Monday, July 26, 2010

Villanova Football Season Preview Part 1

This is part one of a six part season preview of the Villanova football team, each week there will be a new post focusing on a different position group.

Quarterback- It is no secret that Villanova had a dangerous offense last year, especially when running the football.  The basis of the Villanova offense is The Zone-Read Option which puts the onus on the quarterback to make the decision as to hand the ball off to a running back or keep it himself.  Villanova's top rusher from last season returns in incoming Senior Quarterback Chris Whitney.  Last season, Whitney finished the 2009 season with 983 Rushing Yards, a school record for a quarterback.  Chris Whitney is a break from the classic Andy Talley quarterback in that he is as much of a threat to run the football as he is to throw it.  While he is not the most gifted passer, Whitney makes up for it with his ability to create time in the pocket and throw accurately on the move while also picking up tough yardage with his legs when a play breaks down.  His style of play works for him, as he is 25-5 as a starter headed into this season with his only losses coming to top 15 teams.  Chris Whitney will have the advantage of having started in parts of four seasons, so he knows the offense like the back of his hand.  I expect big things from Chris Whitney this season.  If Whitney gets hurt, the team is in trouble since his backups are either walk-ons or true freshmen, so needless to say, I'll be doing some voodoo in hopes that C-Dub stays healthy because this year, Antwon Young is not available to capably fill in.

Running Back-  The 'Cats return their entire stable of runners including Tailback 1a Aaron Ball and Tailback 1b Angelo Babbaro, both rising fifth year seniors.  Also returning is rising Junior Lawrence Doss who is a capable backup and could shoulder the load if one of the starters gets injured.  The two main runners, Ball and Babbaro have contrasting styles that compliment each other perfectly as Ball is a downhill, physical runner and Babbaro is more of a scat-back 3rd down type who can catch passes out of the backfield with the best of them.  Coach Talley is extremely lucky to have a competent stable of running backs like this, because any one of them would be able to shoulder the load on a different team.  None of this of course, takes into account the true freshman pair of Ransford Quarrie and Austin Medley who both should be candidates for a redshirt this season.   

Wide ReSzczur Receiver- Even after losing the team's leading receiver from last season Brandyn Harvey, this position is as strong as it has been since Brian Finneran was at Villanova.  Why are Villanova's receivers so strong if they lost their leading pass catcher? The long answer involves everyone else returning and some talented newcomers blah blah blah, but the short answer involves Matt Szczur, the second greatest offensive weapon Villanova has had since football was restored, the greatest being Brian Westbrook (Szczur needs to win the Payton Award to come close in my book.)  Fresh off of an offseason in which there was rampant speculation as to whether he would choose baseball, football, or decide to replace Christian Bale as Batman, he ultimately chose football (and baseball.)  One thing that Szczur has that Westbrook never did is visibility on campus (leading a team to a national championship kinda works wonders for that stuff.)  Behind Szczur is a corps of receivers that features the diminutive Mikey Reynolds, big target Norman White and the dynamic Dorian Wells with Kenny Miles and Joe Price competing for the remaining snaps available. 

Tight End- While nearly always on the field, senior Chris Farmer doesn't catch many passes.  His only touchdown of 2009 put Villanova ahead in the national championship game.  His blocking is an asset though as he is like a sixth offensive lineman.  Backing up farmer will be fellow senior Eric Predatsch and redshirt freshman Brennan Erbeznik I don't expect the Tight end to get many targets though as Chris Whitney has never really thrown to the tight end enough for me to believe that the leader in catches among tight ends will have more than a 20 catches total during the regular season.

Coming up later this week, a preview of the Offensive Line

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