Dueling quarterbacks at Villanova
Does he stay with sophomore Chris Polony or go with redshirt freshmen John Robertson when the Wildcats host Fordham in the home opener Saturday night at Villanova Stadium?
"That’s what we have to figure out," Talley said Monday during the CAA's weekly teleconference. "Robertson played so well that that you have to really give him consideration. He’s normally, obviously, a terrific runner, but a lesser passer than Chris Polony. Chris did nothing wrong really in the game, it’s just that when we put John in he sparked us and we stayed with him. It’s not like (Polony) lost the quarterback job so we have two good ones."
Robertson was the more effective of the two quarterbacks in Villanova's 41-10 loss to Temple. He completed 9 of 17 passes for 135 yards, carried the ball 15 times for 78 yards and directed Villanova's only touchdown drive.
"John surprised me," Talley said. "He had a lot of poise and that was our concern. He can be a little helter skelter and he played great for a redshirt freshmen. I was really impressed that he was faster than some of Temple’s people. He gives you that dual threat of a run-throw guy so we’re back in that two quarterback thing like we were with Chris Whitney and Antwon Young so we’ve got to continue to look at this thing so I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet."
Polony struggled against the Owls. He was 2-for-7 for 18 yards and threw an interception for a touchdown that broke the game open. Polony also had just six yards on five carries.
"I think the big thing with Chris was that the game was going a little fast for him," Talley said. "Maybe with a lesser opponent he would have been a little more on par, but I think that Temple’s defense was tough to catch up with. They played a lot of man coverage and when you play (against) man coverage you have to wait for your people to get open and the rush was so strong that he didn’t have that extra second to get the ball into somebody so he sort of was a victim of circumstance early in the game. He’s not going to run real well against a speed team like that, where John gave you that opportunity to get out of trouble to keep a pass play going or make 10 yards on a run. It was really more set for John that it was for Chris."
While the quarterback situation is unsettled, Talley said he took a lot of positives from the game. First, and foremost, was that the Wildcats came out unscathed. Talley said there were no injuries to report.
He also was happy with the play of running backs Austin Medley and Kevin Monangai, who combined for 121 yards on 21 carries. The Wildcats ran for 212 yards and had a 365-362 advantage in total offense. Talley also was pleased with Villanova's overall defensive performance, especially against the pass.
The problem. though, was turnovers and special teams play. The Wildcats had two turnovers, both of which led to Temple touchdowns, and allowed the Owls to average 21 yards on four punt returns.
"Against a I-A team, if you have two turnovers, you're going to be in harm's way so the score's a little deceiving," Talley said. "The fact is we lost the game. They were a better team. What I was looking for was a competitive effort and I thought we were competitive. I thought we should have gone into halftime down 17-14. (The Owls) have a lot of speed and size. We're not quite there yet, but we are getting better."
Now he just has to figure out the quarterback situation.
"We had planned to play John Robertson, our second quarterback, in a moderated kind of format and he ended up giving us a spark and played really well in the game," Talley said. "He ran for over 70 yards and did a good job in the passing game and now we're back to two quarterbacks, which is what I really don't want to do, but we have two guys who can play and we'll see where we go from there."