Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 6 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Saturday’s 24-10 win over Wagner:

Kempf: A Step Ahead? During Georgetown’s platooning of quarterbacks, it was said that Scott Darby was the running QB who couldn’t consistently throw, while Isaiah Kempf was the passing QB who couldn’t consistently run. In recent games, however, Kempf may be proving conventional wisdom wrong.
In the Wagner game, Kempf had 11 carries for 46 yards, before three sacks netted to 35 yards. Not a huge number, granted, but Kempf is developing as a better runner when necessary, and that’s the operative word—necessary. Georgetown neither needs nor wants its quarterback to lead the stat sheet in carries, but if Kempf can keep opposing defenses honest, it’s going to open up opportunities—if not with Wagner, than in upcoming games.

The platoon still seems to be in action, so the job isn’t Kempf’s to stay. Still, he’s making a positive impression into the Howard game.

Defensive Stat Of The Day: I can’t say enough about how the defense has stepped it up this season. Here’s one number that is fairly obvious: Wagner (entering the game at 160 yards rushing per game) ended up with 33 carries for 77 yards, with a long of 21. Outside that one run in the third, Wagner was rushing 1.7 yards per carry, and managed only six rushes for first downs in the game—three each in the first and third, but none in the second or fourth quarters. Well done, Hoyas!

Defensive Stat Of The Day, #2: Wagner was held to 3-18 on third down conversions, a big improvement from Bucknell’s 9-17 conversion the week before.

Here Comes The Cup: Georgetown and Howard return to the gridiron in the best regional rivalry that really isn’t one. For some reason, this game gets no “pop” from the fan bases of either school, and local interest seems to be at about the level engaged during the Steve Dean Memorial trophy games with GU and Catholic.

It’s not enough to say that I-AA city rivalries don’t draw interest. Morgan State and Towson (one HBCU, one not) battle for local bragging rights and draw representative crowds, with just short of 10,000 in the stands to open this season. In Philadelphia, Penn and Villanova drew 10,071. In New York,  Columbia and Fordham drew 6,820 to 7,000 seat Jack Coffey Field.

Obviously, the unfinished Multi-Sport field isn’t accommodating crowds like this, but 10,000 seat Greene Stadium can. It remains to be seen, however, what interest the Bison can draw this season after such a poor start to open its season. Howard’s only home game at Greene this season drew 4,063 versus Norfolk State.
In 2008, columnist Dick Heller of Washington Times had this description of the outcome of the first game between the schools:

“Howard coach Carey Bailey tried to explain how the Bison managed to lose their opener to a poor opponent while a few thousand home fans mumbled and grumbled in the stands. The Bison lost the ball four times and didn’t do much when they hung on to it. After Floyd Haigler’s 5-yard TD pass to Willie Carter in the first quarter, Howard’s attack was totally inoffensive.

"We have to do a better job of coaching," Bailey said, using a standard excuse after a losing game. Not to mention a better job of playing. As Bailey spoke, three Bison players sat morosely at his side. Losing to a team like Georgetown is enough to depress anyone."

But, hey, cheer up, coach. Regardless of the outcome, doesn’t it make a lot of sense for Howard to play Georgetown? Dry chuckle. "It would make lot more sense if we had won."

And Heller added: “Nowadays, both football programs have nowhere to go but up, and it’s fitting that they try to do so together. Mediocrity marked their first joint appearance, but that impression need not be lasting.”

Three years later, the teams have as many wins in the 2011 season (seven) as the two teams managed in all of 2009 and 2010 combined. It would be great if the coverage and the crowd reflected it.