Virginia Missed More Tackles In 2019, But That Wasn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing

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Virginia brought a lot of pressure in 2019.
Virginia stopped Florida State at the goal line to win at home. ~ Kris Wright

The Virginia football team missed more tackles in 2019 than any year in the Bronco Mendenhall era. That’s not as bad as it sounds.

The defense showed improvement through the first three years of the Mendenhall era. The best adjective to describe it: steady. The Cavaliers were moving up the national rankings in total defense and scoring defense. The 2018 topped the progress charts at No. 20 in total defense and No. 21 in scoring defense.

Even so, the Hoos underwent an identity shift of sorts last season. They wanted to put more pressure on teams to create lost yardage, poor decisions, or rushed throws. The goal, simply put, was to create more havoc plays. More sacks and more tackles for loss. According to the Pro Football Focus (PFF) stats, UVA owned the second highest blitz percentage among Power 5 teams at 49.3%. That represented an 11.9% increase from the previous season when the blitz percentage checked in at 37.4%.

As you’d expect by now when it comes to a Mendenhall-led team, there was ...