Villanova was upset, 20-9, in its home opener last week by Monmouth, an opponent the Wildcats had never met before.
In that game, redshirt senior Christian Culicerto took over at quarterback in the second quarter after true freshman Chris Polony started and struggled. Entering the year, redshirt freshman Dustin Thomas was the starter, but he suffered a separated shoulder when the Wildcats went down at Towson in their second game of the season.
Thomas is expected to be out four to six weeks. Culicerto will make his first career start against Penn after going 11 for 24 for 183 yards with an interception.
Villanova has been outscored, 93-26, and has failed to get points in the first half in each of its games.
"Christian did a nice job for us, but we were just trying to put some points on the board," Talley said. "We've struggled to put points on the board, and to challenge teams, and to put pressure and stress on teams. We have not been able to move the ball."
The quarterback situation is not the only one Talley is trying to straighten out. Villanova lacks depth at wide receiver and was dealt a terrible blow when all-Colonial Athletic Association pass-catcher Norman White was ruled out for the season with a foot injury before the first game.
The running back Talley was hoping to start against Penn, 5-foot-11, 190-pound freshman Austin Medley, has a back injury and may not play.
Talley said he asked his upperclassmen to make an effort to encourage their teammates.
"Our upperclassmen have had success," Talley said. "They won a championship, and now this. The freshmen we recruited who saw us win a championship, they're like, 'What is this? This is not what I bargained for.' The big thing for us is to make sure our players stay on their games and improve. For us to say all is well when we're 0-3 . . . we have a team that's not playing with urgency and swagger, and that's the rebuilding part."
Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or email@example.com.