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College Football Preview: Villanova Wildcats

By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Villanova Wildcats, once again, look like they will be a force in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Villanova went 11-3 last season (7-1 in the CAA) and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. The playoff berth was their fifth in the last seven seasons.

Head coach Andy Talley thinks his squad is in a good place heading into the 2015 campaign.

"Well, we had a good camp," Talley tells KYW Newsradio. "We didn't get too many people banged up and I think it was very productive for us. We were able to look at a lot of people, some of our freshmen. We have a couple guys maybe that can help us early. In general, just plug a couple of holes in the backfield and the offensive line and square up the defense a little bit, but all in all, the chemistry seems to be good."

Listen: Andy Talley with KYW's Matt Leon

The Wildcats do not lack for star power.

"We have two great football players, one on both sides of the ball," Talley says. "John Robertson and Don Cherry at linebacker, both All-Americans."

Robertson won the Walter Payton Award last season as the top offensive player in all of FCS. The senior did it all in 2014, completing 65.4% of his passes while throwing for 2,846 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,078 yards and 11 more scores.

"I think as John goes, so will we," Talley says.

Cherry, a senior, led Villanova last year with 134 tackles, 21 1/2 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and five forced fumbles. He finished second in the balloting for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the top defensive player in FCS. Talley thinks they are also in pretty good shape on defense around Cherry.

"We wanted to improve, we wanted to be a little more stout," Talley says. "I think that we've accomplished that. We're a little more athletic in the secondary."

Overall, Talley thinks he has a team built for success here in 2015.

"We had a great offense last year, we were up around 37, 38 points a game (37.7)," Talley says. "I think in college football today, you've got to be able to score.  So I'm hoping we have the same type of team. A big question mark for us right now is our kicking game. I'm hoping that we can do a little better job in extra point and field goal. Our punter, (junior) John Hinchen, is very sound, he should be one of the best in the league. So, all in all, I think it's going to be a good year for us."

Villanova will open things up on Thursday night, September 3rd, on the road against the University of Connecticut.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.

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