Villanova football coach Andy Talley said on Monday that he is hopeful of having redshirt freshman quarterback Dustin Thomas back for the team's Saturday game at James Madison, but that true freshman Chris Polony could start for the Wildcats.
The 6-0, 200-pound Thomas, who has been out since suffering a shoulder injury during 'Nova's second game of the season, began throwing again last week but had not worked out in pads as of Monday.
Despite Thomas' own inexperience _ he played in only one game last season after coming down with mononucleosis _ Talley thought the Wildcats had their best chance of winning with the St, Augstine Prep grad behind center.
``Dustin is very fast, and can make plays with his feet," Talley said. ``He has a strong arm, and can throw the ball on the run. He can also look downfield and find receivers."
In Thomas' absence, redshirt senior Christian Culicerto and Polony have been trying to hold down the spot during 'Nova's slide to a 1-4 record, which include a 0-2 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Polony started the first game after Thomas went out, and had a rude introduction to college football during the Wildcats 20-9 loss to visiting Monmouth on Sept. 17.
He went 2 of 8 passing with an interception before being replaced by Culicerto in the second quarter. Culicerto, who had never started a game before this season, was in the lineup for 'Nova's last three games.
Culicerto, 5-11, 190-pounds, is 50 for 94 passing this season for 556 yards, with three each of interceptions and touchdown passes.
Talley has complimented Culicerto for his ability to manage the Wildcats offense, but said the team needs more than a manager.
Talley said the game was too fast for the 6-3, 210-pound Polony when the player made his debut, and the coach questioned whether he had asked too much too soon of the Whitehall High product.
Now, Talley thinks it's time to put Polony back out there if Thomas is not ready.
In 'Nova's 47-17 loss at New Hampshire on Saturday, Polony relieved Culicerto in the second quarter, and completed 15 of 19 passes for 120 yards. He threw two interceptions and one touchdown pass.
``I didn't want to get him back in there too early," Talley said. ``I think we're going to live and die with him."
In the aftermath of his team's one-sided loss to New Hamphire, Talley said he was brief in his remarks to the young Wildcats.
``I really felt it was not the right time to say anything," Talley said. ``I said, 'Guys, get a shower, and let's get out of here as fast as we can.'"