CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Cavaliers defensive secondary was at the top of the ACC back in 2017, but the group left room for improvement in 2020--finishing last in pass defense. That’s likely to change in 2021, thanks to some shuffling of resources.
“I’ve just basically shifted resources now to compensate for what I think is a need to be addressed,” said Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
One of those shifts involves Ricky Brumfield-- who will now coach the cornerbacks in addition to his role as special teams coordinator. He’s familiar with coaching the position after doing so at Western Kentucky from 2013-2015.
That switch, coupled with the return of a healthy Darrius Bratton, has the Cavaliers secondary feeling optimistic. The former William Fleming standout sat out in 2019 after tearing his ACL in early preseason practices. He did appear in nine games for the Wahoos in 2020, but was never truly back to form, missing the last few games of the season.
Bratton says the injury is truly behind him and he’s ready to get to work. Brumfield echoed the same sentiments, giving high praise to the 5th-year senior cornerback.
“I really, truly feel like he’s got his swag back,” said Brumfield.
“He’s got confidence, ready to roll. Last year he was injured. Came off an ACL and he still was kind of slow. He probably was questioning his knee strength, cutting and different things like that.”
“I feel like myself, I feel like the injury is behind us,” Bratton said.
“I’m just ready to get out there and compete with my teammates and let’s be the best. We have a standard of no deep balls and we are the line of defense of big plays and points. So, we have to be on our ‘A’ game every practice and that’s what we’re striving to do and holding that standard.”