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Villanova Football Preview 2014: Offensive Line

Some big losses could spell trouble, but Andy Talley has invested in depth.

CAA Football

The offensive line for the Villanova Wildcats football team has historically been a point of strength. Built mainly on a run-oriented spread attack, offensive line coach Mark Ferrante isn't scared to use a rotation to keep the offense moving at high speeds during the game. This tactic has allowed him to amass quality depth by getting multiple players valuable game experience over the course of the season. Even if two-three of those players aren't starter quality right away, they're typically ready to step in when called upon with little to no drop-off in production.

That theory will be tested this coming season, as Villanova lost 3 mainstays on the offensive line in guards Dan Shirey and Josh Bucci, plus left tackle Billy Vogel. The line returns center Ross Hall and right tackle Vince Kowalski, who were both named 1st Team Preseason All-CAA, so the cupboard isn't completely bare.

Projected Depth Chart

Left Tackle

Left Guard

Center

Right Guard

Right Tackle

Brad Seaton
(RS) SO
6'8" | 309 lbs.
Kyle Wallace
JR
6'2" | 276 lbs.
Ross Hall
SR
6'4" | 284 lbs.
Nico D'Angelo
(RS) SO
6'3" | 296 lbs.
Vince Kowalski
SR
6'4" | 298 lbs.
Matt Donoghue
(RS) FR
6'4" | 280 lbs.
Jake Prus
(RS) FR
6'6" | 289 lbs.
Peter Sotiriou
SR
6'3" | 295 lbs.
Jake Prus
(RS) FR
6'6" | 289 lbs.
George Benakis
JR
6'5" | 345 lbs.

Left Tackle

This is the position that probably has Coach Ferrante and Offensive Coordinator Sam Venuto up late at night. Vogel was a rock at the position for the last few seasons, which is one of the main reasons why John Robertson was able to be so effective as both a runner and a passer.

The house money is on sophomore mountain man Brad Seaton (6'8", 309) to land the starting gig on the left side. Seaton came to Villanova as more of an athlete without a defined position, and has spent the last couple of seasons bulking up knowing that the 'Cats were going to need a new protector on the left side of the line. He saw playing time last year in some blowout victories, and should possess enough athleticism to help cover for the inexperience factor. Redshirt-freshman Matt Donoghue looks ready to contribute this season if needed.

Left Guard

Upon returning from injury, Dan Shirey was moved over to left guard so as to not upset the chemistry that Ross Hall had built under center. The timing couldn't have been better either, as previous Kyle Wallace spent most of last season on the sidelines carrying an injury.

Wallace is probably as near a lock as you can get to take his starting job back, and along with Hall makes the interior of the line more solid than at first glance. Keep an eye on Jake Prus, Nico D'Angelo and Peter Sotiriou who should get some playing time this year at the guard spots while Justin Rhinesmith and Jonathan Green will look to break in to the rotation.

Center

All-CAA performer Ross Hall is back to lead the line in his third straight year of starting. If Hall stays healthy, you can bet that he will once again land all-conference honors. There's not much more to say here - he's very good.

Peter Sotiriou will be the first man off the bench backing up Hall, which he did admirably last season when he landed his first start when Hall was down with an injury.

Right Guard

After left tackle, the biggest hole on the Wildcats roster. Unlike the left tackle position though, the 'Cats don't appear short for competition to land the starting nod here. We're going with Nico D'Angelo, who won the coveted Most Improved Player award on the offensive side of the ball during the spring - and in years past that has been a pretty good sign of a player who's ready put together a break out campaign.

Jake Prus will be in a heated battle for the starting guard position, while Sotiriou will be in the mix as well. Jonathan Green and Justin Rhinesmith will provide additional cover.

Right Tackle

Similar to Ross Hall in the center of the line, Vince Kowalski has been a roadgrader for the Wildcats for his entire career, having started all 34 games he's suited up for. There's no reason to expect that dominance won't continue in his senior season.

Ready to be deployed if needed is junior George Benakis (6'5", 345) who's massive size is perfectly suited for the right side of the line where the Villanova offense frequently likes to run. With the Wildcats' freshmen class not appearing stocked with game-ready players, redshirt-freshman Matt Donoghue could be called in to action on either side of the line.