As Mendenhall joked after the Cavaliers rallied for a 38-20 victory over Duke at Scott Stadium with Davis and Poljan closely concerned, it’s awfully tough to cover one 6-foot-7 participant, a lot much less two, for an prolonged interval.
“Properly it’s matchups,” Mendenhall stated. “Soccer’s a recreation of one-on-ones. These two gamers, most matchups might be in our favor. A number of work nonetheless to do on execution and precision and mastery of their craft, however I definitely like the beginning we have now from each of them.”
Davis, a freshman, was named ACC rookie and broad receiver of the week on the power of a glowing debut that included 101 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 4 receptions. His first landing catch of 18 yards gave Virginia the lead for good, 24-20, with 12:43 left within the fourth quarter.
One play earlier than that scoring reception, Davis gathered a 39-yard catch from quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who was making the primary begin of his profession. Davis additionally had a diving 27-yard reception throughout the drive overturned after video evaluate.
A number of of Davis’s catches have been contested close to the sideline and necessitated him reaching above a defender’s outstretched arms whereas within the air to manage the ball and land inbounds.
“I feel we’ve been attempting our greatest to instill confidence in him,” stated Virginia senior broad receiver Terrell Jana, one among 4 captains. “As a real freshman, it’s onerous to return out and make performs. My freshman 12 months I didn’t do something close to what he’s doing, however he’s been doing it in follow quite a bit.”
Davis was not extremely recruited and regarded as a venture, in accordance with Mendenhall, who credited Cavaliers broad receivers coach Marques Hagans for the accelerated improvement of the previous highschool broad receiver and security from Dorchester, S.C.
Davis just isn’t permitted to talk with the media, per crew coverage relating to freshmen.
“Most likely the largest problem is a participant that’s youthful, on the very starting of his profession as a primary 12 months, studying the right way to deal with some success,” Mendenhall stated. “And what that basically goes to seem like now, week in and week out, day in and time out, and to proceed to deal with the workload and work ethic with maturity and humility.”
Poljan, meantime, arrived in Charlottesville as a graduate switch from Central Michigan, the place he started his profession taking part in quarterback. He first performed tight finish in school in 2018, gathering seven receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns, whereas additionally taking snaps at quarterback.
In 2019, Poljan made the swap to tight finish for good, beginning all 12 video games and compiling 33 receptions for 496 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was chosen second-team all-Mid-American Convention after initially being recruited out of highschool as a quarterback, offensive lineman, linebacker and tight finish.
Poljan had 4 receptions for 44 yards towards the Blue Devils as Virginia amassed 450 complete yards, together with 262 passing within the Cavaliers’ first recreation with out graduated beginning broad receivers Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois.
“I might examine it to a situation like taking part in basketball,” Poljan stated of utilizing his wingspan to his benefit. “It’s actually identical to going up and getting a rebound. It was loads of enjoyable. A little bit bizarre with out followers, however general it was a reasonably good start line.”
Poljan left Central Michigan when the MAC in July introduced it could be suspending fall sports activities for precautionary causes throughout the outbreak. Earlier than he may start training together with his new teammates although, Poljan needed to quarantine as a part of the varsity’s security protocols.
To move the time, Poljan always studied the Virginia playbook, which allowed him to ease into a brand new system beneath offensive coordinator Robert Anae as soon as again onto the sector.
He additionally was capable of forge a chemistry with Armstrong given the unusually prolonged time the 2 spent training collectively after Virginia’s season opener saved getting pushed again due to cancellations and postponements, leaving the Cavaliers among the many final within the ACC to play a recreation.
“I wasn’t certain what to anticipate at first,” Poljan stated. “However after the primary collection, I actually settled down and went to work.”