Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Villanova striving for 60 minutes of consistency

Villanova's football team has pitched consecutive shutouts in the second half of the last two games and the Wildcats appear to be improving. Yet for Villanova to truly get the next level, the Wildcats will have to play four quarters.

Villanova striving for 60 minutes of consistency

Villanova’s football team has pitched consecutive shutouts in the second half of the last two games and the Wildcats appear to be improving.

Yet for Villanova to truly get the next level, the Wildcats will have to play four quarters.

They got away with it the last two weeks, outscoring Fordham and Rhode Island by a combined 45-0 in the second half.

Villanova trailed Fordham 13-7 at the half before winning 28-13 and the Wildcats were down 10-7 at the half to Rhode Island in Saturday’s 31-10 win.

And after the Rhode Island win, Villanova coach Andy Talley talked about wanting to put together four strong quarters but suggested it will be a difficult task, not that he won’t strive for it.

“We haven’t in the last two weeks been able in the first half to take control of the game and I am not sure we can do that with anybody,” Talley said. “We are an offense that needs time and our defense has the opportunity to be pretty good early and hold us in until we catch our breath and get going.”

He says this because the Wildcats are still adjusting to redshirt freshman John Robertson at quarterback. The Wildcats seemed to help Robertson this week by giving him shorter routes to throw -- especially to Norman White, who had seven receptions (for 88 yards) after totaling six catches in the first two games.

Robertson began the season as the backup, a situation that lasted less than one half in the opening 41-10 loss to Temple. So the Wildcats are still trying to find out what they have at quarterback.

“We are figuring out what he can do and what we can do as a young offensive team,” Talley said.

Villanova will have to live with Robertson’s inconsistent play, especially early in the game as he learns on the job.

Talley talked about his thought process on having Robertson possibly play through some early mistakes.

“When you have somebody young like John, you don’t know how long you want to stay with him,” Talley said. “Maybe it’s not his day, it just not happening and he is not seeing the field, whatever.”

Now with consecutive solid performances, Talley is beginning to trust his quarterback more.

“Now he is starting to become an established player that you know you just hang with, that guy at some point of time he will make the big play, made the big run and ignite the team,” Talley said. “That is what we saw two weeks in a row and he is building equity with me.”

So Talley will live with some early mistakes because he feels it will pay off down the road. He says he doesn’t like switching quarterbacks.

Sure Talley wants to see four consistent quarters from his quarterback, but the truth is, Robertson was far from the only player the last two weeks who didn’t play particularly well in the first half.

Against the better teams on their schedule, Villanova won’t be able to give away the first half. Robertson can’t miss wide-open receivers or stay too long in the pocket as he did against Rhode Island.

Yet he has brought energy and playmaking ability to the team and the hope from the Villanova coaching staff is that Robertson and the rest of the team can build on the second half the last two weeks and take it to the beginning of games.

About this blog
Joe Juliano first visited the Palestra in 1970 after entering Temple University and became hooked for life on Big Five basketball. He'll always go with that name, figuring if the Big Ten can have 12 teams, why can't the Big Five have six?

Juliano joined the Inquirer in 1985 after 10 years at United Press International and has covered college sports for most of that time. His current beats are Villanova basketball, Penn State football, golf and the Penn Relays. Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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