Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week 7 Thoughts

Some brief thoughts from Saturday's loss to Bucknell (or scattershooting as to whatever happened to Barney O'Donnell....)

Scatter-what? The "scattershooting" reference pays homage to a legendary Dallas sports columnist who would begin his weekly column asking about the whereabouts of some forgotten player of the recent past. And as for this week's name, well, Google is a great researcher.

Barney O'Donnell, a four sport high school star who was recruited in 2007, left Georgetown after one season and spent a year at a junior college. And he's turned up in the NAIA.

"Georgetown was a great experience for me, and I had a hard time leaving there, but football was not the most important thing there, and I needed a change," O'Donnell said.

Read more about it at

Hoyas: What Ails Them? There are a lot of clues in Saturday's loss, but these can be summed up in one word: focus.

Maybe it was the warm weather. Maybe it was a long night after Midnight Madness. Maybe it was those road jerseys, I don't know. Teams in week 7 of the college football season shouldn't be making the mistakes  made in this game--penalties, dropped passes, missed assignments on kick returns, or calling a throw to the end zone when you only needed seven yards. Getting picked off for a touchdown is the most visible symptom, but that wasn't the only misstep in this game.

This team, at last in the last two weeks and perhaps since the Holy Cross game, is losing the focus that teams absolutely require down the stretch. Coaches, too. Yes, the officiating was poor, but there are no "make-up" calls in college football like there are in college basketball--arguing at the line judge isn't going to change the outcome and he's not more or less likely to throw the flag the next time around. Sideline penalties reflect poorly on Georgetown and they should be avoided. Then again, the call itself was unnecessary and the officiating crew was overmatched in this game.

Rotating Quarterbacks: I wish it didn't come to this. The staff made the call at the beginning of the season to go with Scott Darby, and barring injury, Darby should get the call. Introducing Keerome Lawrence (who only runs) and Isaiah Kempf (who almost always passes) into the lineups is a sign of distress to opposing coaches. Darby could be a successful passer (and has been)...if he gets the time to do so, and he's not getting that. Kempf showed a bit of running and passing Saturday but that was due to an unfamiliaity Bucknell had on Kempf in recent game films. If Fordham or Lehigh start focusing on Kempf in film work, his effectiveness diminishes, much as it did last season...when Scott Darby played the role of the last season quarterback option. Short of adding Tucker Stafford and Aaron Aiken to the late season rotation, quarterback changes will be less effective as the season progresses.

Backfield By Proxy: What does Philip Oladeji, Wilburn Logan and Dalen Claytor share in common with the Dallas Cowboys' Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice? Both groups have talent on the field but their respective staffs seems ill at ease with committing to a running game.

Dallas cannot win games expecting Tony Romo to throw for 450 yards a game. And Georgetown can't win if its runners are averaging 106 yards a game (and just 73 yards in the last three). There has to be a balance, a balance that went out the window in the second half vs. Bucknell--remember, Georgetownb only ntrailed by seven but the calls were from a team down three touchdowns.

MSF Mess: Can someone take a serious look at the fan experience at the MSF? If it's not the canned music making the band inaudible, the lack of any seating pattern for a full game, or the ongoing clock problems which have still not been fixed, the environment at these games is not winning converts.

One suggestion: Enforce reserved seating on the home side, general admission on the visitors side. Yes, someone will actually have to  mark row and seat numbers, and tickets will have to be enforced. But for the parents and visitors who really want to see the game, they should not have to get bumped from seats when they come back from the concession stand and seats are gone.

If it means moving students east, let's consider it. There is zero enthusiasm with students getting what are essentially 10 yard line seats, leading more and more to simply watch the game outside the fence. With declining road crowds, let the students build their own atmosphere across the field and leave the home crowd to people who will pay for the right to have a seat when they get there.

Video Board? Did I hear this right? McDonough Gym gets two video boards installed, presumably for the volleyball and women's basketball games? Well, good for them, but when is the 1995-era Harbin soccer scoreboard going to get retired? 

I really, really hope that there is some clarity on what Georgetown wants out of the unnamed MSF for 2011 and 2012. The well of hope that the construction cranes are coming has been bled dry by years of false hopes and unclear expectations, and if the project gets pushed out again, what can be done in he interim to make it a better fan experience? The Field With No Name hasn't had any serious upkeep (outside the lights) since construction was halted five years ago, and fans can see this. So do recruits.

“I think what it does more than anything else, it sends a message that we take our athletics, and the interest we have in our student-athletes and their well-being, seriously. Those factors will send a clear message to the prospective students’ families.” That's a quote from the athletic director at Sacred Heart, whose eponymous Campus Field welcomes the Hoyas next week.

Worth Repeating: The NextStep fundraiser was held this weekend in Washington.  If you're anywhere near the Chicago area, a second fundraiser follows on October 28. Information follows at