View Count: 155 |  Publish Date: April 04, 2014
Back to basics for Villanova football
MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014, 3:01 AM
THE SENIORS on Villanovas football team have experienced the bad, the good and the unfulfilled. In 2011, coming off a run to the semifinals of the FCS tournament as the defending national champions, the Wildcats went 2-9. The next year, after being picked to finish eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association, they got back to the playoffs by winning the title. Last season, as the preseason favorite and fifth-ranked team in the country, they lost too many close games against one of the roughest schedules and finished 6-5.
So . . .
I think maybe last year we looked a little bit too much at the bigger picture, said running back Kevin Monangai, one of those who will be entering his final season. There was talk about having a national championship-type team, it got in our head and we forgot what it really takes to be that kind of team. Theres fundamental stuff that got you to that level in the first place. That could have been the biggest difference between what we should have had and what we ended up with.
I just think thats the human-nature side of it. We never came out and said, This is going to be our year, or whatever, but maybe something was missing. And you dont get that until its too late. Having that reality check is definitely going to help us this season. Once you taste success, it makes you realize what goes into it. And you want to taste it again. More coverageFull 2014 NCAA Bracket $1,000,000 BRACKET CHALLENGE POLL: Which freshman should the 76ers target?First, second and third round TV schedule Full NCAA Basketball Odds Buy local college sports tickets Latest college sports videos
The Wildcats, who, as usual, will open against an FBS opponent (Syracuse) on Aug. 29, will close out spring practice in another week. Coach Andy Talley said that things have been more spirited than normal for this time of year. What that means in another 5 months, well find out then.
Quarterback John Robertson, the national freshman of the year in 2012, is not participating while he recovers from surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Talley doesnt anticipate it being an issue. The concern lies mostly along the offensive line, where he has to find three new starters for a unit that didnt play up to expecatations last season. Coupled with some key injuries at wide receiver, the Wildcats became a little too reliant on Robertsons running ability. It wasnt necessarily a good thing.
In 2012, Monangai made first-team all-conference by rushing for 1,210 yards on 212 carries and scoring 13 touchdowns. Last season, his production was basically cut in half. Talley said he hopes that Monangai and fellow senior Austin Medley can combine to take some of the burden off the QB.
If theyre both healthy, Kevin might not get as many touches, but hell be more effective because theyll both be fresher and push each other, Talley said. John can obviously make a lot of things happen, but we need to be multidimensional. Thats better for everyone . . .
Were just retooling in certain spots. Well [still] be a Top 20 team. Had we responded a little better last year, wed probably be on the radar a little more. You know me, I always like to be ranked up there. Its a prestige thing.
So is playing well into December.
We had a team meeting where we kind of put all that out there, Monangai said. We came to the conclusion that we all have to elevate our game, to help John and help the team. I made it my personal mission to focus on the moment, whether its Syracuse or Fordham [the second opponent] or whoever else weve got in front of us.
Its crazy to think Im a senior. But this is our team. Its what were going to be remembered for. We wont get another shot. Weve been to the bottom, on top, and kind of fell a little bit in between. Since sixth grade, whether its a state championship or national championship, Ive never been a part of that. I want to give us a chance to make that happen.
On Twitter: @mikekerndn
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