PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a spring of change for the Villanova Wildcats, as they are beginning life without a senior class that helped them enjoy an incredible run of success the last four years (40-13 record), which included a national championship and a national semifinal appearance.

The Wildcats are in the midst of their spring practice schedule, and one of the biggest questions they are hoping to start to answer is who will be the new quarterback.

Senior Chris Whitney is moving on after being one of the most successful triggermen in program history, but Wildcats’ head coach Andy Talley says they have some talented candidates hoping to replace him.

“Well, we have two quarterbacks, very capable — Dustin Thomas from St. Augustine Prep, and Christian Culicerto.  We (also) have two freshman quarterbacks coming in, so those two guys (Thomas and Culicerto) will vie for the starting position at this point,” Talley tells KYW Newsradio.

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Coach Andy Talley in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

The Wildcats are also losing perhaps the biggest game-changer in 1-AA college football, senior Matt Szczur.  The all-everything offensive weapon has signed a deal to play baseball with the Cubs organization.

Despite Szczur’s departure, Talley thinks that talented pass-catchers are in generous supply on the Main Line.

“Well, our receiving group looks really good.  Norman White is back — and he’s probably the best wide receiver in the CAA — Dorian Wells, Mikey Reynolds, Joe Price; we have a veteran group.  Other than Matt Szczur leaving, all of our receivers are back, so I think that’s the strongest area for us right now,” Talley said.

To be sure, this will be a transition spring for the Wildcats, and Talley says practice definitely has a different look to it this spring with that talented senior class no longer suiting up:

“Oh, yeah, it’s culture shock when you first go out there and they line up and you wonder where all those guys are.  A lot of them come to practice and watch us practice. A lot of them are getting ready for pro tryouts.  So you realize why you were so good over the last four years.  But all of a sudden it’s an exciting challenge because you have a lot of these young guys that are going, ‘Hey those guys are gone, but you know what, we’re here and we’re pretty good so let’s get going.’  So it’s a good feeling in that respect.”

Villanova went 9-5 last season.  They will open the 2011 campaign on September 1st against Temple at  Lincoln Financial Field.

by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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