Sept. 21, 2013
Villanova head coach Andy Talley...
Opening statement: First of all, I thought Stony Brook really showed a lot of signs of the overtime they played in Buffalo. I think they had about 100 plays, and I thought they came in without their legs in the first half. That was my evaluation. I went like, wow, you can see that these guys really extended themselves in the Buffalo game. I think that hurt them a little bit.
We on the other hand, had the week off. We're trying to lick our wounds and find out if we could execute a little better. One of the things we knew we could do was to run the quarterback a little more. [John Robertson] felt that he was more comfortable in a game where he gets to run more. Of course, we've been trying to hold him back to save him so he doesn't get beat up too much. We probably held him back against BC and Fordham. I think from that point on, we played an exceptional game.
It's one of the better games I think we've played here at Villanova on both sides of the ball. Our defense tackled well, except on their tremendous receiver Malcolm Eugene. We couldn't tackle him; he was really exceptional. But I thought in general, we tackled well, and I was really pleased with our defense. It was a really good rhythm between our offense and our defense, and we had a couple of easy touchdowns. I think the trick play is always good when it works, and it did. The flea flicker, and then the other one down by the goal line - they play man coverage, and we had an opportunity to get a guy wide open there.
But in general, I was very pleased with the overall play. I think John had an outstanding game, and when he plays that way, we can beat a lot of people.
On the team's improvement: I think that's the thing we've been challenging them to do. We haven't played two good halves back-to-back except for the first half at BC. We haven't been playing Villanova football, which is kind of what you looked at today - cleaner, crisper, guys in position where they're supposed to be, enthusiastic, good tackling, physical and good execution. It's like having a really sharp sports car that's not operating on all eight cylinders. We finally put that together team, and it was a very big game for us. It was a must-win game for us. We've got to make a run here if we're going to be anything special nationally and within the league. If we can be special within the league - we have a very difficult schedule. We've got William & Mary here, who gave West Virginia a run, and we've got Towson and New Hampshire back to back. We needed a win that defined us a little bit. I don't know how good Stony Brook's going to be, but they certainly had some preseason hype. We considered them a top 12 or 10 team. I thought we got it done in good fashion.
Sophomore quarterback John Robertson...
On running the ball: At the beginning of the season, they didn't want me to run as much. But I feel as a player, running hard and then being able to drop back and pass, it's a good rhythm.
On playing better: I have to play well. When you're a quarterback, it's basically your team. When you don't win, it's on you. I'm totally OK with that. The last few games I didn't play as well as I could, and that's why we lost. I feel like today we all played well. I thought I played well; I was OK with my performance. I thought the defense did great today and helped me out a lot. We didn't have to come out from behind, and it helped out a lot.
Senior defensive end Rakim Cox...
On the defense: Knowing Stony Brook, we knew they liked to run the ball, so we knew we had to get a couple more d-line guys in there. It definitely helps us. We stopped the run pretty well today. Having four in there definitely helps our defense out, helps our team out.
On needing the win: We needed it a lot. Starting out 0-2 is no fun, and with it in the press and on campus always on our heads about it. With how we started the season, it's definitely the push start for the rest of the season.
Junior safety Joe Sarnese...
On the defense: I think the biggest difference for us is, the past few weeks we've had people trying to do other people's jobs, and this week we were on the same page.
On his touchdown: We're always talking about stripping the ball every play - you never know. When it comes out - we call that a country ball. You scoop it up and I know all my teammates are going to block for me. So I just hauled into the endzone.
Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore...
Opening statement: Congratulate Villanova. I thought they played a good game; didn't make mistakes. They came off of a game where, two weeks ago, they turned over the ball six times, so that was a point of emphasis for them. I thought the quarterback [John Robertson] had a very good game, statistically had a very good day. They were able to run the ball on first down and set up some good situations for them that way.
I thought they schemed a couple things, had a couple big plays. After that, I thought it was a pretty physical game on both sides. I was proud of our team in the second half and if you take away that fumble recovery, it was a pretty even game in the second half.
On Villanova's trick plays: That was good coaching on their part. They had the extra week to prepare that, and they took advantage of that - they had a couple things they were able to do. Kudos to them, and Coach Talley and his staff.