Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Changes Next Year?

In the last fleeting moments of Saturday's Note Dame game against Connecticut, with a dark cloud hanging over the head of Charlie Weis and his sweatshirt, a producer at NBC drew a proverbial knife and slipped it right in.

NBC switched from the game to a scene at Weis' first press confernce, where a younger, thinner and somewhat cockier New England Patriots assistant confidently told his alma mater, "You are what you are, folks, and right now you’re a 6-5 football team. And guess what? That’s just not good enough. That’s not good enough for you, and it’s certainly not going to be good enough for me."

Weis' record after the game? 6-5.

Kevin Kelly was smarter than to make that claim upon taking over Bob Benson's 4-7 Georgetown Hoyas in January 2006, but he has lots of other questions ahead this off-season. An 0-11 season never goes down very well with fans, but there are some years where a coach can get away with it: a quarterback injury, probation, a mostly-freshman lineup. A one time occurrence.

Except Georgetown had none of these. Georgetown was 0-11 because it wasn't very good, isn't very good week after week, and hasn't been very good for a long while.

Good men can agree to disagree about what it will take to get better sooner, but it raises the key question for the staff during the off-season, the question the staff will hear from parents and recruits and parents of recruits:

What changes next year?

What will be different in 2010 to make this team competitive? A look at the off-season needs makes this a very, very difficult answer.

What changes at quarterback next season? In the last 10 years, only one incumbent has held the starting role the following season (Matt Bassuener), with a revolving door in the post.

At the end of 2007, Robert Lane was the returning QB, but he was passed over for Keerome Lawrence, John O'Leary and James Brady. At the end of 2008, Lawrence and O'Leary were passed over for Brady, who was passed over by Isaiah Kempf by week two, who was passed over eight weeks later by Scott Darby. For all we know, Darby could be starting with O'Leary at WR in 2010, or Tucker Stafford will finally get a chance to start, or that there's yet another high school senior out there prepared to take a pounding to call plays for the Blue and Gray.

The inconsistency at QB has mirrored the inconsistency of the team, and there's no telling if any changes among the positional coaches throws this position into question at spring practice once again. It's no secret that a veteran QB paced Holy Cross to the PL title this season. And it's also no secret that the last time Georgetown had consistency at QB, with there starting QB's from 1993-1999, it was a winning program.

Since 2001? 14 different starters.

What changes at running back next season? Maybe Charlie Houghton and Robert Lane come back for a fifth year next season, maybe not. But the position is still in need of an upgrade, especially with a power back blocking for Houghton or Philip Oladeji or whoever gets a look at tailback. There hasn't been a power back in the lineup in probably ten years, when Rob Belli (1997-99) ran for 826 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Think about those last two numbers: 826 yards, 17 touchdowns. In 2009, the entire Georgetown offense combined for 555 yards and two touchdowns. Outside of Oladeji and Houghton, the Hoyas combined for 124 carries and 52 net yards, So how does it get better next year, because it absolutely has to.

What changes at offensive line next season? A lot of people point to the O-line as the source of Georgetown's frustrations--too small, too slow, and overwhelmed on the line. It's an exaggeration in some cases, but not always. When healthy, the offensive line can hold their own, but it's resembled a MASH unit over the last few years. Three seniors graduate off the line this spring, and none of their replacements are much bigger than 280 lbs. Georgetown is hard pressed recruiting any 300 pounders and relies, if by default, on smaller players. But at what cost? Isaiah Kempf doesn't get sacked nine times in a game for being slow. He's sacked nine times because the line gets beat up all season and was shot by week 11.

Who among the returning players steps up, or is it more of the same?

What changes on defense next season? The front seven will reload, as usual, although the Hoyas cannot seem to establish a consistent run defense. One reason: less pressure on the quarterback. In the Fordham game, the front line combined for 0.5 sacks against Fordham, and the Hoyas ranked 100th in the nation in average sacks per game (1.3). In the season finale, the defensive line gave up 38 pounds, on average, against Fordham's line.So what happens when a 260 lb. lineman meets a 310 lb. one? Don't plan on a sack.

The secondary loses three mainstays in Rau, Jackson, and Mack, with Bodrick a close fourth.  Kyle Miller and Jeff Gazaway have to get up to speed this spring or Georgetown will be vulnerable again in the air.

What changes on special teams next season? A lot. One of the recrurring misfires in recruiting in the last 5-7 years has been special teams, and Georgetown has relied on a wing and prayer to find consistency. Its last punter with more than two years experience was David Paulus in 2002, its last three year kicker dates back to the MAAC era.  

GU was fortunate that walk-on and football newcomer Jose Pablo-Buerba and WR-turned-punter Brian Josephs succeeded under short notice (having seen Kilgo Livingston, Casey Dobyns and Rafael Notario leave the team over the last two years) but both Buerba and Josephs will have graduated this spring. The Hoyas need real help on special teams next year.

What changes on the schedule next year? Richmond is out, Davidson is in, but that doesn't buy you much, given that Georgetown hasn't won a road game outside the District in over two years. OK, so Georgetown beats Davidson and Marist--is 2-9 in 2010 a sign of improvement? I hope not.

There's not much that can be done, of course, as it's not good practice to tear up contracts, but the 2009 schedule was a no-win situation (literally) for the Hoyas.

So what changes next year? It's hard to say in November, but it's time to get to work to do so, even if it is the off-season. Or, as Weis might have said, "You are what you are, folks. And guess what? That’s just not good enough."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 11 Recap

Some thoughts following Fordham's 41-14 win to end the 2009 season:

No Quit: Congratulations to the team for not giving up on what has been, by any objective view, an awful season. The ability of the team to keep working hard amidst injuries and talent gaps between Georgetown and its opponents is no less easy when you're winning, but doubly difficult as the losses mount. One can be discouraged in the record and at the same time proud of those that fought the fight.

Thanks Fans: Georgetown's average attendance of 2,527 doesn't sound impressive, but it was the best average in over 10 years and reinforces that well-worn phrase: if you build it, they will come. (And if you actually finish it, even more will.) Give Georgetown fans a winning program and the MSF will be a great place to be in coming years.

Late Season Blues: Georgetown has won one season finale this decade and there's one reason which goes a little unnoticed: familarity.  As teams go, Georgetown does not change its tactics much from game to game--primarily the result of a lack of healthy talent, partly a result of some limited offensive play calling, but most often the lack of options to adapt to players. It is why you see the Hoyas do reaonably well the first game of each year and to start to struggle from there on out--teams are digesting game film and are picking up GU's predicatable game plans as they go along. You saw it in Isaiah kempf's declining numbers since the Yale game--teams figured his style of play out and keyed on it. To build momentum in October, a team must be better than its opponetns or more innovative, and Georgetown didn't have much of either this season.

4th and 22: Did anyone see the play on ESPN where Yale, leading late in the fourth quarter, ran a fake punt on a 4th and 22, but failed and gave Harvard the field position to win the game? Yes, people can criticize it but it shows the kind of faith in a team that Tom Williams has in his young Bulldogs, and that faith is going to pay dividends down the road. had it worked, they'd be calling Williams a genius; this time, he's a goat. But he's a really good coach and better days await Yale.

Georgetown wasn't into much trickery this year; again, the depth of talent wasn't there. I think this is one of the three big issues hading into next season: depth--how can Georgetown get wins when it cannot build depth?

Stat Of The Season, #1: Georgetown was outscored 99-27 in the first quarter of games. Last season it was 72-27, over four seasons, 376-78. The Georgetown offensive sets are not designed for comebacks, so something needs fixing here.

Stat of The Season, #2: Georgetown's offensive line was 25th in the nation during 2008 in fewest sacks allowed. In 2009? 112th.

Some Unofficial Awards: The team awards will be announced in January...or February, or even April, depending on when the awards banquet is held. Here are some very unofficial candidates for such awards:
  • Al Blozis Award (MVP): Hard to focus on an offensive MVP in a winless season, but since it's gone to the defense three straight years, here are three from the D worth a chance to be honored: LB Nick Parrish, DB Travis Mack, and DT Andrew Schaetzke.
  • Jack Hagerty Award (backs): Only one running back has won this in the last decade, as linebackers and secondary have taken over. Parrish, Mack, and sophomore DB David Quintero are all worthy candidates.
  • George Murtagh Award (linemen): If there's a way to honor the efforts of center Dan Matheny, this might be it. DE Chudi Obianwu and OL Rich Hussey deserve a look as well. 
  • Jermiah Minihan Award (coaches award): A hard one to judge, but maybe there is a place to honor the senior special teams. Jose Pablo-Buerba and Brian Josephs weren't even on the radar screen for special teams two years ago and both acquitted themselves well this season.
  • John Burke Award (courage and spirit): Jon Cassidy.
There are a couple of awards the team doesn't give out but probably should. I'll give them a couple of names just for the heck of it:
  • "Lou Little Award" (top freshman): One had to be impressed by how QB Isaiah Kempf stepped up when James Brady walked away. 
  • "Scott Glacken Award" (outstanding senior contribution): Robert Lane did everything that was asked of him throughout four years. He will be missed.
I didn't offer a recommendation on the Maurice Dubofsky Award (outstanding student-athlete) or the Eacobacci Memorial winner, because those are unique awards. But for all the Hoyas' troubles on the field, there are more than a few deserving candidates whose on and off the field leadership make them worthy candidates of such honors.

And so to the entire 2009 Hoyas, this quote from U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Benjamin Cardozo: "In the end the great truth will have been learned, that the quest is greater than what is sought, the effort finer than the prize, or rather that the effort is the prize, the victory cheap and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game."

Your work on the field is done, but for the seniors, we'll need you back as alumni. There's more work to be done. A lot more.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week 10 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Richmond's 49-10 win Saturday:

Zero Hour: One can say it's "for" the seniors, and that's true, but Georgetown is playing "against" the idea of being the first team in Georgetown's long and often storied history not to win a game in a season. Outside of two bad teams in Howard and Marist, they haven't even been close.

The margin of defeat in those two games combined? Four points. And since these were only the two teams Georgetown actually beat in 2008, how close was that team to a zero win season in 2008? One pass play and two missed PAT's. When you think of it that way, this isn't a one year phenomenon, is it?

A winless season happened once before, sort of. The 1984 team was beaten soundly in all seven games that season, but claimed a forfeit win following a 56-6 stomping by Catholic University over charges CUA had an ineligible player; hence, Georgetown history records a 1-6 season. (Like any good rivalry, Catholic still lists it as a win.)

But barring any such technicalities, a loss to Fordham is a mark which cannot soon be erased from this staff nor this team's image among students and alumni. It's also likely to raise heat from a Georgetown alumni community that will grudgingly tolerate a two or three win season, but not 0-11. Never mind selling that to recruits, but try selling that to alumni.

Poor Preparation: A fumble on the first play of the game. An itnterception after three passes. Three series, three turnovers soncerted to touchdowns. What a dismal way to start a game, not only against a nationally respected team, but at home. Even worse--this is week 10, not week one, and when your senior RB coughts up the ball on the first carry, that does not speak well for this team's mental toughness and preparation.

As for Coach Kelly being called on a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty? Wow. You can watch a lot of football over the years and not see such a call, but a head coach needs to know better not to even get into that kind of situation. It didn't cost Georgetown the game, but it was the wrong place to make that argument.

Seeing Red: The Richmond Times-Dispatch raised an interesting angle not heretofore discussed in dissecting the Hoyas' 0-10 season--redshirts.

"The Hoyas (0-10), of the Patriot League, do not offer athletic scholarships, nor do they redshirt..." wrote the T-D's John O'Connor. "Richmond works with 63 football scholarships, the maximum in the Football Championship Subdivision, and this season usually starts 15 seniors who redshirted as true freshmen." OK, so the 63 scholarships doesn't hurt, but 15 fifth-year players is a big, big deal.

The Patriot League only allows medical redshirts--it was reported over the weekend that Georgeown could receive a fifth year for both Charlie Houghton and Robert Lane should they choose to stay. But should Georgetown be more proactive with de facto redshirting; that is, not playing freshman players at all? A coach wants the best players out there, but the freshman issue is a crutch of sorts--yes, some recruits get the chance to play, but at the expense of developing upperclassmen. A lineup dominant with freshmen players never gains traction when they are replaced by more underclassmen the following year.

Left unsaid is the financial angle. Richmond can afford to float a kid's education for four or five years, Georgetown can't afford a fraction of that.

Rushing Title: Depending on the severity of an injury suffered against Richmond, senior Charlie Houghton enters week 11 with 61 carries for 276 yards this season. If he ends the season there, it will mark the fewest attempts for a leading rusher since 1983, when Georgetown played only eight games that season, but would still mark Houghton's third rushing title in four years, last matched by Steve Iorio (1994,96,97). Sophomore Philip Oladeji trails Houghton by 49 yards entering Saturday's game.

The Mendoza Line: 14 points is the "Mendoza Line" for Georgetown's offense over the last two seasons, having passed it just twice in the last 21 games. The Hoyas need 14 points in this game to match its points average from last season, 9.6, which was the lowest average for a GU team since 1984. A shutout would leave Georgetown at a lowly 8.7 per game, lowest since 1935.

Running On Empty: With its first and only touchdown Saturday, Georgetown scored its second, repeat, second touchdown on the ground in ten games.

It's inexcusable. It's dead last in Division I--only three schools have fewer than five and one of them is downgrading back to Division II. the subdivision average (average, mind you) is 14. Among 2009 opponents, Colgate has 28, Old Dominion has 24, Richmond 20. This offense has many faults, but look no further than this one: Georgetown has a 30% conversion rate in the red zone for touchdowns, with six in 20 attempts. Opponents have a 63% conversion, 27 for 43.

In the interests of full disclosure, Howard has three touchdowns, one of which came against Georgetown. What is it about local schools and poor football?

Maryland (I-A): 2-8
Virginia (I-A): 2-8
Howard (I-AA): 2-8
Georgetown (I-AA):0-10
Catholic (III): 1-9
George Mason (club):  1-7, one game cancelled for lack of healthy players

So it's on to face Fordham and barring a momentous upset, the die will be cast on Georgetown's worst season ever, 1984 notwithstanding. Georgetown's last home win to end a season was November 20, 1999, a 52-7 runaway against LaSalle. Could anyone have fast-forwarded ten years to see this?

The fact that 0-11 is even a possibility (much less a probability) at Georgetown says a lot about how far this this program has gone off track over the last ten years and the work which lies ahead.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 9 Thoughts

Some post-game thoughts following Marist's 23-21 victory on Sunday:

The End of the Line. There's not any good way to get around it: barring a historic upset of Richmond Saturday (and I'm not calling it), this team either finishes with the second 1-10 record in school history or finishes with its worst, 0-11. Over and above the finger pointing which is sure to follow, these next two weeks marks the end the football careers for 21 seniors who worked harder and expected better.

Sadly, the mistakes that you can stomach in week one were in anything but digestible in week 10: two turnovers inside the Georgetown 30 which led to 14 Marist points, four failed fourth down conversions, another early shutdown of the running game. The hardest lesson from this game is how little progress as a team Georgetown has made over the season, and how such progress is vital to a competitive game Saturday with #1-ranked Richmond.

Houghton's Mark: When Charlie Houghton won PL Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 with a 403 yard season, it seemed only the beginning. Houghton needs 136 yards over his next two games just to match that number, and has not scored a rushing touchdown since the 2007 season.

Some Better Numbers. Scott Darby posted some strong numbers passing in the Marist game for his first start of the season: 31-57 for 289 yards. Outside of the 68 yard pass to Brandon Floyd, he averaged seven yards a pass, which should be a point of emphasis for Georgetown in the off-season. Now that GU has receivers like Floyd and Kenneth Furlough with size and speed, the ofense must provide the ability to leverage their skills downfield.

A Great Return: Lost amidst the 0-9 record is the return from injury from senior LB Chris Rau. Hampered by injury much of the season, Rau returned to action in the Old Dominion game and for Marist led the team in tackles with 11.

Injuries have taken their toll on the senior class, but it has not stopped the heart and desire to do better. As written by Mex Carey over at the Hoya Insider blog: "Before [ODU], Chris hadn't played in a game all season. During the spring game in April, Chris tore a ligament in his leg and he spent the summer, all of preseason and the first seven games this year rehabilitating himself so he could get a chance to be back on the field with his teammates. Chris, who finished eighth in the Patriot League in tackles as a sophomore and junior, is one of our captains and his absence on the field of play was evident. It says a lot about him that in his first two games this year, he led the team in tackles, registering a combined 18 tackles against Old Dominion and Marist."

The biggest enemy on the schedule isn't Richmond or Fordham, it's time. There may be a lot to complain about in two weeks time, but the seniors deserve some support in these next two weeks. They've only won five games in four years, but a sixth would not be soon forgotten.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Low Tide

The clocks have swung back and the days grow short for the 2009 season. Georgetown still has three games left, three games to make a stand, but for a lot of fans, the bright lights of September have all but gone out for this team.

The Old Dominion game said as much. Georgetown's cheering section was a family and friends affair, and despite a distance to the game not unlike that to Lehigh or Lafayette (200 miles), there was nary a Hoya Blue shirt or a local alumnus to be found. More than one person at the game asked me if my son was playing out there, as I was one of the few non-parents to make it to the game itself.

The absence of local alumni should be a cause for concern. There are a few hundred alumni in the Tidewater region and more in the Richmond area; granted, not a hotbed for Hoyas, but enough that should have been reached out to to offer tickets. (The alumni population at Georgetown seems to stop at the Alexandria city limits.) Georgetown does not enjoy a reputation as a "traveling" school, even in basketball, but the only way you're going to get more fans motivated in the program is to see it up front. OK, maybe this season isn't the best light to show them, but the dedication of the team is as strong as ever and we shouldn't forget that.

The absence of students, well, can only be solved by winning. Georgetown student support has been spotty for a number of years now; outside the first two games of the season, it seems students cannot focus on any team other than men's basketball these days. To see an attendance of just 1,013 at the Big East men's soccer quarterfinal aginsat DePaul is another example of an increasingly indifferent student sports populace.

Then again, it beats the 191 that saw Villanova to lose to Providence. (191?)

The 0-8 Georgetown record is not alone among underperforming programs locally. Everyone knows about the seemingly wobegone Redskins ("where never is heard a discouraging word, and signs are not allowed all day...") and their growing fan discomfort.  But they are not alone. How about these teams?
  • Maryland (2-6): The Terrapins may talk about a rally to earn a bowl trip to RFK Stadium (Eagle Bowl tickets, anyone?) but don't count on it. With N.C. State (away), Virginia Tech, Florida State (away) and Boston College, the Terps might finish dropping three or four. And with only one Div. I-A win this season, this could be the worst season at Byrd Stadium since Ron Vanderlinden finished 3-8 ten years ago. These are not good days for his successor, Ralph Friedgen, and unlike more polite Georgetown fans, Maryland fans don't mind telling him so.
  • Virginia (3-5): Atterndance is off by an average of 15,000 a game since the opener, and losing to Duke last week has set off alarm bells in Charlottesville. And it probably doesn't help that the recent Associated Press story titled "Virginia AD casts ominous cloud over Groh’s future" strongly suggests Al Groh will be called to account at season's end  for his 29-28 mark over five years. These days, a 29-28 might be enough for tenure at Georgetown.
  • Towson (2-6): The CAA's most recent entrant has posted only two winning seasons since leaving the Patriot League in 2003 and has lost 16 of its last 24. 2009 looks to be more of the same. After a 42-14 loss to Richmond last week, it gets no easier for Rob Ambrose and the Tigers: at William & Mary, Villanova, and at James Madison to close the season.
  • Howard (2-6): Remember the Bison? Since their 14-11 split decision over the Hoyas at Homecoming Weekend and a 7-3 win over Division II-bound Winston Salem State, the Bison have dropped four straight, scoring an average of eight points a game, most recently a 41-6 rout at the hands of  a .500 Norfolk State team. The Bison need a win in either of its final two home games to avoid going winless in the MEAC for a second consecutive year.
  • Catholic (1-7): Across town in Division III, the Cardinals are heading for one of the major collapses in local football history: from a 9-2 mark in 2008 to a one win team in 2009. Two games remain against a 2-6 Guilford team and the 6-2 Bridgewater Eagles.
  • George Mason (1-5): This is shaping up to be the worst season in the Patriots' 17 year club history. After opening with a 28-14 win over a club team at Walter Reed Medical Center, the Pats have been outscored 62-34, 67-13, 55-7, 60-0, and 51-12, and cancelling two of its last three games due to injuries to a depleted roster. Local sports fans might remember that a decision for Mason to join Division I-AA in 1998 fell short by one trustee vote, and they've never been as close since. As Old Dominion football has taken off and George Mason is getting clobbered by lesser teams, once recalls the most painful four words in sports: what might have been.
However struggling these teams are, and they are, they've all won a game this season. All but one, that is.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 8 Thoughts

Some (brief) thoughts following Old Dominion's 31-10 win over Georgetown Saturday:

Play Of The Game: Given the number of Georgetown fans at Saturday's game, most of you probably caught the radio feed, if that. The game could be summed up by the first Georgetown series of the game: three incompletions and a snap that sailed over Brian Josephs' head, setting up the Monarchs, already up 7-0. You could literally hear a collective groan from the 19,500 ODU fans and little else from the Hoya section.

What you may forget is the defense holding ODU to a field goal. But with the way Georgetown's offense scores, any doubt about the outcome was still gone. Like Lucy picking up the ball on Charlie Brown's field goal try, Georgetown's 35th loss in 40 games (a mark unseen outside Terre Haute, Indiana) was heading to press.

Bad Night For The Defense: I'm pretty supportive of the Hoyas' defense this season picking up the mes left by the offense but the defense was beaten handily on the run this evening. ODU's Thomas DeMarco was the kind of quarterback Georgetown could have used in the Uzelac-Miceli run packages of old (now that Georgetown seems to reversed course to a pass attack) but DeMarco wears blue and silver, not blue and gold. The blistering 350-39 advantage in total yardage at the end of the first half was bad on both sides--that the defense was made into mince meat by the ODU ground game, and that the Georgetown offense, coming off a two week break, managed 14 yards on the ground and 25 in the air. The defense has a long week in practice ahead of it.

Postcards From Norfolk: The Old Dominion game was my one road game of the year, and marks the sixth straight year I've traveled home with a road loss. But I'm glad I saw the game first hand, because the Old Dominion game experience was impressive, and I say that just two weeks removed from Notre Dame-USC.

Nobody will confuse the New South-style architecture of ODU with the Golden Dome or the Hilltop, but the way that ODU has engaged the campus, the community, and the region with first year football ought to be a case study for every South Alabama and Georgia State coming up around the bend.

The first thing you noticed at Old Dominion was the tailgates. Plural. The group above had prime lcoation outside Foreman Field, but there were, by my count, six different large tailgates going on simultaneously around campus, from a  tented affair for alumni in the main quad (arguably the least crowded), to one nearly a half mile away. Alls eemed were family-friendly, with lots of people taking in the food and drink and frequent games of cornhole (and for our wine-and-cheese readers, I did not say cornholio. check Wikipedia for what cornhole is.)

Many of these tailgates were already underway when I arrived at 2:00 (t-minus 4 hours to kickoff) and ran pre- and post-game, despite the fact that the game ended at 9:00. No satellite dishes beaming in the SEC afternoon game, though. Oh, give them time.

Parking was free. Years ago, I could park right down the road at the TCU games in Ft. Worth for free... no more. A couple of years from now, ODU will be charging $10.00 a car too.

Foreman Field on itself is an average football venue. Built as a WPA project in the 1930's, it can show its age. What you see above is something else entirely.

The Ainslie Football Building covers the south end zone at Foreman (technically, S.B. Ballard Stadium at Foreman Field) and is as impressive as any end zone facility you'll see in I-AA. The smaller photo doesn't do it justice--check this link for a full view. The cost was somewhere around $10 million, or about half the cost of this long-forgotten design:

The lower level is a concession stand/bar for patrons adjacent to the tunnel where the Monarchs enter and exit the field, with three levels of box seats above it. As the ODU site puts it, "Twelve of the suites have their own patio overlooking the plaza south of the complex, while the loge seating area also includes an 8,000 square foot covered patio on the second level of the facility. Another 7,500 square foot enclosed terrace looks directly out over the south end zone." A cost for a suite? $25,000 a season.

More than a playground for Norfolk's elite, it's an immediate "sell" to recruits. And there's no "Phase 1B" or "conceptual planning stage" talk, either. Recruits can see it up front.

Here's the home side of Foreman Field, as the marching band makes way for its pre-game show. Funny, ODU can create a marching band in a year, but Georgetown can't get enough volunteers from its 87 year old band to march at a game. That's for another time, I guess.

And the visitor's side. A few seats open near us, but not many.

And finally, the scoreboard. You really couldn't miss it, especially when the announcer made frequent reference to a "Virginia Lottery First Down!". (Somehow, a "Pizzeria Paradiso Punt" doesn't have the same ring to it.). It's the kind of scoreboard almost all I-AA teams have now, in some form or fashion.

Notice the offer for sponsorship opportunities. It never hurts to remind folks that, wins or not, there's always room on the bandwagon. And perhaps Georgetown could take a few notes from this evening next time MSF 6.0 comes up at the planning table. The total cost of the renovation was $24 million.

The total cost of Georgetown's renovation effort for football remains to be seen.