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Discuss Villanova Football with Head Coach Mark Ferrante

(Photo: Rick Pettine)

Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante sat down with VUSports this week after his weekly radio show for a brief Q&A:


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): Coach, here we are two games into the brand new season, you are 2-0 with a near perfect game against Lehigh.


Marc Ferrante: Perfect game? No. Everything went rather well since there were no turnovers and very few penalties. Normally in an opener you expect a few, you don’t want to call them mental errors, but first-game jitters, first-game errors, if you will. We played pretty clean against Lehigh.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): You also had a great starting game for the quarterback.


Marc Ferrante: Yes with Connor Watkins making his first career start, he played well. He took what the defense was giving him for the most part, he made big plays and he has a big arm which was on display in his first two games. He can put the ball on the field very well.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): Second game at LIU, nice win on the road, because all wins on the road are nice, but, as you said on your radio show, we had “correctables”, which will give the staff something to work on technical.


Marc Ferrante: Yeah, you always have things to work on. In the first game, we had no turnovers and few penalties but we still had things to correct that needed to be cleaned up. We made progress in many areas from the first game to the second week; however, throwing four interceptions, and Connor takes responsibility for all of them thinking, “I gotta do better than that.” And obviously we have to improve that. As for the penalties, they are part of the game, the referees will call penalties. We would prefer the type of physical penalties and not the mental types, like the snap errors we had last week. We made a lot of progress in many areas from week one to week two and hopefully that will continue, especially on the defensive side of the ball where we have less experience coming back. We have more guys playing for the first time or some of the transfers playing for the first time and it’s going to take a bit of time; while in attack we have guys who have been playing together for two or three seasons.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): So as technical staff, among the correctors, which would you prefer to shoot down, turnovers or penalties?


Marc Ferrante: Definitely turnovers. Look, these are statistics and people look at statistics all the time. How many yards you gave up, how many yards you had, what was the passing defense, the rushing defense. I don’t care about all that. There are three stats that matter to us: runs scored, runs given up and turnovers. And the third is often directly related to the other two. The turnover part will affect the other two in a big way.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): Going into the third game, you seem pretty healthy.


Marc Ferrante: Yeah, we got a little stoned; we hope to come back Colin Gamrothhe hasn’t played yet, he practiced today, he’s our original starter and Jake Picard has done a great job as a substitute. Michael Corbi didn’t finish the game, but he should be fine. So we’re doing pretty well in the injury category. Jalen Jackson didn’t play last week, anticipating he was going to play, but when he warmed up he just wasn’t quite ready – but he practiced well today.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): Would you consider Jalen your number one running back?


Marc Ferrante: It depends on what we do, but we plan to use all three really and the given situation determines who enters.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): So, now the question I’ve been waiting to ask for 18 months: what are you going to do with this triangle?


Marc Ferrante: You just have to play disciplined and you have to play without a gap. The discipline part is just doing your mission and not trying to overdo it because when you play teams like the service academies in this case the military sometimes a guy who should have the field sees the QB and kind of thinks he’s going to make a play on the QB and then there’s the field; or sometimes there’s nobody on the QB because two guys are out there in the field or sometimes defensive backs eyes go into the backfield thinking stop the run, stop the run and then one of those guys that he thought was coming to block the stealths behind everyone and they get a short fifteen or ten yard pass that ends up being a 70 yard completion. I don’t know if we’re ever going to stop the triangle or the optional offense that these guys are running, but you want to try to slow them down and try to get them to spit the ball out and put it on the ground.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): The way I see the game, we will have to outscore them in a high score game and defend keeping them off the field


Marc Ferrante: Well, we’ve been scoring in groups right now and some of our drives have gone two or three games and I’ve said publicly that I’d rather have points in two or three games than a long drive that doesn’t pay off point but yes it would be nice to control the time of possession as well as put points on the board, that would help.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): So is possession key?


Marc Ferrante: Points for, points against and turnovers; these are the keys to victory.


SUVSports (Adam Cilli): Thank you very much coach and Beat Army!


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