Oct. 3, 2009
Villanova head coach Andy Talley...
Opening statement: Our approach to this game was as if it were a playoff game. We told the players it would be similar to that same kind of atmosphere. William & Mary did not disappoint. We have a lot of respect for them. They have improved defensively which meant that we were playing a team that is like us, with a good offense and defense and a good kicking game. I thought the penalty situation hurt them a little bit and their two turnovers in the first half gave us a break. In a game of this magnitude with two teams that are so evenly matched, it came down to us getting a break on the turnovers. There were three times that we held them to a field goal when they easily could have put touchdowns in there. It was a very fine effort by both teams, and I was especially happy with our guys on a really hot day. William & Mary plays down in Virginia where they get a little bit more of the humidity and we had played in fairly decent weather before today. It was a gutty performance by our team.
On the special play that Villanova used to score on the first play of the game: What happens is you scheme up three, four, five special plays and practice them every week and never get to call them. It really wasn't a matter of us taking advantage of anything William & Mary did or what we saw, it was just luck frankly. We came out on the first play and wanted to run something a little bit different so we tried it and it worked.
On giving up 472 yards of offense to William & Mary: The two best offensive teams we have played, Temple and William & Mary, have gotten some offensive yards against us. Our defense didn't break. The fact that we have been getting turnovers has been really helpful from an offensive standpoint as well. The pattern seems to be that our defense is opportunistic and that they are going to bend but not break against the best offensive teams.
On the Villanova defense getting a lot of interceptions: In the past, if you threw the ball against us we had defensive backs that couldn't catch. Jimmy Pitts was a great wide receiver in high school and he and Eric Loper have great hands. Ross Ventrone has really good hands. Just about everyone we have on defense also has a lot of athleticism.
On the Villanova running game: We went into the game thinking that if they stopped our running game we would lose. If they are as good as they have been at stopping the run, then if they did that to us we would be in trouble unless Chris Whitney threw for 400 yards. We had to have some running game today and Chris makes that happen with his ability to read the option.
On the amount of talking between the teams: There were a lot of words both ways. We cautioned our guys and reminded them about the discipline we expect from our players. We aren't strict disciplinarians but we talked to our players about that and told them to use their head and not say too much during the game.
On what Villanova talked about at halftime: We talked about it being very important for us to try and break the will of William & Mary. I don't know what you have to do for that to happen, but they didn't break our will and our defense never gave up in the second half. I'm not sure if we broke them but they didn't break us. William & Mary is a very good football team and you saw two really good teams out there today.
Junior quarterback Chris Whitney...
On the first play of the game: Coach told me before the game we had two plays to start off with. Once I saw the ball on the right hash and in good field position, he told me we had the position. When we kicked off and got back to where we did, I knew that would be the play.
On calling the play: I was pretty excited. I had good hopes that it was going to work. To make a statement like that on the first play is pretty big."
On offensive boost starting on the 41-yard line after the five-yard penalty: I think it was a big boost. They did stop us. We were going to have to punt and we knew we had to take advantage of that. To drive down the field and make that was a big turning point in the game. It does give us a big boost and a second chance.
Sophomore defensive back James Pitts...
On his defensive play in the end zone: Our defense never dies. We never give up. That is just how our defense is. We are a scrappy bunch of guys.
On the play where he tipped the ball which Marquis Kirkland caught for an interception: I actually ran first and then got back and that ball happened to be up and I just put my hand up. I was going for a tip, but I owe Marquis an interception from a couple of weeks ago and he has been on my back about that, so he won't be on my back now.
Junior linebacker Terence Thomas...
On the ability of the defense to force turnovers: I think it is our intensity and passion towards the game. Like [Jimmy Pitts] said, we are a hard-nosed bunch of kids and day in and day out [defensive coordinator Mark Reardon] tells us that turnovers win the game. We always are trying to force turnovers every chance we get. Get ahead on the ball and the next person tries to strip it. If the ball is in the air we make a play for it. We are always trying to get hats around the ball. The more hats we have around the ball, things happen. The ball comes out and hopefully we pick up the fumble and take it back down for a touchdown. We are always working on different ways to force turnovers and get the offense back on the field.
On Villanova's energy level: Martel Moody gave a speech [last night] before the game talking about this is the game where we have to represent where we are from. We have to represent not only Villanova but the people from our past, the people back home and how everything the other team is driving on us on third and long when our backs are against the wall, he said that we have to come out big and represent for everyone out there supporting us. It kept our drive going and kept us motivated.