Expectations high for Villanova football this season
Star QB John Robertson eager to lead the nationally ranked Wildcats.
MANY THINGS have changed around the Villanova football program in the last year. Last summer at media day, the questions were about how the team would rebound after struggling the previous season. This year, the conversation was focused more on just how good this season's team could be.
"With 17 starters back, a lot of people feel like we would be one of the teams to beat," head coach Andy Talley said yesterday. "We are no stranger to that, having won a national championship and backing it up with a semifinal appearance. I like the idea of being out in front, and having a good team with high expectations. We want our program to always be that way and be perceived that way."
After a 2-9 season in 2011, things looked bleak for the Wildcats. They turned things around last season with a solid 8-4 campaign that left them ranked 18th in Football Championship Subdivision Coaches' Poll and 15th by The Sports Network. They enter this season ranked ninth in the coaches' poll and fifth by TSN.
"We had hoped that we could get back quickly, and I wasn't sure we could get back as quick as we did," Talley said. "The advance of John Robertson at quarterback allowed us to. Obviously, he was the best freshman in the country, and that got us back to the top, much quicker than I thought."
Robertson had an outstanding freshman season at quarterback, passing for 1,965 yards and rushing for 1,021. This year, the expectation is that he will improve on those numbers, and also lead the team.
"He is brimming with confidence, and really perceived as the leader of the team," Talley said. "I think the team pretty much knows that we are going to hang our hat on him. He acts the same. He is the same happy-go-lucky guy. He has no ego. He's a very humble guy, and we just have a guy that is pretty established. When you come into a game , he is the guy you have to stop."
"I love being the leader of the team and everything," Robertson said. "But, like I said, my teammates help me out a lot with this. I am really looking forward to this year."
Robertson and his teammates will begin the season Aug. 31 at Boston College.
"It's a different perspective going into each game," Robertson said. "Last year, nobody thought we were going to be good, but now they are preparing for us to be a very good team. We just need to go out and practice hard every day."
"Our approach hasn't changed at all," senior defensive lineman Antoine Lewis said. "We approach things the same way, regardless of what we are ranked. At the end of the day, it's just a piece of paper, or an article on the Internet. So we come out and work, and strive to get better, day in and day out, and take advantage of the opportunities we get in this preseason camp."