"I think we were the hunters coming into last season, and now we are the hunted," junior running back Kevin Monangai explains. The Wildcats have no real expectations heading into the 2012 season, but after taking the CAA's automatic bid to the playoffs last year, the 'Cats are projected to go far this fall.
It helps that 17 starters return, including Dan Shirey and Jamal Abdur-Rahman, who both sat out last season. Both will be key players to an offense that ran the ball well for most of last season and expects to do more of the same this fall -- but don't be surprised to see at least a little more passing. Abdur-Rahman has drawn comparisons from the coach to former Villanova great Brian Westbrook, who recently retired from football -- at least in terms of being a versatile player who can be a factor as a runner or a receiver.
"The running game, for us, is really what we've hung our hat on," head coach Andy Talley explained. "We've been a passing team back in the day and all of a sudden with the spread offense, you know, we've come up with a quarterback who can run the option. So we have a running game that has to perform because we're not going to come out and just fling the ball. That's not the way we're built right now."
Most of the positions are locked down already, it seems, but Shane Harris and C.J. Logan remain locked in battle for the final cornerback spot. The 'Cats look set to lean on their defensive line again this season, however, to anchor the defensive unit.
That defense will need to perform well in a week's time to execute the Wildcats' game plan against Boston College.
(Video by: Independent Philly)
"Keep the game close, try and get it into the fourth quarter and hang around," Talley explained of his plan for facing the ACC opponent. "It is a problem playing the game at noon. I was hoping it would be a night game. When you play at noon, the sun is right up and if it's a hot day in Boston, it wears us out a little bit because we're probably going to be playing with 38 players. A I-A team is probably going to put 50 guys on the field.