Villanova/New Hampshire Post-Game Quotes
Dec. 5, 2009
Villanova head coach Andy Talley...
Opening statement: Obviously playing a team like New Hampshire in those kind of conditions you would think we would fall into their lap a little bit. I thought we handled the conditions maybe a little better than they did. The weather was maybe as bad as we have played in since I have been here. The players really stepped up defensively and gave us a chance to do things offensively.
On recovering a fumble for a touchdown on the first play of the game: One of the things we like to do is take the ball on the coin toss because with Matt Szczur returning kickoffs we think that we have a chance to get great field position and quickly do something offensively. Today we wanted to kick it with the wind and let their offense settle in. We weren't sure what we would be able to do at that point. It was a bad snap on the play and John [Dempsey] recovered and ran for a touchdown. That was an indication that it was going to be a rough day to handle the ball.
On the weather conditions: It was really tough. I think that having the understanding of what was going on weather-wise early helped us a lot. We put pressure on their quarterback all day and they really had trouble with our defensive line and our blitz. We did a great job controlling the football offensively I though. Angelo Babbaro had a breakout day and we didn't have him the last time we played New Hampshire. That hurt us in the first game against them to not have Angelo out there. We saw the terrific threat that he was today.
On choosing to kickoff at the start of the second half: We had the option of receiving the ball and decided not to. We threw another possession their way to get the wind and the snow. We kicked off figuring that they hadn't done much to threaten us in the first half. We felt like we could really take total control of the game by owning the third quarter weather wise. You hate to give up a possession but with the wind and the weather being what it was that made some sense. We played as good as we could play in those kinds of conditions. I don't think we could have played better on either side of the ball. The offense kept their footing and the defense got to the quarterback and made it look like they were playing on a sunny day in that respect.
On the revenge factor for Villanova: I think you go into a game like this and your only loss was to New Hampshire. We knew that we didn't play great up there last time so we wanted to come in and set the tone that we are a good football team and they are playing against the champion of the CAA. We had a pedigree going into the game and we wanted to uphold that.
On the swirling wind affecting kickoffs and punts: Not only was the wind swirling but it was tough to see. One time Brandyn Harvey just went away from the ball on a punt because he couldn't see. The wind and snow made it really difficult on kick and punt returns.
On being able to rush effectively: Obviously it is what's in front of you that counts. Our offensive line is groomed to the rushing game and we are the leading rushing team in the league. Chris Whitney is a major factor in that. He makes a lot of the run calls and he gives you peace of mind that he will secure the ball. He gives you confidence that we will hit the place he needs to run to safely. Even if he makes a bad call he can break tackles and run through some tackles. That is what keeps drives going and we have the all-league quarterback.
On Villanova's motivation: Angelo Babbaro wrote a letter to the team that we put in everyone's locker. He started it off by saying "As you know I don't usually have much to say." That is true. Angelo is a quiet, cerebral person but he wrote a full page letter, single-spaced, from the heart which indicated to the team how important it was to play at the highest level. It is interesting to see that after he wrote that letter he himself had such a phenomenal game today, probably the best game he has ever had for us. He put his thoughts and heart together with his action.
Junior quarterback Chris Whitney...
On Villanova scoring on the fumble return on the game's first play: That was huge. Even before we stepped on the field as an offense we were up 7-0. The defense picked it up and you love that offensively. That was big for us.
On Villanova's revenge factor: We thought about that, about getting back on the field and getting a second chance against New Hampshire. You don't get a lot of second chances in college football. We got one and wanted to take advantage of that.
On knowing Villanova needed to run the ball because of the weather: We could see in warm-ups that it was coming down pretty hard and didn't look like it would stop so we knew we had to have a big game on the ground. All the credit goes to the offensive line. Even though they were kind of beat up they were the reason we won. They pushed from the line of scrimmage and allowed us to just play. With our run game we felt like we could run whatever run play we wanted. They had a lot of success blitzing us before but we stuck to our checks and run our play.
On having things go their way early on: After our first series I had a good feeling that we could keep running plays just like we do in practice. We knew the passing game would be tough but we have been running the ball all year long and just kept doing it.
On whether he wanted to try and throw the ball long: I got the one pass off to [Matt] Szczur but the ball was pretty much frozen and that was the only one I wanted to throw.
Junior running back Angelo Babbaro...
On emphasizing the run: There wasn't really anything special we did in practice to emphasize the run against them. For me personally there was a special emphasis on having a good game because I didn't play against them earlier. We just wanted to iron out the stuff we struggled with last time and our offensive line did a great job of doing that even as banged up as they were coming into the game.
On the weather conditions: We were joking around in the locker room with me and some of the other guys from Northeast Ohio because this is about the fifth game I have had that was like this. My senior year in high school we went far and had three straight games in snow like that. The conditions didn't bother me that much.
Senior defensive lineman Phil Matusz...
On the revenge factor for Villanova: We always talked about the New Hampshire game up there going through practice during the season. We looked back and in that game we didn't come out and play. It was a noon game and the defense didn't play our type of football. We had that feeling of losing and things not going our way. We didn't want to feel like that again and little things like that motivate us and help us see that every play counts. That is our motivation to play every play like it is our last one because it is the playoffs now and you aren't guaranteed another game. We wanted to come out and make big plays and we did. We tried to eliminate errors on our part and play fundamentally sound, smart football, which we did on every play. We kept level-headed and after every big play we just put the ball down, set it and got ready for the next snap. We need to play every play like that and we did today.
On being a senior on this team: Last year as a senior I knew I was coming back for a fifth year but I saw the seniors on the team last year and to see those guys in that position made me realize what this means to everyone. Going this far means a lot to the whole team because none of us have been here before. Last year we lost at James Madison. That was a heartbreaker and we don't want to feel like that ever again. The drive during the offseason was incredible all-around; offense, defense and special teams. We realize what we had to do and accomplish as a team and we thrive on that. It takes little things to add up to big things. We are big as a team on everybody doing their job and being responsible for their actions. That philosophy is starting to help us win football games now. We are playing like it's our last game because in the playoffs there is no guarantee of that next game. We just take things one day at a time and hopefully we will end up in Chattanooga.
Junior safety John Dempsey...
On recovering the fumble for a touchdown on the first play of the game: We blitzed and I happened to get in there and get the ball. I missed it the first time but I got it the second time. The first time it just slid out of my hands so then I grabbed it. It was a wild play and a huge momentum factor. We were sky high and didn't take our foot off the gas after that play.
New Hampshire head coach Sean McDonnell...
Opening statement: Never in my wildest did I think that we would come down here in weather like this and have that result. My hat's off to Andy Talley and the whole Villanova program. They played downhill football from the get-go. They went after us pretty good and took it to us. We made as many mistakes ad you can make in a football game and [Villanova] took full advantage of them. They improved as a football team from the middle of the season on and this was the first time this year I felt like we were overmatched at times out there. That game was not very representative of how New Hampshire plays football. I am proud of my team and I'm proud of how we performed all year. We are going to miss the seniors both in the locker room and on the field.
On fumbling on the first play of the game: That sent an early message. Villanova has a very good defense and they play tremendous inside the box. Their front three are very good football players. I have talked about their linebackers often - Osayi Osunde, Marquis Kirkland and Terence Thomas. John Dempsey played well today. For us to be successful we had to mix a lot of different things. Once we got behind it wasn't going to happen the way they were playing.
On the weather: I could sit here and tell you a lot of different things about the weather but it was the same for Villanova. They went out and performed and did the things that they do very well. The things that we do we didn't do well today. We had some things but we couldn't do what we wanted to and then it snow-balled big time on us. In that wet snow, things snowballed on us and it just rolled up bigger and bigger as the game went on.
On New Hampshire missing tackles: I agree with that. We did miss tackles. And it wasn't the quarterback read or that kind of stuff. It was old-fashioned smash mouth football. They played mid zone and quarterback leads and they ran their Wildcat stuff with Szczur. It was just smash mouth football and we didn't tackle them.
On the wind swirling in the middle of the field: The wind was swirling but we didn't do a good job of catching kicks. We didn't catch kicks and do the things that we are good at today. These kids want to do so well at times and be successful. I blame myself for some of the botched kicks today. Maybe I should have just kept my mouth quiet and let them the players do what they know how to. Joey Orlando made a mistake on a kick at the end of the half after I told him to catch it going forward. Both teams felt the same things out on the field but Villanova did a pretty good job of catching the ball.
Senior linebacker Sean Ware...
On field position: Field position was a big deal for us early on in the game. It was tough getting the ball on a short field every time and with Villanova's dangerous offense it was inevitable that they were going to score some points. We did well early on to get off the field but it was tough with the weather. We weren't really able to get punts down. I don't mean to make excuses but the weather had a lot to do with field position in the game.
On playing his last game for New Hampshire: I definitely didn't want it to end like this for our senior class or for the team this season. It is what it is. This will be a tough one to swallow but life goes on. There is a great thing going on here at New Hampshire and I am sure the success will continue.
Junior quarterback R.J. Toman...
On the playing conditions: We have played in the snow before and are accustomed to bad weather and just dealing with it and playing with it from the get go. We had hard time moving the ball today early on and put ourselves in a whole. From there it was very difficult to climb back.
On the first play of the game where New Hampshire fumbled: We ran a fly sweep with Chad [Kackert] trying to tie it up. I bumped him on the snap and we lost the ball on it. They got behind us and scored.
On a number of high snaps: That wasn't Tommy's [center Tom Neill] fault. The weather conditions were tough out there. The ball was wet and cold and it wasn't like the snaps were over my head. I should have been able to catch them and keep the ball under control. The snaps didn't get me out of my rhythm. With practice and at this point in the year we should just be able to take a high snap and go with it.
On Villanova's revenge factor: I think that all week they were preparing for this game the same way as we prepared for them. It came down to them knowing what we do and what we run, but we knew wthat they do also. This was definitely a game they were motivated for but so were we because of the playoff implications. My hat's off to Villanova for playing well in this game.