Villanova Football held its annual Media Day on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at Villanova Stadium. The upcoming 2017 season will mark the first time in decades that Andy Talley will not serve as the head coach. Coach Mark Ferrante, a long time assistant coach at Villanova, replaced Andy Talley, who retired following the 2016 season. Coach Ferrante said the change from being an assistant coach to taking over the helm has gone smoothly. A comment echoed by all the players with whom we spoke on Tuesday.
Coach Ferrante said the offense returns most of its starters (or players with experience), particularly at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. Ferrante said the biggest goal on offense in 2017 is being more consistent than last year. He believes that with the return of starting QB Zach Bednarczyk and many of the primary running backs, such as Aaron Forbes, and receivers, such as Ryan Bell, the team is primed to be more consistent. Successfully replacing two key linemen from last year, including NFL draftee Brad Seaton, also will go a long way to helping the Wildcats put points on the board.
On defense, the biggest hurdle will be replacing two major players from last year’s playoff team, All-American DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (a 2nd-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs), and LB Austin Calitro, an undrafted free agent, playing with the San Francisco 49ers. The 2017 Villanova Wildcats’ team has a corps of tough, hard-hitting linebackers, including Co-Captain Ed Shockley and Jeff Steeb, and an experienced and talented secondary lead by Rob Rolle, the CAA’s pre-season defensive player of the year. The D- line returns two very experienced and heady Nose guards: Co-Captain Ricky Young and Bryan White.
We took the chance to speak with new head coach Mark Ferrante, and players QB Zach Bednarczyk, DL Ricky Young, & LB Ed Shockley about the upcoming season. You can view those interviews below:
Coach Ferrante also mentioned how invaluable it is to have former coach Talley’s office right down the hall, should he want to run anything by him for advice.
After the brief media interview session, the team broke down into an open practice as they prepare to open their season at Lehigh University on Saturday, September 2nd. Villanova then returns to the area on Saturday, September 9 when they travel downtown to Lincoln Financial Field to play the Temple Owls. Coach Ferrante commented that he was content to start with Lehigh in week one because it is a team that plays at the same level (FCS) as the Wildcats. But he said, he, and the team, are also looking forward to playing the Temple Owls (FBS) on September 9 at Lincoln Financial Field.
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[Photos by D. Jacob Miller Photography]
[Article by Stephen Miller]
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