Villanova Wildcats head coach Andy Talley met with the media for his weekly press conference this morning, and talked about his team’s preseason and the upcoming opening game vs. the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Talley was very complimentary of Pat Narduzzi’s team, and it sounded like he doesn’t love his team’s chances at a victory. He cited an especially tough Panthers’ D that is big, fast, and perhaps “the best defensive football team he’s ever played.”
Talley went as far to suggest that the ‘Cats shouldn’t even be playing these “buy games” which are being phased out, or outright banned, in some college football leagues.
“I’m not a proponent of them (FBS vs. FCS games), frankly. A lot of the coaches do a great job telling you what a challenge it is and all that. But the truth of the matter is that they’re bigger, faster and stronger. They play 60-65 guys during a game and we play 35 guys in a game. The key for me is to play well as we can play and hopefully get out of there with no injuries. That’s about as factual as I can be other than the fact that you make some money on the game.”
That’s not a new point of view for Talley who for years hasn’t exactly relished these early season games. But the fact is that these games provoid a very direct benefit to his program as he stated - money. Most FBS schools will pay six-figures or more for a home game to fill out their schedule.
To make matters worse, Talley had opened the call with some bad news, stating that his team will be without three expected starters for what looks like the first part of the season.
Running back Matt Gudzak, linebacker Corey Majors and cornerback Malik Reaves all suffered injuries though Talley declined to get too specific citing only that Gudzak is recovering from a labrum surgery that he underwent sometime over the summer. It sounds like Reaves’ injury may not be that bad, but he may be limited early in the season.
Talley ended the call talking about both his offense and defense, and seemed optimistic for his offense, led by sophomore Zach Bednarczyk.
I like him (Bednarczyk) a lot. I think he’s going to probably be one of the better quarterbacks in the CAA. He’s got a great arm, and he can run. A lot like (John) Robertson. He actually has a better arm than John had, and he’s efficient.”
While the offensive line is a plus and a deep stable of running backs should provide some stability, wide receiver is definitely an issue entering the season. Talley cited Jarrett McClenton and Taurus Phillips who should be productive in the slot, but Talley bemoaned a lack of game changers on the outside.
Pitt should provide a monumental test on both sides of the ball, and the head coach should learn a lot about his team as he enters his final season at the helm.