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Brennan is not a person who will sugar coat a problem. It's one of the things he loved about him. During Virginia's practices, Mendenhall used to hover over the offense, close enough to hear every word that escaped his quarterback's mouth, and if the unit struggled, the monologues would often go off the rails.

He would curse like a sailor. It was legit.

It's no surprise that, nearly a month into his first season without Mendenhall helming the team, he isn't trying to sell Virginia's offensive troubles as anything other than a serious problem. The situation isn't nice.

"I'm pretty frustrated right now," he said after the game, in which he led the offense on a frenetic final drive to set up a game-winning field goal. I'm used to being that high-powered offense, but when I don't have it, it makes me frustrated.

It didn't have to be like that. It could've been a much simpler path for the man. This is the era of name, image and likeness money and transfer portal freedom, and that's why there were a lot of interested parties in the off-season. He chose to stay put, pushed his chips into the middle of the table with a new coaching staff, and a new scheme, all of which created a genuine risk that his final season would be his last in the league.

He was praised as a case study on loyalty when he made the choice. It took just two games for Virginia fans to start questioning if loyalty was worth it.

In just 11 games last year, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the country threw for nearly 4,500 yards and accounted for 40 touchdown through the air.

Virginia's offense had scored over 100 points in three games.

In the first three games of the year, the Hoos have scored just 53 and have only two passing touchdown.

The coaching staff that turned him into a star is going to face off against him. The Syracuse game is on Friday at 7pm. Robert Anae is a former Virginia assistant coach and QB coach.

It might be a good time for the cyclist to take a step back and think about what he might have done. No matter how much he is prodded in the run-up to his reunion with Anae & Co., he will not say that he regrets anything.

"Yes, I did stick it out through a coaching change and the NIL money you could possibly put in my pocket at a different school." I'm happy with what I did, but you probably don't see a lot of quarterbacks sticking it out.

Brennan Armstrong said he is "pretty frustrated" with how this season is going so far. Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Virginia ended its regular season with four straight losses, including a fourth quarter flub against Virginia Tech. He thought he was ready to move on to the next phase of his life.

Mendenhall said he was leaving.

The bowl game was called off.

The Air Raid system that he'd mastered, but that didn't translate at the next level, was one of the reasons why the NFL evaluated him.

He was projected to be a late-round pick.

He's an overachiever, even though he doesn't have wow-you-over arm strength. Someone would grab him on the third day.

There were offers in other places, too, and they came with big name, image and likeness deals. Other players were eager to use their newfound freedom to cash in and, in at least a few cases, find a home that would allow them to showcase their skills on a larger stage.

He shrugged off the criticisms of his arm strength and his athletic ability. He said he likes to carry a chip on his shoulder. He showed what he could do on the field, and he put together a highlight reel of his throws.

The more you watch him, the more you like him.

The NIL money wasn't much of a concern for the man. He had a group of friends on this team, and they were all productive and skilled. He wouldn't leave that.

"I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and that's what I decided to do," he said.

I go that way. People think it's hard but it's not. It's difficult to do every season. None of that would be easy if I was drafted. I wanted to do it so I tried to prove different things. I guess it's pretty much Impulsively.

Armstrong has just two passing touchdowns this season. Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire

The value in refining his skill set is by playing in a more pro style scheme, taking snaps under center and adjusting protections. Virginia's offense ran through him a year ago. The thing ran because of him. He was still responsible for the highest percentage of his team's yards even though he missed a game. It was only good enough for six wins, and so it was easy for Elliott to sell the idea that a more pedestrian stat line would equate to more wins at the end of the season.

The only thing that matters is finding ways to win.

Virginia lost in the second week of the season. One of the most listless offensive performances of Armstrong's five-year career came against Illinois.

"I don't think there was a single play when all 11 guys were doing what they were supposed to do."

Last week, the offense showed marginal improvement, but it bogged down in the red zone and wasted scoring chances, and until Armstrong's heroics at the end, the Hoos were staring at another loss.

When fans were asked who should shoulder the blame for the offense's slow start, only 2% pointed the finger at the quarterback. New coaching staff was blamed by nearly half of the people.

That idea is absurd. He said it's impossible to judge the new scheme when the players don't execute it well. He's blaming himself for that. Mendenhall said that he makes a point of keeping the noise from fans and message boards at arm's length.

"I don't pay much attention to it," said the cyclist. You can't focus on that or it will break down your entire team. There is a dangerous world with that stuff. It's easy to misplace.

It's not lost, that's for sure. It's his job to play well enough that the rest of the world agrees with him.

He said that it wasn't the end of the world that they lost to Illinois. Let's try to get better.

"Every season is a tough task," Armstrong said. "If I was drafted, undrafted, out in the real world -- none of that is easy." Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire

As a freshman in high school, Armstrong beat out a senior to win the starting quarterback position. The team from Ohio opened the season with a.500 record. The two people who hosted Columbian in October wereShelby andArmstrong. His defense didn't offer any assistance. The game was over with six minutes to go.

That's when the leader of the free world came to power.

The game was tied at 5 in the final 5 minutes. The quarterback accounted for 520 yards of offense.

His mother said that he was Brennan. It's not over yet. He's going to keep fighting. It's just him.

The game was still lost byShelby. After scoring in overtime, Columbian decided to go for two. The final score was 83-87. It was the highest scoring game in Ohio history.

Mendenhall remembers the moment he knew his quarterback was special.

There is a true freshman in this picture. The starting quarterback went down with an injury in the first half against Georgia Tech. Armstrong drove the offense 65 yards on six plays and hit Joe Reed for a long touchdown.

He said his pulse was about 48. He looked at me and said, "Well, what else did you expect?" after that score.

The Yellow Jackets won the game in overtime after Perkins came back to action.

The same story is repeated over and over again. The wins are not easy.

The statistics were held byArmstrong. The school record for passing yards was set by him. He did not have the victories. Ate away at him.

He came back because of that. He can refine his skills, prove he can operate a pro style offense, and earn some NIL cash. He wanted to win so much that his legacy at Virginia would be engraved into stone. He did not want to be remembered as the poster boy for loyalty in college football. He wanted to be remembered as the man who led Virginia.

He said there was still time to do it. It's all ahead of him, so there's no time to think about it.

He still wants to win 10 games. I need to win eight of the nine remaining ones. It's going to be a lot of fun. I am aware of that. I want to do that. I will know I gave everything I had if it doesn't happen.