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Andy Talley Press Conference: 'Syracuse is big, fast and on the rise'

On today's CAA Teleconference, Andy Talley expressed his concerns about the Syracuse game on Friday.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

With four days remaining to prepare for a tough season opener on Friday night, the Wildcats are in the final countdown phase of training camp. On today's CAA Teleconference, head coach Andy Talley expressed his concerns about his team going up against the FBS foe in their first game of the year.

The other benefit, he recounted, was that his players would get to travel to the Carrier Dome to experience a different game day than they are used to in CAA play, and -- with ESPN 3 covering it -- a chance for a broader fanbase to see the team in action.

Downsides, however, are that they have often come out of the season's opening game with injuries, which won't help the 'Cats with tough CAA games later in the season. Talley noted that key injuries in last season's opening game at Boston College (they lost three starters) had repercussions in the rest of their schedule, suggesting that they could have done better last year.

The Wildcats are preparing for a team that won a bowl game last season and is looking to build on that success this season. Like, Villanova, the Orange play fast on offense, and look to leverage that against a defense that may not be able to adjust in time.

Offensively, the Wildcats will rely on the offensive line to open running lanes for Kevin Monangai, Austin Medley and John Robertson. In camp, the linemen have struggled to do so against their own defense, which raises questions about how they will perform against Syracuse.

Talley expects to have three veterans starting on that offensive line, with seniors Ross Hall (at center) and Vince Kowalski (at tackle) being key to their success. Brad Seaton should start at the other tackle spot, with Jake Prus at guard as well.

Nico D'Angelo was also expected to be a starter at guard this Fall, but he has been nursing a high ankle sprain late in camp and is not expected to be ready for the game.

The other concern that was cited was in the kicking game. Chris Gough returns as a veteran on kick-offs, but the 'Cats will not have any experience at punter or placekicker on Friday and Talley will hope that the pressure of the situation doesn't cause any major issues for the relatively inexperienced players at both positions.

Kicking in a dome should help, of course, with the structure taking wind and the elements out of the picture.

"There's no way we can get ready for that," Talley said about playing in the Dome. Villanova is bracing itself for a loud and raucous game day environment at Syracuse, but has no way to really practice for it. The dome cannot be replicated at Villanova Stadium.

As always, Villanova is hoping to be competitive in the game and to avoid injuries. They need to play a balanced game and avoid getting worn out too early in the game to stay in it. The 'Cats have won their FBS opener three times before and Andy Talley notes that the secret is normally to take the game into the fourth quarter and try to win it late.