Talley predicts improvement for Thomas

Back on the field for the first time since high school, Dustin Thomas struggled immensely on Thursday night. But, Villanova head coach Andy Talley saw more than the three passes Thomas threw away into the hands of Temple defenders.

Talley said on Monday that he was content with the quarterback’s ability to handle both the physical aspect of the game and the pressure that came with playing at a big venue against a rival team. Thomas completed just 44 percent of his passes Thursday as he gained 109 yards on 11-for-25 passing. Talley said he expects Thomas to grow as the season progresses and become one of the better quarterbacks in the CAA.

“In our offense right now, he cannot just manage the game,” said Talley in a conference call Monday morning. “He’s got to be able to make plays. I think he tried to do that on Thursday night. He struggled a little bit in certain areas of the game. He turned the ball over four times, three interceptions and a fumble and that will get you beat normally by 30 points against anybody, let alone a team as good as Temple is.”

Opening the season for the third straight year against the Owls, Talley said this was the best Temple team he had seen yet and is “a top-50 team in 1-A.”

On Saturday night, the Wildcats will open their conference schedule with a road contest at Towson. In their opener, Towson trounced visiting Morgan State, 42-3.

Talley said he expects his team to play more physical than it did against Temple. He said he didn’t think the Wildcats played hard in their first game. Leading up to Saturday, Villanova will hold a full-pads, contact practice, something they did not do in years past. Talley said that the team needs more reps due to the many young players, but the practice style is not a punishment.

“The big key for us is to be physical,” said Talley. “We haven’t found our niche offensively, I’m still not sure what we can do and can’t do, and the same defensively.”