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Austin Calitro Discusses Playoffs

Villanova Senior, Captain, Austin Calitro talked about the Cats' first playoff game against St. Francis and Saturday's match-up with South Dakota St. in the FCS Playoffs ...

Moderator: What went well for your team in Saturday’s win against St. Francis?

Austin Calitro: We were able to get off to a fast start.  Our defense didn’t really let them establish the run game that they pride themselves on and that allowed us to take away basically any kind of play action game that could try to throw at us.  On offense, I think that the fast start helped them.  Once they got rolling, it helped their confidence get sky high and they really couldn’t stop them from there.

Moderator: How much did you talk about trying to get out to an early lead and setting the tone early?

Austin Calitro: That is what all the captains and the upperclassmen players were saying.  We were trying to jump on them early and not let them think they have a chance because if you let a team like that hang around after half-time or into the fourth quarter, that is when they can pull off the upset.

VUSports: What are you thoughts on what the South Dakota St. offense is going to bring on Saturday and how your defense can combat that?

Austin Calitro: I watched film yesterday and I noticed right away that they have a pretty big line and pretty big tackles on the edge.  They are going to try to establish some kind of run game to get their tight end and their big wide receiver on the edge the ball but if we can take away their run game and make them one dimensional it will be a lot easier for us and Coach Crocker to call  plays and run defend them.  

VUSports: Now you have some momentum - the offense seems to be off and on but when they get hot they seem to stay on for a couple of quarters …

Austin Calitro: Our thing is that our defense wants to be the one to carry the team and let the offense figure out what they have to do.  The offense has been as close to perfect as you could hope for the last six quarters and then the last two of the last game we were just trying to get out of there.  Right now our thing is on defense we have got to carry the team and let our offense figure out what they have - even if it does take a half to figure it out.  

Moderator: Six sacks and a couple of INTs against St. Francis - what were you able to do so well to get pressure on them?

Austin Calitro: First of all, we were disguising our coverage and I don’t think they really caught on to it right away.  We got caught on one-on-one match-ups and we wanted two-on-one.  On top of that, our DBs played so good,  It helps us up front once the DBs are covering everything they throw at us.  He had nowhere to throw and nowhere to go because of the D-line.  We were going on all cylinders on defense. 

Moderator: You were home on Saturday and now make the trip to South Dakota.  Does the teams mind-set change when you go on the road in a game like this?  As a Senior and a Captain, what is going to be your message to some of the guys?

Austin Calitro: There is no motivation that needs to be said on my part because I think our team has the overall goal in mind.  On top of that, I think we embrace the away environment.  I think we like it because our home environment isn’t the best.  When we actually do get to play in front of a lot of people and it is a football atmosphere we enjoy it and we take everything in.  

Moderator: Is it a nice challenge to prepare for different people instead of another conference opponent?

Austin Calitro: The teams we prepare for in weeks 2 or 3 through 12 are teams we have seen a lot of over the last four or five years.  When we prepare for a team like Maine, JMU, or Richmond it is kind of a little repetitive but now it is a new challenge.  I like seeing new guys on film and seeing what other conferences have to offer and it is fun watching a team like them on film because they are a conference champion and they will be a good test for us and we will go see where we are amongst the nation.

Moderator: Do you follow the other CAA teams in the playoffs and how does the CAA grind prepare you for playoff time?

Austin Calitro: We follow it a little bit - but we kind of have been focusing just on us this year.  That seems to be helping us.  In terms of what the CAA has to offer, I think it is the best conference in the country.  I think you can tell from the results.  In this conference there is never an easy game.  You have to prepare each week because you can’t lose each week.  Any team from last place to first place can beat you and think that every team in the CAA goes with that mindset and I think that is going to help us in the playoffs because we are all so balanced and we have all been through that grind and it is an extended season and for some teams, kind of a new season for them but we are just so used to it and I think all the teams winning last week proved that.

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