Stan Bennett - Villanova - Article
Sept. 13, 2000 - Villanova Football Website
By Kevin Patrick Fischer
You will not read about his play in the Sunday newspaper, nor will you hear his name echo throughout the Stadium over the P.A. during the course of the game. After all, senior Stanley Bennett plays the most under appreciated position in all of football: offensive line.
As an offensive lineman, Bennett sports a mask of anonymity when he straps on his shoulder pads. Occasionally, a teammate will pat him on the back thanking him for his efforts, but for the most part, Bennett receives minimal recognition for his blocking.
"It's not supposed to be a glamour position," Bennett explains of offensive line, the only position in football not to have any statistical categories recorded. "The people that know about linemen are the people that need to know, like the running backs and the quarterbacks. They all appreciate you."
Each and every snap Bennett executes the planned blocking scheme bashing, and getting bashed, by opposing defensive lines, all for the benefit of the team and the glory of his teammates. But never will you hear a complaint from Bennett.
"People don't understand the mentality of linemen," Bennett said. "We are not out there to look good. We are out there to get the job done."
During his four seasons in a Wildcat uniform, Bennett, a tri-captain of the 2000 squad, has adhered to that linemen oath: Getting the job done. It may not be flashy or eye-catching, but Bennett insists on getting the job done.
Since his arrival on the Main Line, Villanova has posted a 26-11 record, which includes three losses to Division 1-A programs, while Bennett has been on the line. In a day and age when injuries plague the careers of many offensive linemen, Bennett continues to stay healthy and has started 37 consecutive game for coach Andy Talley and the Wildcats.
"I didn't think about it until now," Bennett explains of his 37-game, iron-man streak. "It's just about being able to play. It's surprised me. I didn't think it is a big deal when I first started playing. Going into 40 games now though, it's something special."
During the stretch of 37 games, Bennett has protected former Villanova quarterback Chris Boden as he threw for 10,146 yards and 99 touchdowns, as well as blocking for teammate Brain Westbrook's record-breaking 1,000/1,000 season.
"I used to sit back and look at some of the things those guys were doing. It was amazing to me to think about all that they did. It's just great being a part of something like that."
Entering the college ranks, Bennett was not certain that he would find himself on the gridiron as some people questioned his size and ability. "I really wasn't sure about playing football in college. I wanted to try to go some place where I could get an education first and concentrate more on school than football."
Bennett found the right opportunity at Villanova thanks to former Villanova wide-outs, Brian and Brad Finneran, who played with Bennett at Santa Margarita Catholic High School (Calif.). Bennett made the adjustment to his new home, Villanova, with the assistance of his fellow Californians on the team.
"The Finneran's were the only reason I really knew about Villanova," Bennett stated. "At first when we came to college, we had something in common with the other guys from California. Like Murle (Sango) and Steve (Ward) were some of the guys I got to know quicker because they were from California. I think it's funny that all the California guys come out here. I have been in California all my life and I wanted to see another part of the country."
The Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. native has come a long way since his arrival at Villanova, both literally and figuratively. In addition to fine-tuning his blocking techniques and knowledge of the game, Bennett has grown three inches and added 60 pounds since freshman year. He now weighs in at 6-5, 300 pounds.
When the Villanova coaching staff was introduced to the young man from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., the coaches were not sure where the 6-2, 240 Bennett would fit in. Upon arrival, though, he proved he had the skill and ability and earned a starting spot as an offensive lineman in pre-season camp.
"Freshman year was kind of surprising," Bennett explains about earning a starting spot on a team that would finish the regular season a perfect 11-0, winning the Atlantic 10 Championship. "Coming into camp, the coaches told me that I was probably going to red-shirt. I don't think they had any idea that I was going to start."
Over the last three years, Bennett has developed into one of top offensive linemen in the Atlantic 10 Conference as he was awarded second team All-Atlantic 10 last season and is an All-Conference Candidate for the 2000 season. Despite being recognized as one of the premier linemen in 1-AA Bennett places emphasis on his on-field performance.
"Personally, I just want to play the best I can. I don't concentrate on any of the accolades that newspapers give you. It is harder for a lineman because there are no stats or stuff like that. That really doesn't matter."
Iron Man Stan Bennett insists on adhering to that offensive linemen oath for the remainder of the 2000 season as the Wildcats hope to achieve national championship status. Bennett also hopes to elevate his play to the next level so he can have the opportunity to play on Sundays next year.
"Hopefully I can just get a chance somewhere and get invited to a camp. Maybe they don't like what they see now, but if I get invited to camp I know I can surprise some people. It's kind of like when I first came to Villanova, people didn't expect too much, but I proved that I could Get the Job Done."