Villanova Foes See Double With Finnerans On Field Brian And Brad Have Been Together Their Whole Lives. Why Should College Be Any Different?

Posted: September 26, 1996

VILLANOVA — Twin brothers Brad and Brian Finneran are starting on the same team again, which is the way it was for most of their lives before the Finneran boys started playing football at Villanova.

But there was that time in fifth grade when Brad and Brian had to play on different youth league basketball teams in Mission Viejo, Calif.

Brad's team won the championship. Brian's team lost in the final.

``I had three or four good sixth graders on my team,'' Brad Finneran said. ``My team ended up winning. And, yeah, I rubbed it in a little bit.''

The 6-foot-5, 195-pound junior wide receivers are teaming to make life miserable for Villanova football opponents these days. The Wildcats (3-1) are averaging 38.5 points per game.

Brian, a starter since his freshman year, has 34 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns in Villanova's new, wide-open attack. Brad, who started briefly as a sophomore, has 10 catches for 108 yards and one touchdown.

The 20-year-olds are starting together for the first time since they starred at Santa Margarita Catholic High, and are enjoying every minute of it.

``It's made football fun,'' Brad said. ``I'm able to pick him up. I'm able to congratulate him when he makes a big catch. He does the same for me.''

``We always wanted to play together in college,'' Brian said. ``We always were on the same Little League teams. We always played together on the same basketball teams.''

Brad and Brian Finneran were inseparable growing up. Part of that relationship had to do with sports. Most of it had to do with being twins.

``We did everything together,'' Brian said. ``We went to the beach together. We went to parties together. We did pretty much everything except date the same girls.''

``Even that,'' Brad corrected, ``we did a few times.''

Brian had the big receiving numbers in high school. He still holds the Orange County career reception record, with 177. He was all-league, all-county and all-state.

Brad was successful, too, earning all-league and all-county honors. When the colleges came calling, however, only Villanova promised to use both at wide receiver.

``I couldn't tell them apart at first,'' Villanova coach Andy Talley said. ``The way I can do it now is that one has short hair and one has long hair.''

Brian, the brother with the short hair, is married with two children. He is the serious one. Brad is ``more of a rebel'' - according to Brian.

Those are the differences now. The main difference when they were freshmen was playing time. Brian started right away and set Villanova freshman season records for catches (56) and receiving yards (805).

Meanwhile, Brad played special teams and saw little action at wide receiver.

``It was a little difficult,'' Brad said. ``I guess it took a while to get confident on the field. The same thing happened in high school. I don't know why, but it takes me a little longer to develop my confidence.''

Brian was starting and Brad was coming off the bench again last year. But Brian separated his shoulder, missed two games and wound up with 32 receptions.

``I started in Brian's place when he got hurt,'' Brad said. ``When he came back, I was a role player again. I was coming off the bench.''

Now, Brian and Brad Finneran are starting together. They both have good hands. They both know how to find holes in a defense. They both are fine downfield blockers.

Neither is particularly fast: They run 4.7 40s. But that hasn't stopped Brian from succeeding for three seasons and Brad from succeeding this year.

``We usually line up on the same side of the ball,'' Brad said. ``Brian catches a lot of 5- and 10-yard passes. He sets up his blocks. He knows I'll be coming back to block for him.''

Brian would like to block out the memory of last season. There was the injury. There was the record: 3-8 with six of the losses coming by six points or fewer.

This season has been different. The Division I-AA Wildcats have dropped only one game, 38-28, to Division I Rutgers. They trounced Delaware on Sept. 14, 27-0.

Winning beats losing. And starting together beats the alternative for Brad and Brian Finneran.

``We're having fun playing football,'' Brian said. ``That's what it's all about.''

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