If the coronavirus pandemic has made a mess out of 2020 college football preparations, Virginia football player Charles Snowden isn’t sure that the Cavaliers will suffer.
“I know coach [Bronco] Mendenhall loves consistency,” said Snowden, an outside linebacker coming off a breakout season in 2019.
“I know this definitely throws him off a bit. I also know he loves challenges and creating chaos. Although he doesn’t have any control over it, I think he’s excited to see how we react.”
Snowden was in South Florida when he learned that spring classes had been canceled as a result of the coronavirus and that classwork would be handled online.
“Initially, I thought it was going to be for a couple of weeks,” he said. “I’ve been home, finding different ways to kind of work out, and talking to my coaches and teammates because they’re trying to figure it out, too.”
Snowden had heard from team nutritionist Randy Bird earlier in the day Wednesday.
“I personally don’t have a strict diet,” said Snowden, listed at 6 foot 7 and 235 pounds. “No weight is kind of bad weight for me right now.”
Clearly, he’s not starving back home in Silver Spring, Maryland, where his mom, Terri, has made sure he hasn’t dropped below his listed 235 pounds.
“She knows me so well,” said Charles, whose choices this week have included steak, Alfredo pasta, fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.
“There are five mouths in this household [who are] always snacking, but she’s doing a good job.”
Strength coach Shawn Griswold has provided instructions but the players aren’t at UVa for him to oversee.
“Unfortunately, in the Snowden household, we don’t have an in-home gym,” Snowden said. “I’ve got a medicine ball, two resistance bands and a speaker.”
In recent days, he has appeared in videos with signee Jahmeer Carter, a defensive lineman from the Annapolis area.
“My dad kind of reached out to his [dad],” Snowden said. “He said, ‘We see you working out? Is there any way we can go up there?’
“Really, while we were there was when the governor of Maryland struck down all non-essential businesses. So, we haven’t been able to go back there, unfortunately.”
Physically, Snowden would like to weigh 240 pounds when the season comes around.
“My sack number wasn’t anywhere close to where I wanted it to be,” said Snowden, whose five sacks ranked him third on the team behind Jordan Mack and Noah Taylor.
“I got a lot of QB hits and a lot of QB hurries, so that’s still the area that I’m looking to improve the most this offseason. Possibly, it will be a big step from the year before.”
The team’s goals are familiar.
“Definitely, number one is keeping the Commonwealth Cup,” said Snowden, referring to the Cavaliers’ annual game with Virginia Tech.
The Hokies had a 15-game winning streak in that series before UVa won 39-30 last November in Charlottesville.
“Winning the Coastal [Division] again, winning our bowl game and, for the defense, finishing with a top 25 defense,” he said.