A seemingly relaxed Coach Andy Talley and members of the 2013 Villanova University Wildcats football team greeted the media at Villanova Stadium on August 20th, to field questions regarding the upcoming season. Villanova will open the 2013 season on Saturday, August 31 , with a noon time game on the road against Boston College, a member of the ACC. The Boston College game will be televised on ESPN NEWS.
Coach Talley said his team is looking forward to playing Boston College, coached by former Temple head coach, Steve Addazio. “It is exciting for us to play up at BC, we have had a rivalry with them over the years,” Talley told the media.
Villanova will play a very competitive 11-game schedule in 2013, including eight CAA conference games, and three non-conference games. In the preseason poll released by the Sports Network last week, Villanova is ranked fifth in the country. Five other CAA teams are also ranked in the Sports Network poll’s top twenty-five, including Towson, New Hampshire, James Madison, Stony Brook, and Richmond. Villanova will play four of the five (all but Richmond) during the 2013 season. Villanova was also picked as the preseason favorite to win the CAA conference crown.
Villanova returns 16 starters and 35 letter winners from last year’s team that went 8-4 overall and 6-2 in league play. Also returning are sophomore receiver/running back Jamal Abdur-Rahman and senior offensive lineman Dan Shirey, both of whom missed last season. Last year, the Wildcats earned a share of the CAA conference title and a fourth playoff appearance in the last five seasons.
Coach Talley expressed comfort with the depth and experience of his team. In particular, he stated that he has players with a good deal of playing experience at most positions, including quarterback, wide receiver, running back, tight end, offensive line, linebacker, and defensive line. Finding replacements for Ronnie Akins and Eric Loper in the secondary is a high priority for the Wildcats in the preseason. Shirey and senior defensive lineman Antoine Lewis will serve as co-captains for the 2013 team.
Barring injuries, the Wildcats have the talent and experience to make a serious run for the CAA conference title and to once again make the playoffs. On offense, If QB John Robertson, running backs Kevin Monangai and Austin Medley, and wide receiver Joe Price can perform at a similar level to last season, Abdur-Rahman, who has Brian Westbrookish skills, can return to form, and the O-line measures up to expectations, the Wildcats have a chance to have a special season.
Likewise on the defensive side of the ball, if Rakim Cox and Antoine Lewis play up to their capability, the linebacking corps measures up to their potential, and the secondary led by cornerback Craig James, and safeties Joe Sarnese and Matt McCann can find competent replacements for Loper and Akins, Villanova will have a very successful season and be in the hunt for another National championship.
You can view additional photos and interview clips with Andy Talley and several of the players below (click thumbnails to enlarge photos):