Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 5 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Saturday’s 35-18 loss to Bucknell.

Bucknell isn’t Marist. We said as much last week, but Bucknell proved a significant step up in competition from the previous week’s effort. Although the Hoyas made its share of mistakes (and no matter what a team can do, fumbling on the second play carries no excuse), this game was won by a Bucknell team that did its homework and controlled the three phases of the game.

Offensively, Bucknell was  not afraid to mix up the calls, especially seizing opportunities against a Georgetown secondary that has underperformed this year. Defensively, the Bison shut down the Georgetown running game and further wounded its ability to be an effective option in league play. The disappearance of stats for Nick Campanella (229 yards in three non-conference games, 22 yards over two league games) bear this out. Special teams-wise, the Bison overcame a pair of poor punts and held its own on punt returns, less so on kick returns. Most of all, Bucknell won the turnover battle, and that was the key stat from this game.

Yes, Georgetown had its chances, particularly to start the second half, but a lack of depth can hurt down the stretch, and it did. The offensive line never seemed to adjust to Thomas Gallagher’s absence, the same for the secondary minus Jeremy Moore. When starters struggle, Georgetown does not have the firepower to pull from its bench. That’s a point of concern as the season enters the second half of the schedule, when injuries take its toll and the strength of schedule starts to climb.

Moore’s Status: The announcement on Saturday that Jeremy Moore was suspended  for the game was rare for Georgetown—if a player has been suspended in the last decade before a game, I’m not aware of it. The last time I’m even remotely aware of players were removed from the roster was in early 2004, when sophomore Alondzo Turner and senior Byron Anderson were placed off the pre-season roster without fanfare.

If this was men’s basketball and a player of Moore’s talent was suspended for a game, the HoyaTalk boards would be ablaze, but again, this isn’t basketball. Nonetheless, Moore is a good kid and I hope whatever was at issue Saturday can be resolved for his prompt return.

Strength Of Schedule: Some sobering numbers in this regard: in the 59 games of the Kelly era, Georgetown is 12-47, but 6-2 against Davidson and Marist; put another way, they’re 6-45 against everyone else. Of Georgetown’s 12 wins since 2006, 11 have come against teams which ended their season below .500 --only a win over 6-5 Holy Cross in 2010 could be categorized as a upset.

So what awaits the Hoyas in the second half of 2011? Saturday’s game at 1-4 Wagner should be one the Hoyas can win. The Seahawks are struggling, albeit with scholarships: Wagner has played just over .500 ball over the last two seasons at Grimes Hill, but Georgetown hasn’t won a non-conference game beyond Davidson or Marist since Howard in 2008.

As for Howard, that’s a competitive game, too—the Bison have wins over Div. II Morehouse and MEAC newcomer Savannah State, the latter of which ended a 0-29 streak in MEAC play for the Bison dating to 2007. But following Howard, the Hoyas must end the season with the PL’s best: Colgate, Holy Cross, (Fordham), and Lehigh—all of which expect to end the season over .500.

Hoya fans are a remarkably patient group, and a 5-6 record in 2011 would represent progress across the board. To do so, Georgetown needs to step it up over the next two weeks.

The Freshman 15: At the halfway point in the season, half of the 30+ newcomers have seen action, with significant contributions from starting DL Jordan Richardson, OL Mike Roland, and WR Kevin Macari.  Each of these three have been great additions this season, and Richardson figures to be a prominent GU lineman after Andrew Schaetzke graduates in 2012.

Most of the action from the frosh has been on defense and special teams, with DB Javan Robinson, LB Nick Alfieri, DB Chad Coleman, DB John Egan, DL Kevin Bond, DL Alec May, DL Xander Carpousis, DL Peter Daibes, and DL Joe Rosenblatt getting on the field through five games this season. But I wouldn’t be too concerned of the lack of time for the remaining freshman—it’s OK to serve some apprentice time and not be thrust into the lineup, especially in skill positions. Hard work and learning the college game should be the prime ingredients for the freshmen, whether or not they are on the field this season.

Most Unusual Georgetown Football Sub-Reference. Ever. From the Georgetown Voice:
During his lecture on Friday afternoon, filmmaker and author Michael Moore demonstrated an acute sense of his audience and location. Not only did he acknowledge that Georgetown has been or will be host to such conservative figureheads as Karl Rove and Ann Coulter, but he drew a political parallel that would make Hoyas from any corner of the political spectrum crack a smile. When discussing the voting patterns of young people, he explained why so few 18- to 25-year-olds bothered to vote in the 2010 midterm elections. “[Obama]’s been playing it like Georgetown football,” he said. The crowd erupted with laughter, whoops, and applause.”
OK, so someone probably slipped this into his speech, right? That is, unless Moore is:

a) a secret Georgetown football fan, 
b) a fan of the Hoyas’ Michigan products (Mose Hogan, Chad Coleman, James Spaly, Mike McIntyre), or
c) a very happy man now that Jim Schwartz (C'88) has  the Lions at 4-0.

Either way, it’s probably the only time you’ll hear a major speaker mix presidential politics and Georgetown football.

For this year, anyway.