Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante…
Opening statement: Well, another typical hard-fought CAA conference game. We took the opening drive down the field, scored a touchdown and used a good bit of the clock, and then Zach went down and we had to put in Jack Schetelich, our redshirt freshman quarterback had to take the rest of the game. That’s the way the CAA is. You’re going to take a lot of punches and you’re going to hopefully give a lot of punches. Our defense really stepped up. They got some great turnovers for us and gave us some short fields in the second half. Jack and the offense were able to punch a couple late scores in and come away with the victory. This is the first CAA win for this team this year, so we are real excited about that. We are looking to hopefully build on this and continue to get better each week.
On injuries to Zach Bednarczyk and Trey Johnson: Zach got rolled on. The pocket kind of collapsed on him as he delivered the ball. I don’t know who it was. To be honest with you I don’t know if it was the defender or maybe one of our guys being tripped up and pushed back into him, but he felt a little pressure on the outside of his knee and that’s what made him go down. They pulled [Trey] out. He wanted to go back in. They gave him the concussion protocol and they held him out. We’ll go through concussion protocol with Trey and hopefully we’ll have him back for next week depending on how he’s feeling.
On the long opening series: We had a penalty on one of those plays and then we did a great job converting and overcoming that. That’s kind of what happened to us last week against Albany to be honest with you. They were keeping us off the field. I’m not saying that was our game plan going in, but whenever you can take almost half the quarter off the clock, take the opening drive and finish with a touchdown, that’s huge. Zach mad some good throws and we made some good runs, and we obviously got some really good third down conversions to keep that drive alive. When you’re able to do that hopefully that can be the end result.
On the play of the defense given the team’s injuries: The injury bug, we seem to be a little snake-bit there right now and it seems to be coming more on the offensive side, not that we don’t have a couple of defensive guys. The one to my right, Ed [Shockley], he’s playing, he’s feeling good, but he gets banged up a lot the way he plays so physical. We’re not 100 percent over there, but these guys find a way to stay on the field and obviously tonight they found a way to get [Towson’s] offense off the field. I feel bad in a way that we’re putting them in so many dire positions where we’re reliant on them. Obviously tonight, our defense, it didn’t seem to bother them at all. They just took the field each time and came up with big stop after big stop, and toward the end there turnover after turnover. That’s what sealed the game for us and, as I mentioned, they gave us those short fields at the end.
On being 1-for-11 on third down: You never want to go 1-for-11. Our goal is to go 45 percent on third down and we’ve been pretty good with that the majority of the year to be honest with you. Tonight for whatever reason we got ourselves in some third and abnormally long situations. Those are hard to convert. I would like to have a few of those 3rd-and-1’s like Towson seemed to have for themselves and run a quarterback sneak here and there to pick up the first down, but it’s always something. There’s always something to work on and hopefully there’s not many things to work on. So if this week it’s third down conversion then we’ll work on third down conversions. Last week [at Albany] we had a chance for 28 points with four trips in the end zone and only came up with 10 in regulation, so last week maybe was a little more emphasis on red zone offense. We’re going to do what we do. We’re going to have a third down period during the week, we’re going to have a red zone period during the week, we’re going to have a short yardage goal line period during the week, and hopefully with all the practice that accumulated week after week after week you can continue to improve in all the areas mentioned above.
On the play of Jack Schetelich: He threw a pass and completed the first touchdown there, and then in the second half he ran in for two scores. Jack did a great job coming in for Zach. He’s a competitor. It’s hard when you get put in that situation because Zach, your No. 1 guy, gets the majority of the team reps in practice so it’s hard to come in with very minimal team reps in practice during the course of a whole week and then go out there and be thrust into it at game speed. Depending on Zach’s situation, Jack will get the reps so hopefully he will be a little more comfortable, but the way he ran the ball tonight, I think our opposing defenses that we’re going to face in the future realize that we have a guy who can be a dual threat kind of guy.
On the play of the team’s young defensive line and rush defense: The turnovers that we had also allowed Towson to have some short fields which I think led to maybe their one touchdown that they had, and then they drove the field pretty well in one of their drives. In the first half I think time of possession, we were leading, and it totally flipped in the second half. As I said we kept throwing our defense back out there and fortunately they responded each time. We’ve been real stout right now, knock on wood, against the run. You see the rushing stats there and this is the fifth game in a row, all five games this year, we’ve held our opponents to under 100 yards rushing.
We lost a lot of guys in the defensive line through graduation and we had another guy who is out due to injury, so we thought we were going to be kind of young and maybe not so stout up front against the run, and it seems like these young guys are playing really well for us. You know you have a really experienced second level with Ed and Jeff Steeb and them at the linebacker level, and then an experienced secondary. I’m really pleased with the play of our d-line to be so stout and tough against the running game. If we can keep building off that then our defense can be something that, hey you have those years, sometimes you offense is carrying the load and sometimes your defense is carrying the load. To be honest with you, when you look at teams that have the most success over time, it’s usually not the high-scoring guys, it’s usually the guys that can play some defense so I’m real proud of the way these guys stepped out there today and responded even though we were putting them at times in bad situations.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Schetelich…
On his turnovers: My teammates were completely behind me and that’s the reason why I finished the game. Every time I would come off they would be like ‘you’re good, let’s get it again.’ They never let me get down and that was great.
On whether he was nervous when he went into the game: The first drive I was a little antsy but once we got that touchdown then I settled down. That was our opener, so that’s what I’ve been looking at, and then when we were doing more of our play calling I kind of got a little sidetracked with the beginning of the second quarter, but the second half we were running it so I was feeling good then.
On his comfort level with the offense: Most of my practices are mental reps, so throughout the week with the team I would get a lot of being in the background looking at it, but I would get reps on 7-on-7 and inside runs. That’s why I could read the run really well this week.
Senior linebacker Ed Shockley…
On stopping the run: I just think that’s who we are. We try to be stingy against the run. If you stop the run you force them to pass and teams are going to have a hard time passing on us, or winning games passing on us. We have a very talented secondary, but with the loss of Rob Rolle who is a tremendous player, we have guys like Malik Reaves, Trey Johnson and Rasaan Stewart. We have very talented guys back there. Stopping the run is always our first goal, our first thing, so we just want to be stingy.
Towson head coach Rob Ambrose…
Opening statement: Extremely disappointing. I thought we were good enough to win. I think Villanova did a better job at managing their injuries than we did and that’s on me. Good thing we have a bye week, we can get some guys back healthy and get some things squared away. I was out there on the field with JP, he was out there talking and moving his hands and feet. It was scary, but he should be okay.
On the running game: It is something we have worked on meticulously over the last two weeks. Again we have faced nine guys in the box. So we are going to have to open it up and get them out of the box for those two freshmen to be successful.
On Villanova converting on 3rd-and-19 on the game’s first series: Early in the game, not happy about it, but early in the game. I think defensively no one freaked out, but I think once we got statistics defensively we proved that we can get out of it. I’ll take 1 for 11 on [third down] defense.
Redshirt junior defensive back Monty Fenner…
On his two interceptions: There was a new guy out there so I figured they were going to go to the guy they usually run their route for. The first interception the ball was up high, so we have been practicing catching the ball at the highest point. The second one I just jumped the ball and the quarterback was getting a lot of pressure up front. I am pretty sure he didn’t want to take the sack so I just took my opportunity to catch the ball.