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Villanova Winding Down Spring Football Practice

By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- It is the final week of spring practice for the Villanova Wildcats as they begin the process that they hope will return them to the FCS Playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

The Wildcats went 11-3 last season, advancing to the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by Sam Houston State. Fourteen starters are returning from that team and head coach Andy Talley has liked what he has seen during these workouts.

"By and large it has been a very good spring," Talley tells KYW Newsradio. "I think we have a lot of veteran players back. We've given John Robertson a chance to just back off a little bit and try to get (redshirt freshman back-up quarterback) Zack Bednarczyk ready. We need to fill a couple of holes in the offensive line, but our defense is pretty much back intact, so we're very pleased right now."

Listen to the entire interview with Villanova's Andy Talley

Robertson is Villanova's starting quarterback and a very special talent. He won the Walter Payton Award last season as the top player in FCS football. He completed 65.4% of his passes, throwing 35 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He also rushed for a team-high 1,078 yards while scoring 11 times on the ground. Robertson, who will be a senior in the fall, missed that Sam Houston State loss in the playoffs with a concussion.

On that offensive line the Wildcats have to fill some holes left by the graduation of starters like center Ross Hall and tackle Vince Kowalski.

"And we have to replace Austin Medley and Kevin Monangai, two really good running backs," Talley says. "But we have three guys headed up by Gary Underwood who we like very much and two young backs that I think are going to be pretty good as well."

The Villanova defense will be led again in 2015 by linebacker Don Cherry. As a junior in 2014, Cherry was a first-team All American after compiling 134 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and ten sacks.

Looking ahead to the fall, Talley says the 2015 Wildcats will have their work cut out for them right from the jump.

"We start up at Connecticut in early September," Talley says. "(Then) Fordham and Delaware, back-to-back. So we have a rough start next year."

That season opener against Connecticut will be on September 3rd.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.

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