When the Cavalier offense trots onto Frank Howard Field in Death Valley Saturday night, they’ll be without their sensational signal-caller from a season ago in Bryce Perkins. 

Instead, sophomore Brennan Armstrong has been handed the reins of the Virginia offense and will make his first-ever road start while making just his second start overall. 

In the Cavs first official game last week against Duke, he was 24-of-45 passing for 269 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions as Virginia defeated Duke, 38-20. 

The competition takes a big step up the ladder Saturday in a rematch of last season’s ACC Championship. Regardless of the outcome, UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall said it’s too early to make any real assessments on Armstrong just yet. 

“It’s too early to say on all counts really other than I had confidence in Brennan going into this year and increased confidence after seeing what I saw in game one,” Mendenhall said. 

The Virginia coach subtly warned against expecting a coming-out party against the Tigers Saturday night. He also stressed the transition from Perkins to Armstrong will take time but it looks promising.

“We’re just at the very, very beginning of this journey but I sure like the potential and I like so much of what I’ve seen. But, there will be growing pains. This will be a step-by-step process,” Mendenhall said.

“It won’t be just all of the sudden, he’s announced on the scene. This is going to be more gradual than that. So I’m just being brutally honest, transparent, and realistic with myself and Brennan.” 

Mendenhall said he will design the system and schemes accordingly based on the feedback each week. “That’s the best thing I can do to help him.”