It is Homecoming Weekend at Villanova and the Cats are scheduled to kick-off against Albany at 3:30 PM (610 Sports WTEL-AM). ‘Nova lead the all-time series 2-0 - including a 37-0 win at Albany last season.
The concern for the Cats entering the game will be the availability and effectiveness of QB, Zach Bednarczyk. He underwent concussion protocol through the week after being injured in the game at Richmond. If he can’t go or is limited in his effectiveness, his back-up, Adeyemi DaSilva may be pressed into a significant role.
Coach Talley addressed this concern on Monday, stating “Well the first thing you have to do with him [DaSilva] is dumb the offense down a little bit because you can’t give him all of the exceptions. We change at the line of scrimmage a lot so we will have to limit how much we will do of that. He is a run/pass threat. He can do things with his feet as well as his arm so you have design enough stuff to make sure that you keep him healthy throughout the game because we don’t really have a third that can go in and play right now. It is one of those things where you have to be really careful what you go and do with him. But it is going to be a real complete revised kind of game plan if he is going to be our quarterback and I will not know that until the end of the week. Everybody in our league has dealt with a concussion - he may be ruled out of he may be allowed to play but if he is allowed to play we won’t have a lot of time to work with him. It is not the best situation when you are playing a team like Albany who if you look was doing a fabulous job and they could have won their game against Richmond. Unfortunately they didn’t in triple overtime and then they went to Maine and had a chance to sneak away with that one and that is a very difficult place to play and everyone knows that. So they could very well could be undefeated. They are very good - they have now become an upper-level team in the CAA and somebody where you better bring your best game when you play them.”
Earlier this week, Andy Talley also spoke about the keys to the game from his perspective, saying “We can’t turn the ball over three times that’s for sure or we will get beat. So the first thing we will need to do is get back to playing sound football. Then the big adjustment for us will be if Zach doesn’t play, how are we going to get it done with a rookie quarterback. We will really have to engineer something that will work against them. They are a really good team and we are going to have to figure it out. Those are the two most important keys and then the third one always is the kicking game. You can’t drop punts - you can’t fumble punts. We have to do a better job there.”
If DaSilva is the starter or is pressed into full service, expect more of a defensive game in which Villanova tries to utilize a running game to control the clock. If Bednarczyk is ready to go - ‘Nova will open the offense up a bit more and exhibit a more balanced attack.
Villanova and Albany lead the CAA in Scoring defense - allowing 16.3 and 19.3 ppg respectively. The Cats defense is ranked 5th nationally while Albany is ranked 12th. Albany is second in the the nation in turnover margin (+15). ‘Nova allows only 94.3 ypg rushing - tops in the CAA.
Keys to the game:
- Availability & effectiveness of Bednarczyk
- Time of possession
- Villanova’s pass defense and ability to put pressure on the QB