Talley on Maine and JMU

During the CAA Coaches call today, Andy Talley talked about Villanova's win over Maine and the upcoming showdown with JMU

Moderator: Talk about the win over Maine on Saturday and what impressed you about your teams' effort.


Andy Talley: I can start with what didn't impress us.  First of all, we fumbled a punt on our 20 yard line that put our defense up against the wall.  Then we had two punts blocked and then we had a kick-off returned against us for a touchdown and then had an extra point blocked.  In all the years that I've been coaching I don't think I have ever had those four things happen in the same game.  Talk about kicking mistakes, we had enough in that one game for a year.  It is miraculous that we even won the game.  Maine is a tough out, especially up there.  I thought they played really well.  It was one of those games where you better hang on, which we did in the first quarter, and we barely got a field goal which was surprising because we haven't been great at kicking field goals but our guy kicked two - one of 41 and one of 43, which was phenomenal for us.  Then we had a drive at the end of the half and put it in to make it 10-0 so I felt a little comfortable but then we kicked off to start the second half and their guy ran it back 90-some yards for a touchdown.  All of a sudden, it was 10-7 and you're in Maine in November and a lot of bad things can happen up there.  We were fortunate that our defense came to play.  Maine did a great job against our running game - we couldn't run inside and we couldn't run outside.  We couldn't run the ball - which we do for a living.  Zach Bednarczyk had a great game throwing the ball with three touchdowns - threw for over 300 yards - and was pin-point accurate.  He hit everybody in stride.  It added up to our passing game saved us and Zach played the best game of his career, I think.  We were fortunate to get out of there with a victory.


Question: Let's talk about the two quarterbacks in Saturday's game - Bednarczyk and Bryan Schor.  From what you have seen, what is similar about these quarterbacks - we have seen they both can run and Bednarczyk showed he can throw the ball accurately.  How comparative are they?


Andy Talley: I think they are very comparable.  Both of them are tremendous players.  They are dual-threat quarterbacks that can run and throw.  Bryan has a little more savvy because he has been around a little longer.  He is really crafty and he just exudes confidence and I think Zach is starting to have that same type of swagger.  It doesn't matter for either of these guys - it can be rain, sleet or snow, and they can perform and if they can't throw it, they will figure out how to run it.  They are both real good at finding people on the run - especially Bryan Schor - he has done a great job with that.  I have watched the JMU - Richmond game five times and just continue to be amazed at how long he keeps plays going.  I think it is a match-up of two really, really good quarterbacks and two football teams that are on a hard charge.  I am pretty excited about the game and thank God it is at Villanova. 


Question: What has been the biggest key component to the success your defense has had?


Andy Talley: We are very well coached, Billy Crocker is our defensive coordinator and he is a young guy with a lot of fire and zip and we have a real good pass rush group up front.  Tanoh Kpassagnon and Bryan Osei are really good players on the edge.  I think we have some very good secondary kids that can run and our linebacker corps is solid.  At times we do bend but we haven't broken that much and we haven't given up a lot of big plays.  I think that is the big thing - if people are going to score on us they are going to have to drive seventy-five or sixty-five yards.  At least that is the way it has been.  Now, with JMU, with Abdullah, he can rip one off in a heartbeat, Schor can throw an eighty-yard touchdown in a heartbeat so, we have to make sure that whatever they get against us they have to earn.  That is kind of the way our defense has been moving along.  The biggest thing is that we can run and in the CAA you have to be able to run because everybody has a pretty good skill set.


Daily News Record: Following up on Schor, do you have to add another defender to spy him or change what you do defensively because of what he brings with the run and the passing game?


Andy Talley: Yeah, I think so that always is a problem for any defense where you are playing a quarterback that can pull it down and run because he can either get them back on schedule or ahead of schedule and I think your defense has to be cognizant of a guy like that rather than a pocket guy who hangs in there and you know where he is going to throw it from.   That is what makes him a terrific quarterback and so dangerous.  And that is not easy to spy him because if you spy him you are going to give up some coverage as well.  So you know, you are betwixt and between and I know you heard a couple of the other coaches earlier talk about how they tried to defend him and the truth of the matter is there is no really good way to defend him.  Probably you are going to have to try and score as many points as JMU is going to score to stay in the game. 


VUSports: Against Maine, your defense did a wonderful job, what are the keys for your defense against JMU to try to slow them down given the way they have been putting points on the board?


Andy Talley: We have got to be able to run the football.  We certainly couldn't do it Saturday.  We have got to be able to take some time off the clock and keep the ball out of his hands.  That is the first thing you are going to try to do but I don't know if ... well Richmond got in a shooting match with them and Richmond has the kind of skill set to do that.  I don't think we have that kind of skill set here - I think we are going to have to keep the game somewhere in the teens or the low twenties to have a chance because we are not a high volume scoring outfit.  I think we have an average of about 25 points a game and we are giving up about 12.  It is one of those deals.  It is a great offense against a really good defense and their defense is really good as well.  It is a Championship game. It is one of those games where you are going to see two really good teams go at it and not even to mention turnovers - you could turn over the ball one time and you could be in harm's way with this team.


Moderator: You touched on turnovers - there were four turnovers and all if not most of them were in the red zone including a couple of picks from Rob Rolle and then the defense on the fake field goal.  Talk about your defense's ability to come up big in some tough situations there. 


Andy Talley: Well that is the athleticism that you need to have when you are up against the wall and we were certainly up against the wall in the red zone.  The Maine quarterback is still developing and he threw some balls I think he wish he didn't and I don't think Bryan Schor is going to do that.  I think he knows exactly where he is going to go with the ball because you are playing against the elite quarterback in the league.  We are going to have to put a pretty good rush on him and really the receivers for JMU are excellent so we are going to have a load on our hands for sure.

Moderator: One of the guys on the receiving end of some of Zach's throws was Ryan Bell with a career high 58 yards and the 2 touchdown catches ... talk about his performance on Saturday.

Andy Talley: Zach played the best game of his career.  He was laser sharp and he had been laser sharp all week - he just looked great in practice.  I think he got away from the concussion.  I think his head is clear and he was just throwing the ball with great authority.  Ryan Bell is a half-breed, tight-end / receiver so he is not a big guy that is going to knock you off the ball but he can get open and he has great hands.  He made two phenomenal catches in the game.  He has become quite a weapon for us in the middle of our offense.

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