In the days leading up to the season opener at Connecticut, we will be previewing all the position groups for this year's Villanova football team. The full schedule can be found at the bottom of this post.
Praise be to coach Mark Ferrante, who consistently churns out an offensive line that is both powerful in the running game and impenetrable in passing downs, despite working with a smaller amount of scholarships than his FBS buddies. Ferrante will have just 13 offensive linemen this season, and that includes both walk-ons and freshmen who could benefit immensely from a redshirt year.
Ferrante may have his toughest challenge yet in 2015 - he'll need to replace three starters from the unit that finished out last season - and two of them were all-conference caliber players. Having the reigning Walter Payton Award winner, who may be the best scrambler in the country at any level, helps out for sure. But it also adds pressure to not get him injured, given how important he is to the Wildcats.
Luckily for Villanova, the most important position on the offensive line returns a starter in Brad Seaton. The 6'8", 310 pound junior started every game at left tackle last season and did an excellent job protecting John Robertson's blind side. Seaton is essentially the Wildcats' version of Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane from Game of Thrones. There is some doubt over Seaton's health entering the season, so hopefully he's ready to rock for UConn.
On the other side of the line, Villanova will have to replace All-CAA performer Vince Kowalski, who started every game of his career and now plays for the Green Bay Packers. At 6'6" 300 pounds, Jake Prus certainly has the stature to fill the void, and his experience last season starting at right guard should make him for a more seamless transition to right tackle.
(RS) sophomore Matt Donoghue spent last season backing up Seaton, so it's a relatively safe bet you'll see him there again this season. Keep an eye on (RS) freshmen Brandon Hitner who has been working out at left tackle as well. True freshmen Ethan Greenidge is a behemoth at 6'4" 345, and has been working out at right tackle so far in camp.
Both guard spots are up for grabs entering fall camp with the position changes for Kyle Wallace (more on that below) and Jake Prus. The unit also lost the versatile Peter Sotiriou, who played just about anywhere the coaches needed him to. The clubhouse leaders for the starting positions are juniors Nico D'Angelo at left guard and Jonathan Green at right guard. D'Angelo started six games last season, but missed a lot of time due to injury. Green was a backup last year who saw most of his action in mop-up duty, so the spotlight may shine a bit more on him than the other starters, who all have several starts to their name.
Keep an eye on (RS) freshman Chris Buchalski and true freshman Louie Csaszar (a Big 33 selection) as reserves.
The only starter other than Seaton returning on the offensive line is Kyle Wallace, who is transitioning from left guard (where he's played his entire career) to center for his senior season. With the graduation of All-CAA performer Ross Hall, this is a smart move from the coaching staff to get Robertson together with an experienced player at the heart of the line.
Expect Jonathan Green to slide over from guard if Wallace goes down, and sophomore Alex Coren can provide additional cover.
2015 Villanova Football Preview Schedule
- Thursday August 20: Quarterbacks & Running Backs
- Friday August 21: Offensive Line
- Monday August 24: Wide Receivers & Tight Ends
- Tuesday August 25: Defensive Line
- Wednesday August 26: Linebackers
- Thursday August 27: Defensive Backs
- Friday August 28: Special Teams