Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Of George

With the off-season winding down, it's interesting to look back and see what Georgetown's been talking about this summer with regards to football. Or, just as important, what it hasn't.
  • No stories about seven on seven games with Maryland or Towson.
  • No stories about incredible off-season workouts.
  • No stories about players coming back early, or that "can't wait" until opening day.
(And, sadly, no stories that the Multi-Sport Field is just around the corner.)

For whatever reason, these summer staples of the past were never posted on the athletics web site, and thus off-season coverage has been next to nothing for a team that, in 2009, was next to nothing in the win column. Even in the first week of August, the fall roster remains unpublished, through you'd think it will be in place for the Patriot League Media Day. But perhaps Georgetown has taken to heart the truism that no team wins championships in July, and all the rah-rah articles don't carry any weight when you're 0-11, anyway.

The summer is a time for planning and preparation, and the staff knows that this year will be looked upon very, very closely by fans and a new athletic director to see where the program is headed. The mistakes of 2010 aren't that of Jim Miceli, Dassin Blackwell, or Frank Colaprete. With a considerably lighter schedule, a healthy crop of returning upperclassmen (published roster notwithstanding), and three returning QBs, expectations of a more successful season must be a mandate and not wishful thinking.

It's also a time for player preparation, too. When you face the size and talent gap that the Hoyas do week in and out, summer preparation is critical to success in the fall. The late Scotty Glacken once said that the 40 weeks of the off-season is the time to prepare for the roughly 40 hours on the field during a season. Whether  a player is a starter, a backup, or a newcomer, the coaches need men that are physically and emotionally ready to battle come training camp next week.Without it, all the coaching in the world won't get this team where it needs to be. So just because it's quiet doesn't mean nothing is going on.

Speaking of quiet, what's been going on around the rest of the Patriot League?

-- Bucknell fans were given a summertime jolt when it was learned that its Oct. 2 home game with Cornell would be picked up by the CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV), a national cable and satellite carrier. This isn't Time-Warner Cable or Channel 69 we're talking about, but truly national coverage. It's an outstanding opportunity for the teams and the Patriot League to reach a wider audience, and you've got to hope that Bucknell officials do everything in their power to make Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium sell out for the occasion. The worst thing CBS needs is to have fans surfing the networks after Texas-Oklahoma or Penn State-Iowa to see 8,000 empty seats at Lewisburg. Who knows, maybe CBS could give Georgetown a look when that new field is built....

-- At Colgate, the Red Raiders are taking a page out of some of the SEC schools and initiating a summer caravan for fans. "This summer['s] road tour will make stops at towns throughout the Central New York area to give fans chances to win tickets to Colgate football games, receive free giveaway items, take photos with championship trophies and receive information about football ticket discounts, " wrote the Colgate web site. "Fans can meet Raider along with coaches and former standout wide receiver Pat Simonds ’10 at select stops on the Tour." With Colgate awaiting its biggest regular season game in a generation at Syracuse next month, getting the word out is good timing.

-- Fordham fans have been awaiting 2010 as its first year with schoalrship players since 1954, though it is not altogether clear whether only recruited freshmen are on scholarships, or some upperclassmen have been converted onto scholarships (I think it is the former). The university is also seeking to inmprove conditions by building new locker rooms for the team, in a somewhat unlikely place--a former pool which sat underneath Rose Hill Gymnasium. "The new space will feature over 90 lockers, wide screen televisions and a theater-type viewing area for the team...", reads the Fordham web site. "When finished, the room will be approximately 4,800 square feet, more than four times larger than the current locker room."

Fans from other schools are astounded to hear that game-day locker rooms at Georgetown don't really exist. This too, waits for the decade-long Multi Sport Field project to awaken, but as the MSF sleeps, others move forward.

--From Holy Cross, a project of a different kind--the school is introducing a "Ring Of Fame" at Fitton Field to honor Crusader gridiron greats of the past. The inaugural class includes names such as Bill Osmanski '39, Ed Murphy '43, Vince Promuto '60, John Provost '75, Gil Fenerty '86, and Gordie Lockbaum '86, ostensibly the last Division I-A athlete that was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. 

Were Georgetown to do the same! Yes, we 're still waiting on the MSF, but in research for the soon to arrive Football History Project, Georgetown has some great figures from its football past that could be honored thusly. From Harry Costello to Johnny Gilroy, Jack Hagerty to Jim Mooney, Augie Lio to Jim Castliglia, and the one and only Al Blozis, the names of Georgetown's football past need not be banished to the library archives.

--At Lafayette, a quiet summer as far as news goes, but the Leopards' web site did not that two former quarterbacks were set to square off in the European Federation for American Football championship in Chur, Switzerland. There are some Georgetown grads that play in arena ball (Luke McCardle, now 28, is still active) and other have seen time in Europe. While the NFL remains a distant dream for most PL athletes, it's itneresting to see that some ahve been able to continue their careers, sometimes in places one might now expect. (and for the record, Germany defeated Finland, 26-10.)

--Lehigh football alumni were feted at a summer golf tournament sponsored by that school's version of the Gridiron Club.  "I thought the event went great,” explained event organizer Mark Yeager.“The most important thing that we took away from the golf outing was that it accomplished our goal of bringing guys back together. It gave them a reason to get together for an afternoon with older and younger alumni, meet the coaches and hear about the program; we were able to re-engage them with the program and the athletics department and elevate awareness, which are fundamental goals that I think we accomplished.”

Oh, and about the title to this article. Fans of the TV show Seinfeld will no doubt recall the episode where George Costanza proclaims a season of taking it easy, which he calls "the summer of George", to include, in no particular order, frisbee golf, reading a book from start to finish ("in that order", he notes), watching TV, and taking mid-morning naps. Unfortunately for George, a turn of events ends him right back to where he was the year before, namely, in the hospital.

"Mr. Costanza, your legs have sustained extensive trauma. Apparently your body was in the state of advanced atrophy, due to a period of extreme inactivity," said the doctor. But with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, I think there's a good chance you may, one day, walk again."

"[But] this was supposed to be the Summer of George!", Costanza said.

Well, it's easy to go through a summer and, if you're not careful, end up right back to where you were. For Georgetown, let's hope the summer of 2010 doesn't lead back to the autumn of 2009.