“It was demoralizing. It really sucks the life out of you. We had to have a lot of young guys step into roles they may not have been ready for.” -Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk on last year’s rash of injuries
By Sally Fahey
Here’s our preview of the 2018 Villanova Wildcats football season:
VILLANOVA (5-6 IN 2017) T-7TH IN 2017 COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION)
COACH: Mark Ferrante – 2nd year (5-6)
2017 OFFENSE: 21.0 ppg (84th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 16.1 ppg (19th in FCS)
In 2017 Villanova was undermined by way too many injuries. This season will be a do-over for second-year coach Mark Ferrante, who is trying to forge his own legacy of winning after Andy Talley coached his last game in 2016.
One-time CAA Rookie of the Year Zach Bednarczyk is a fifth-year senior who is more than capable of leading the Wildcats back to the playoffs, even if he doesn’t get the hype some his peers do.
The defense should be one of the better units in the CAA, behind Delaware and James Madison.
The playoffs aren’t a lock for a good-not-great team in a deep conference; however, Villanova hasn’t missed the playoffs in consecutive years since the mid-2000s, so history would suggest the Wildcats are due for a major rebound, assuming they can stay healthy.
Villanova should start to pick up some steam in the polls as the calendar closes in on October — particularly if it can pick up a win against Stony Brookon the road.
Games with the top quarter of the CAA — James Madison, New Hampshire and Delaware — will all be challenging, but Villanova could still lose all three of those games and make the playoffs at 7-4.
TOP RETURNEE: DB Rob Rolle (All-American Safety, Injured in ’17; 63 Tackles and 7 INT’s in ’16).
THE NEXT FIVE: OL Ethan Greenidge (All-American, 31 Career Starts); LB Jeff Steeb (Second on Team w/ 91 Tackles in ’17); QB Zach Bednarczyk (CAA Co-Offensive Rookie of the Year in ’15, 4,622 Career Passing Yards & 1,141 Career Rushing Yards); LB Keeling Hunter (51 Tackles, 4 INT’s, 3.5 TFL’s in ’17); OL Louie Csaszar (23 Career Starts).
TOP NEWCOMER: WR Dez Boykin (First-Team All-State High School Player in PA).