Script changed for Polony
When he made a verbal commitment to Villanova before his senior season at Whitehall, Chris Polony relieved some of the pressure that came with his team being considered a contender for the PIAA District 11 Class 4A crown.
It apparently worked for the 6-foot-3, 213-pound Polony who appeared to be on the right track to take over the reins of one of the more successful 1-AA programs on the east coast.
But the script never quite played itself out as Polony envisioned. Four years later, he will begin his final season in the Wildcats' program as a backup to one of the highly touted juniors John Robertson, who accounted for more than 3,400 total yards passing and running last season.
"Right now, my role is a backup and to always be ready," said Polony recently. "I still go in and watch film and do whatever I can, knowing that I can be one hit, one injury away from being back in there."
Being there was in the cards for Polony during his first two years in the Philadelphia suburbs. He was one of three quarterbacks in the rotation for Villanova during his freshman year and he started five of the seven games during that season. Overall, he threw for 713 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions, but it did help propel him into the starting role.
In his sophomore season, Polony got the nod in the season opener against Temple, but he struggled in the early going and didn't start another game in his four other appearances. Instead, Robertson relieved him in the Temple game and took over the starting role.
Last year, Polony played in only two games as Robertson began to further establish himself. Through it all, though, Polony has handled the situation in stride.
"I wouldn't call it frustrating," stated Polony. "It has been hard at times. John is a great quarterback and very capable as I would be if I was in there. That's how it is here at Villanova. It is kind of a next man up mentality and it doesn't matter who is in there to get the job done."
Along with his maturation on the field, Polony has also grown off the field. During his first three years, the chemical engineering major has been named to the CAA All-Academic team in each of his first three years.
"Absolutely," responded Polony to the process. "Villanova is a great university, and I wouldn't trade my four years here for anything else. Academically, it has been great and it also is one of the better 1-AA schools around.
"I can't control the fact of playing time. That's a coach's decision."
Villanova head coach Andy Talley has appreciated Polony's contributions.
"He is a football player and student," said Talley. "He understands the game and our system well. He has sound fundamentals and is a valuable member of this team."
When his playing days are over and he graduates in May, Polony would like to return to the Lehigh Valley and land a position with a local company.
"I would like to stay local, but I am open to working anywhere in the country to start a career," said Polony. "I went back to Whitehall during a week in May when we had off and went into the weight room and lifted. It is always good to come back and see the program.
"But I'm looking forward to this season. We're all very focused and we're all motivated to try and find the edge this year. It has been fun and I want it to end on a successful note."