Sept. 26, 2009
Villanova head coach Andy Talley...
Opening statement: I was hoping we could have a game where we put it all together, where we could come out and have a pretty good run-pass and play good defense and put together a victory that made us look like we were a team on the rise. I was hoping we could do that and I thought we did that today. We made a statement that we have some weapons and a good defense and if we come to dance and play hard we have a chance to be a very good football team. We just had a really terrific day.
On running for over 400 yards: I definitely like that. It had a lot to do with the guy to my left [running back Aaron Ball] and the guy to my right [offensive lineman Ben Ijalana] had a lot to do with it. Last week we struggled up front a little bit but when you can dominate up front you can really run and pass and those are the things we were able to do today. When you have backs like Aaron and Angelo Babbaro that can get up-field quickly, it causes a lot of problems for a defense.
On whether running the ball was the game plan coming in: We didn't necessarily come out with the idea that we were going to run the ball. We came out saying let's execute our offense, so if it is a run or a pass let's just execute it and not have a breakdown here or there. We read the option well today. There were holes to be hit and we hit them and just kept climbing.
On starting freshman Dan Shirey at right guard: It was Dan's first start as a true freshman and [senior] Jon Bugli moved from guard to tackle. There are some adjustments to be made there because now he is playing against a speed kid. There was a little bit of concern over that. Chidozie Ekweozor could have played a little bit today but we decided to hold him out until next week. Now we have developed five gus on the offensive line and a spare and that should help us.
On Villanova's schedule: I think if we look at the schedule now it has unfolded very nicely for us. Last week Penn gave us a nice challenge but I think we had more talent and were able to get it done. Lehigh was a nice game for us before that and we had to peak against Temple. I don't think we played that great against Temple but we played well enough to win. We saw today in Temple's game against Buffalo that they wound up being an excellent football team. This game for us today was like a crescendo to get us into that fifth game where we had enough reps and had gotten enough work because now there isn't anything we haven't seen. Next week we have William & Mary. We know them well and they know us well and it will be a war, a typical CAA game. We can't get too high for them because then we have to get on a plane and go to New Hampshire the week after and then go to James Madison after that. Our momentum has carried us nicely to where we are now. I think we get lined up and we are a pretty good team without a lot of penalties or making dumb mistakes. It was a fairly crisp game we played today.
Junior offensive lineman Ben Ijalana...
On the offensive line today compared to last week at Penn: We had Dan Shirey making his first start today but I don't think that was the problem last week. Last week the problem was with our techniques and blown assignments. The line got called out last Sunday as you can imagine and when we got to practice on Tuesday and the rest of the week we knew we had to perform like we did today. We were able to go out and do that today.
On how the offensive line got called out following the game at Penn: The coaches called us out and it goes like a trickle down effect from Coach Talley and the assistant coaches. [Offensive line coach Mark Ferrante] lets us know he feels and we know by the drills that were done during the week. The coaches said what they had to say and we got together as a unit ourselves and knew that we had to get going. The offense had struggled the last few games but we had to get focused because that won't cut it in our league. The CAA is tough and you just have to go out and play. We had a very good performance today.
On whether today's performance by the offensive line was anticipated: I think that we saw this coming after our practices this week. You always hope for that and from the first series where we scored quickly we kind of knew. That was especially so when we put in the second offensive line and those guys did well too. When we don't do well all of us take the blame so today it was the same thing with being successful. Everyone knew we had to get on our horse and go after last week.
Junior running back Aaron Ball...
On the running game: We were called out this week and the coaches got on us about our assignments and being focused. Today we tried to come out and make a statement. We got the whole team going and kept ourselves in a rhythm to keep the offense going.
On the team's big running plays: The coaches always tell us to be patient and see what the guys do up front, then to explode through. We have to be patient and when you see the holes be ready to explode. The coaches tell us we have to take whatever is there.