Notes from Andy Talley's Monday CAA Teleconference

Villanova head coach ready to start season against Syracuse.

Andy Talley has won 204 games as the head football coach at Villanova University. But even after 29 years at the helm, he has no answer for the hostile environment that awaits the Wildcats this Friday night.

Talley spoke to the media Monday morning during the Colonial Athletic Association's weekly coaches teleconference. He spoke of the various challenges his squad will face during its season-opening clash with Syracuse.

"There's no way you can get ready for (playing in the Carrier Dome)," Talley said. "It's going to be loud, raucous and noisy."

More important to Talley, though, is what happens on the field, and in that regard the Wildcats are facing a steep uphill climb.

Although Villanova's spread attack averaged almost 31 points per game last season, Talley is concerned about the physicality and aggressiveness of the SU defense. He expects to face a lot of blitzes and creative packages, things the Cats didn't see much of against 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Boston College.

"Last year, Boston College sat in a basic set and we had some success," Talley said. "Syracuse puts pressure on you and your offensive line, and backs are going to have to pick up the blitz early in the game if the quarterback is going to survive."

As a coach who prioritizes the long-term health and success of his team, Talley admitted that he would prefer not to face a 1-A opponent the opening week of the season.

Case in point, Villanova lost three starters to injury in the aforementioned BC game last season. This year, the team is already without left tackle Brad Seaton and guard Nico D'Angelo. Not to mention, Talley is working in a new kicker and punter for 2014.

But for financial reasons, such contests are often necessary for FCS schools to survive. So all Talley wants to see Friday is improvement from his team and an intact roster after the game.

"You've got to stay healthy, and the game takes a lot out of you," he said. "(My players) are very excited about the game and can't wait to get there."  



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