Category Archives: Andy Talley

Know Your 2017 Opponents: Villanova

(Photo Credit: Akira Suwa/Philly.com)

Writing a season preview about Villanova used to be the easiest job in the world.

Just grab your boilerplate biographical information about future hall-of-fame head coach Andy Talley, do a little Googling of the Wildcat's next up-and-coming NFL prospects, come up with a dozen synonyms for the words "tough" and "challenge", and the preview basically writes itself.

But this season's task of facing Villanova is simply different than all of those other years.  Talley, the only coach Villanova has ever known since restarting their football program in 1985 after a failed attempt to pull the plug on it in 1981 in the middle of spring practice, has finally retired from the head coaching ranks.  While the same familiar trappings of high preseason rankings and potential NFL prospects remain, their new head coach, longtime Talley assistant Mark Ferrante, is now running the Wildcats and will be seeking his first win as a collegiate head football coach.

The three things that are certain is that the Wildcats are ranked No. 10 in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll to start the year, that they're ranked No. 9 in the FCS Coaches' Poll, and that when they come and visit Murray Goodman Stadium on September 2nd at 12:30 PM, they'll be playing Lehigh in a battle between Top 25 teams.
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Villanova Wins A Game of Inches, Defeats Lehigh, 26-21

"It's a game of inches," head coach Andy Coen said after the Mountain Hawks had just fallen to nationally-ranked Villanova on a hot, humid, thick September evening.  "I just told these two guys walking across the field here (senior LB Colton Caslow and junior WR Troy Pelletier), it really is a game of inches. We were this close to beating a very good football team."

Indeed they were, even if, after a disappointing loss last week to Monmouth, many across the nation had written off Lehigh's chances of an upset of the team ranked No. 19 in the FCS Coaches' Poll.

Stung from a first half against Monmouth when they failed to score a single point, Lehigh battled hard in the first half and played "outstanding" Coen said, as the Mountain Hawks jumped to a 14-6 lead.  After missing a field goal falling behind 20-14, Lehigh rallied to retake the lead, and after falling behind one last time, the defense forced a stop and handed the ball back to the offense, with a chance to win.

But it came down to one play - converting a challenging 4th and 10, and a big pitch-and-catch that ended up just short of the yardage necessary to keep the drive going.

Last week, it seemed to many fans for it to be nearly impossible for the Mountain Hawks to be able to compete with the No. 19 team in the nation.  Instead, here was Lehigh, inches away, just short of sending the home fans to bed without victory cigars.

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Lehigh At Villanova Narrative Street: "Holy Cow. Villanova’s Defensive Line."

Lehigh fans's reaction to the big task ahead of them this weekend seemed to echo what head coach Andy Coen said in this week's Lehigh Football Report from LehighSports.com.

"Their defensive line.  Holy Cow," he said.  "Their technique, their defensive end - ready for these numbers?  He's 295 lbs, 6'7, and he's got an arm span that you can't believe and he just wreacks havoc.  It's not just him.  It's a defensive philosophy that Villanova has had for the last 10, 12 years, and they've always played great defense."

When look at Lehigh's #NarrativeStreet this week, we can start there - the Mountain Hawks will be going up against "an FBS-level defense," as Andy said.


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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

Villanova is listed as No. 22 in the STATS Top 25 poll this week, and No. 19 in the Coaches' poll.  Lehigh, as has been the case since 2014, is unranked.

Additionally, since resuming play against the Wildcats in the modern era in 2004, Lehigh is 1-4 against Villanova.

So, simple matter for Lehigh to put the Monmouth loss behind them and kick off the rest of the 2016 football season with a win, right?

Not exactly.

That the Villanova game this Saturday will be a big challenge appears to be something head coach Andy Coen, junior OL Tim O'Hara and the rest of the Mountain Hawks are quite aware, but that doesn't mean that anyone will be backing down.

"The message we're going to have is don't get on the bus unless you think you're going to win the game," Coen said.  "So, we're looking forward to it."
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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

Villanova is listed as No. 22 in the STATS Top 25 poll this week, and No. 19 in the Coaches' poll.  Lehigh, as has been the case since 2014, is unranked.

Additionally, since resuming play against the Wildcats in the modern era in 2004, Lehigh is 1-4 against Villanova.

So, simple matter for Lehigh to put the Monmouth loss behind them and kick off the rest of the 2016 football season with a win, right?

Not exactly.

That the Villanova game this Saturday will be a big challenge appears to be something head coach Andy Coen, junior OL Tim O'Hara and the rest of the Mountain Hawks are quite aware, but that doesn't mean that anyone will be backing down.

"The message we're going to have is don't get on the bus unless you think you're going to win the game," Coen said.  "So, we're looking forward to it."
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