In recent years, Villanova Football's offensive line has been among the best units on the team. Coach-in-waiting Mark Ferrante (who runs the OL) has curated the group to be a revolving door of talent. He's recruited spectacularly, and he encourages plenty of rotation which gets multiple players experience. This makes replacing injured and/or departing players a much easier task.
It's been a well-oiled machine. Until last year.
In 2015, Villanova finished dead-last in sacks allowed (30) in the CAA. A 5th place finish in rushing yards per game (185.8) wasn't awful, but definitely below the high standard the group had set in previous years. A lot of that has to do with a young quarterback finding his feet. Injuries didn't help either - left tackle Brad Seaton was lost for the year early, and veteran Kyle Wallace spent some time on the sideline too. Their replacements were a pair of true freshmen, and a lack of quality depth was exposed.
So what happens in 2016? Hard to say. The line loses three starters in Jake Prus, Kyle Wallace and Jonathan Green. That would be troubling in most years, especially given what happened last season. But Andy Talley seemed buoyant about the group at media day, calling it perhaps the biggest group he's ever had. Let's examine that:
VU Hoops Projected starting lineup
LT: Sr. Brad Seaton - 6'7", 310 lbs.
LG: Sr. Nico D'Angelo - 6'3" 280 lbs.
C: Jr. Matt Donoghue - 6'4" 280 lbs.
RG: So. Louie Csaszar - 6'3" 305 lbs.
RT: So. Ethan Greenidge - 6'4" 345 lbs.
Yeah, that's well over half a metric ton of beef up front. And all of those guys started at least one game last year, while playing in multiple. So experience shouldn't be an issue. With the running game like to be the focus, these guys can look forward to teeing off on the opposition - but how well they protect Bednarczyk remains to be seen.
Chemistry is a little tougher to put a thumb on, but Seaton/D'Angelo have played a bunch together, and Csaszar and Greenidge got some games in as well. How Donoghue (or whoever starts at center) pulls the group together will be key. But there's reason for optimism.
Depth hopefully won't be an issue either. Junior Brandon Hitner will play plenty, and could even start. Alex Coren and Chris King (formerly Buchalski) have experience as well if the injury bug hits and junior Mike Williams has switched from the DL To the OL. And Ferrante just landed an monster recruiting class featuring guys that have the size to play early and longer term projects with upside.
After an off-year in 2015, expect this group to bounce back in a big way and get back to reloading ever year after.