Villanova’s Andy Talley expects the playoffs again in 2014
Villanova’s Andy Talley has been the head coach of the Wildcat’s football team for 28 season and has seen a little of everything. Sporting a 191-121-1 career record, the Bryn Mawr native has led Villanova to eight conference titles in four different conferences. In 2009, the Wildcats won the FCS National Championship over Montana. The coach recently talked to Metro about everything from recruiting to facing FBS teams, to perhaps joining a major FBS conference.
It sounds like you had a very productive signing day. How are you feeling looking over your incoming freshman class?
I think what happens with the recruiting every year at this level, because you don’t have 25 [scholarships] like the [FBS] schools do, you try to cover the areas where you have players graduating and you have slots. We needed one quarterback and I think we got a really good one early in Zach Bednarczyk, and we needed two offensive line men, one receiver, a slot running back and a true running back. You kind of recruit according to positional integrity.
Aside from incoming freshmen, why is this time of year important for a college football program?
Right now, ever since they came back in January you are trying to get them ready for spring practice. You have 15 days coming up of spring ball, and in the mean time, in addition to getting them ready conditioning-wise, you are trying to get everybody bigger, stronger and faster in the offseason. It’s a very critical time for the growth period of a lot of these guys to continue to try and reach their potential physically. All of those components you are looking for in the fall, you’re looking for those players who are on the rise to fit into the scheme.
Boston College is a tough way to start a season. Are you excited for the match up?
We always open up with a [FBS] team, and it’s extremely difficult to beat those guys. They are a rough group to play away. You play that game for money, its a money game. I have never been for those games because nine times out of 10 you lose. We’ve beaten Rutgers and Temple a couple times, but when you’re playing Boston College, Syracuse, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, you’re probably going to get beat.
Talk of Villanova being an FBS program has mostly dissipated. It it still something the future might hold?
I think we’re going to [remain] an FCS team. There was a lot of drama about the Big East splitting up, and now that they have settled down to really a basketball league, and Villanova basketball is a big part of that, I don’t think there is the push now to go [FBS]. There really is no reason to if we are happy at the FCS level, it’s a level we can compete in year in and year out, and I think that issue has gone by the boards. We are looking forward to being one of the better teams in the country in FCS.
What are your early expectations for 2014?
This season was really disappointing. We averaged 30 points per game offensively and we gave up 22, and normally with those numbers you win eight games. We lost the New Hampshire game by one, the Maine game by three and the Fordham game by three. We had a lot of injuries and they came at the wrong time for us. The way our schedule fell, we ended up playing the really good teams in a row and on the road. We ended up 5-3 in the [Colonial Athletic Conference], 6-2 would have gotten us into the playoffs.
Can close losses like that help a team get hungry and more experienced?
You use it as a motivator. My conversation with the team was that if we had won one one-point gamer we would have been in the playoffs… One of the things we need to accomplish as a program is that when we get into those one, two or three point games we win them.