that will be of any help to his Cavaliers as they prepare for their New Year's Eve game with Purdue in the Peach Bowl.
It will be Virginia's first-ever bowl game. Only one player on the squad, senior cornerback Ray Daly, has bowl experience. Daly played for Welsh at the Naval Academy when the Midshipmen went to the Liberty Bowl in 1981.
"We're not doing anything differently than we did at Navy," Welsh said at a press conference today. "But my record with bowls isn't very good, so maybe we should be doing things differently."
Navy had a 1-2 record in postseason games while Welsh was in Annapolis.
The Virginia players took two weeks off after Maryland beat them, 45-34, for the ACC title Nov. 24. The Cavaliers practiced for three days the weekend before exams began, Dec. 12, then began working out in earnest today after semester tests were completed.
In addition to being unfamiliar with bowls, the Cavaliers are unfamiliar with Purdue (7-4, tied for second in the Big Ten). Coach Leon Burtnett's Boilermakers have a passing offense unlike any Virginia has faced this season.
"For one thing, they run the shotgun a lot," Welsh said. "And it's tough to blitz them because they keep two backs in and sometimes they keep the tight end in to block, too."