Moderator: Talk about the Delaware game on Saturday.
Coach Talley: That game is a rough, tough game and a rivalry game, so no matter what your record is going into that game it is going to be a difficult task. We went out on a 14-0 lead which was important, I wanted to get the lead early knowing that Delaware had been struggling. They closed the gap quickly and we scored again and then all of a sudden we were in control of the game. It was a beautiful weather day when we started and then the second half got very blustery and windy - maybe 30 to 35 mile-an-hour winds. We played very well defensively. I felt like we were in control the whole game. They really had trouble throwing the ball and we loaded up on the run pretty good. Offensively, Zach Bednarczyk was really hot - he threw four touchdown passes and we had our running game going. You know when you get your running game going the passing game is going to open up for you. It was a real good game - a rivalry game. I just felt like this may be the best we played all year. Certainly, we have been trying to focus as a team into a position where we could look at them an go “okay, body of work this is a true playoff team who can make some noise in the playoffs”. I feel like we are a dangerous team to play in the playoff.
Moderator: How important was it to you to get your offense going against UD?
Coach Talley: We sure wanted to come up with an offensive attack that could support our terrific defense and we were able to really ask a lot of our offensive line kids to give us a game up front. Our running back corps has been strong. We have a real young, freshman, group of receivers. We have a young man who had a great game for us as a true freshman, Changa Hodge - he made a spectacular catch in the end zone on a real long pass play and then proceeded to make two or three great grabs so that receiver corps has been critical for us and they are growing up as we are watching them. They are not freshmen any more and I think that is really helpful at this point. With the running attack and some receivers we can count on, we are feeling comfortable and we get Alex Padovani, a wideout who has been out for three weeks, back this week as well. So, we will be well established in our receiving corps.
Moderator: What are some of the keys for success in the FCS playoffs?
Coach Talley: You got to be able to play well on the road - that is a real important ingredient. That is where the CAA gives all of us a great advantage because we have all played in some bad places to be when you are away from home. Fighting through the challenges of a tough league really helps all of us in a playoff setting. That is critical. Obviously, you have got to be healthy and we have the same 22 guys who started the season against Pittsburgh starting against St. Francis. That is really, really important - the health of your team. I am concerned that a JMU has lost their quarterback and Richmond has lost their quarterback. That is hard. That is really difficult. I hope those guys are able to get that right. Staying healthy is very critical - and then, just the ability to adjust to the style of the team that you are playing because every team that you are playing in a playoff is a winning team - they all have a formula to win games late. No matter how far you are ahead it is never enough. Every single team in the playoff has that comeback ability or they wouldn’t be in the playoff.
Moderator: You will be playing a team that won a conference championship, that is statistically very strong … it is early in the week but what do you now about St. Francis and what are some of the keys for your team in that game?
Coach Talley: We don’t know a whole lot right now. We are trying to look at as much tape as we possible can. I think the NEC is a league that has really improved dramatically and they have a win over Duquesne. We know the people at Duquesne. I have a lot of respect for them and they beat them. From what I can tell they are an extremely physical football team with a lot of size. They have CAA size. All of their O-line guys are in the 300 category. Their quarterback is a real good player, I like him. They have a terrific running back. From what I can tell, they are a rough and ready bunch. I know where their school is. I coached at St. Lawrence back in the day and we were up in the mountains and we didn’t feel like a lot of people gave us a lot of respect. So, when we came down out of the mountains and played along the NY thru-way, man, we had a chip on our shoulder and wanted to prove ourself. I think St. Francis is that kind of a team. They are a real tough bunch and we know we are going to be in for a physical encounter.
Moderator: St. Francis played Towson and Albany close this year - does that make any difference to you at all being able to see them against teams that you know in your conference?
Coach Talley: We know from watching those tapes and I remember during the year watching St. Francis line up and going “who are these guys, man, they are good” and they are going toe-to-toe with Towson and toe-to-toe with Albany. Just really impressive. They went out to Montana as well and played extremely well in Montana. They are not awed by Villanova. I can tell you that right now. They played three really outstanding teams out of league - a national power in Montana and two terrific teams in our league. They are very, very battle-tested.
Media Question: What is it like having a home playoff game on Saturday?
Coach Talley: In the past, the experience is awesome. We have a great record in the playoffs when we do play at home and of course the last game we played here was with JMU and I thought that would possibly be my last home game ever at Villanova and now, all of a sudden, we have a home playoff game. It is pretty nice to go back into our locker room and our stadium and the confines of the Villanova community where I have spent 32 years. It is very rewarding for me to have one more game on home turf.
Media Question: What do you see about St. Francis that might give you a problem on Saturday?
Coach Talley: Well, number one is their size. They are a big, physical team and they run extremely well. I think that coming into our game, this is their first playoff experience and I am sure that they will be sky-high - so, you are going to have a very emotional team coming into our stadium. Emotion can carry you a long way in the playoffs. I know that they want to prove themselves for sure and they certainly have proven themselves. You think about a game in Montana and then two CAA teams on your schedule - you are a pretty heady group, ready to play football. I am concerned that they have a lot of team speed. I am hoping we can match up with them early on.