With little fanfare, Polony named starter
When Chris Polony finally assumed he would be Villanova' starting quarterback this fall, he appreciated the low-key process.
During spring ball, Polony was assigned to the first-team offense and took the most reps among the quarterbacks. So Polony believed it would be safe to assume he would be under center when Villanova opens its season at Temple next Friday night.
It has been the same approach the former Whitehall quarterback has taken since he began as a freshman in the Wildcats' program last season.
"Coach (Andy Talley) never really had to come over to tell me I was going to be the starter this season," said the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder. "We all just went about our business and took everything in stride.
"To me, it was the best way to let me know. I wouldn't have liked a lot of fanfare about it. I know what I have to do this year, and I just want and try to get better every day."
After seeing spot duty in his team's first eight games, Polony took over the starting role for the final three games. During that span, he guided the team to its second victory - a 35-17 win over Massachusetts - and tossed six of his seven touchdown passed during the span.
For the season, Polony completed 69 of 122 attempts for 713 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. He led all quarterbacks in all of the major categories and also rushed for 238 yards.
"Being able to finish the year definitely helped me," reflected Polony. "After last season, I knew what I had to work on to get better. It was a matter of getting stronger and learning how to make better decisions."
In the offseason, Polony took advantage of any allotted time through NCAA sanctions to work on his game. Taking a step from the pros, he united with his receiving core and worked to improve the familiarity and trust among them.
It could prove to be a major step in improving the team's 2-9 overall record last year.
"We all worked together as much as we could," noted Polony of the offensive unit. "I worked as often as I could to try and get better at every phase of the game. Last year wasn't an eye-opening experience, but l learned something different every time out there. It is a different game from high school."
Talley understood the necessity to let Polony take the reins of the job early this season after juggling several signal callers last year.
"That is really important for us," said Talley about designating a starter. "Last year we struggled at quarterback because Dustin [Thomas] got hurt early and when he did get back he struggled. Then we messed around with a couple of guys and eventually ended up with (Polony) as the starter. I think we have an established quarterback now in Chris and it will be interesting to see if he can be consistent game after game."
Polony also appreciates entering the season in an underdog role rather than a perennial power.
"It should help us," he added. "We know what we went through last year, and things settled down at the end. For me, it is just a matter of getting better and helping everyone else get better. We feel good about our chances, and we'll be ready."
And Polony and his teammates will be getting the job done in their own style.