Nov. 15, 2008
Villanova head coach Andy Talley...
Opening statement: I think we played as bad a first half as we have played all year and in fact that probably would be considered the worst half we played. [James Pitts] had a great interception return for a touchdown to give us some momentum at halftime and we were ahead at the half as bad as we played. That just goes to show how crazy football can be. In the second half the wind was a real factor. We wanted to have it in the third quarter to see what we could do but it was a factor. It really affected the kicking game; not so much the passing game but it was a concern.
On the game: I thought we turned it around in the second half and played better but Towson kept slinging it. Once you let a team believe they can beat you and you keep them in the game in the second half they have nothing to lose. Towson was out there slinging it and having fun and we got tight at times when we needed a first down or needed a stop. It just seemed like we needed everything. Right now we are a hunted team and when that's the case teams like Northeastern and Towson come after you. Next week at Delaware you can throw the records out in my book. The bottom line is that we played terrific football against James Madison and lost and today we played lousy football against Towson and won. I'm always happy when we win.
On Towson: [Quarterback] Sean Schaefer played a great game for them. He had one miscue and it was one that we took advantage of and did so in a big way. I don't know if we were flat coming off of the New Hampshire win last week but I give Towson a lot of credit. Schaefer has thrown for over 11,000 yards in his career and he showed everybody why he has that yardage. He's tough and we put a lot of pressure on our defense, especially in the first half, by not being able to get our running game going.
On the importance of next week's game at Delaware: Obviously we are concerned about getting into the playoffs. We think that the magic number is eight wins but we don't want to leave it up to a committee that decides that an 8-3 team won't get in. We have been 8-4 and not gotten in before. The kids just have to play better after not playing well today. I give credit to the Towson kids. They played great and their quarterback played great but we just weren't good.
On Villanova: We had a tough week with lousy weather all week and sometimes a game like this can happen after a big win. Our team is tough and I thought we were impervious to a performance like this. I take some of the blame for that and it is on us as a coaching staff to go get on the team about a game like this. This type of game isn't indicative of our team. We want to be where the air is rare but we didn't have a lot of enthusiasm today. I don't know. Maybe it is hard to get up for a team that has had some problems and hasn't looked good on film and has struggled and then in the middle of the game see that they are in the game and get worried. This reminded me a lot of the Northeastern game.
On Villanova's special teams play: The defensive kids did a good job and we closed it off at the end there. We didn't want to give the ball back to them, especially not with Schaefer in there. We hit that third down pass and kept the ball to run out the clock.
On James Pitts: Jimmy is just a freshman and he is doing a great job. I like him. He's a really good player. I think on the lost fumble on the punt the punt hit him and he jumped on it but the guy stole the ball. He needed to be able to fight for the ball and that's what I told him on the sideline. I think we tend to get on kids that are great players because they have the ability to come back and do something positive for you. Jimmy was a wide receiver in high school and we know he can run. He did a great job on the interception return.
On having Antwon Young play the third series in the first half: We always want to get Antwon some work and keep him fresh. Chris Whitney plays so physical that he can get banged up on and play and he has had a bad shoulder. We don't want to get caught with a guy on the bench who hasn't done anything over a span of 5-6 games. We worked it out with Chris. We wanted to play Antwon again on the third series of the second half and wanted to do that last week too but both games were so tight and we went with the starter. I feel good about having Antwon in the game at any time. He is a winner and a fine quarterback but Chris is the starter. He has earned it and won it and in a tight second half we chose to keep him in.
On the effects on Chris Whitney of coming out of games in the third series: I think these situations help Chris the same way it helps him when we put Szczur in to take some of the hits off of Chris. When Chris drops back to pass and the coverage takes it away or he doesn't see something, Chris tends to run more than the average college quarterback. He knows we are going to take some hits off of him by using Szczur and Antwon Young. Chris hasn't complained about it. I'm sure he wants to play every play but he is a team player and he has no problems with it.
On the Villanova locker room at halftime: We showed a lot of poise in the locker room. We were on them pretty hard early but overall the team stayed calm and poises. We haven't had a ton of adversity this season but we had some today against a team we probably should have beaten by two touchdowns. We let these guys hang around for too long and some of the seeds were there for an upset today.
On having a lot of penalties: We had no penalties at all last week and then today we had a lot and it was bad. I wish they would let the kids play tougher pass defense. It seemed like every time we got in tight on a guy there was a flag and we had three pass interference calls. We just didn't play well today and it almost bit us.
Freshman defensive back James Pitts...
On losing a fumble on a punt: The ball hit me in the chest and I tried to pick it up and not fall on it. The other player hit me between my legs and I was still trying to get it at that point but he had it. I heard Coach Talley yelling on the sideline and I was down a little bit but we have some great leaders on the team that picked me up and told I would make the next play and be needed down the stretch.
On his interception return: The quarterback dropped back in coverage and the ball was up in the air and I just picked it off and started running. [Greg Miller] had the quarterback and made a hit but we knew he would be able to throw in coverage and try to keep it low, so when Greg got to him that is what I looked for.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Whitney...
On yielding to Antwon Young in the third series: I do take more hits than I should and get down on some plays when I try to get more yards. Being out for a series give me a chance to collect my thoughts and then get back out there.
On Villanova's resiliency: I think that describes our team. If we are down we know that we will put the ball in the end zone and rely on what we do every week to run the ball and get in the end zone when we need to. We showed today that we can play through adversity and play under any circumstances.