Some thoughts following Yale's 20-17 win over Georgetown Saturday.
1. Win As A Team..."This past week, for a lot of us, was the toughest loss since we've been here." These were the words of head coach Kevin Kelly following the Yale game and it's hard to blame him for the sense that Georgetown let this one get away. Turnovers, missed opportunities, and a crushing defensive error that contributed to a 14 point swing at halftime all contributed to a deflating afternoon.
It would be easy, perhaps, but otherwise unfair to drop all of these mistakes at the foot of Aaron Aiken. Aiken did not look good in the game and the execution wasn't there when it counted. It bears repeating that this was Aiken's second career start, and no amount of controlled scrimmages can prepare one for actual game time decisions. Aiken has to get better and needs to reestablish his leadership Friday versus Princeton, and past experience shows it can be done--look no further than Isaiah Kempf, who suffered the indignity of a last minute interception in his second start, a game Georgetown should have won, in a 14-11 loss versus Howard in 2009. He learned from it, and so did the team. In the end, teams lose together, and with better effort, win together.
2. Red Zone Efficiency: Is there any stat that jumps out from 2012 than this one? In 2011, Georgetown was 92%v scoring inside the red zone, 62% by touchdown. Defensively, GU held opponents to 68% scoring and just 46% by touchdown.
In 2012, just 45% of Georgetown's possessions have been converted from inside the 20, and 27% by touchdown. Opponents are 100% scoring inside the 20, 83% (5-6) by touchdown. Ouch! Fixing this statistic is priority one for the coaches.
3. The Kicking Game: News of an open tryout for kicker got some local attention, but by the look of the roster, no new addition was made. That's put additional pressure on junior Matt MacZura, the punter, place kicker and (mostly) kickoff leader for the team. His early numbers have been down from 2011, with only 32 yards per punt, down from just under 35 last season.The Hoyas are going to need MacZura to win a game or two down the line, and both punting and kicking can make the difference, as it did against Wagner...and might have against Yale.
Kickoffs are no less important--through three games, Georgetown is giving up a net -4 yards on kickoffs than opponents, with an average starting field position of the opponent 32. Stil time to correct this before confernece play, and definitely something to build upon with a good effort Friday.
4. Freshmen of Influence: Through three games, few freshmen have seen significant time, but a few names are making a positive early impression. Defensive lineman Dez Richardson (six tackles), Matthew Satchell (three) and Ty Parsons (three tackles, blocked punt return) have stepped up. With a veteran offense, it's not unusual to see little in the way of statistical impact from the newcomers, but that will come in time. Nine of the 22 freshmen have seen action to date this year, and other three or four may as well before it is all over.
5. Support: Another good crowd (2,689) at MSF Saturday. Numbers like that don't look like much at other campuses, but with the size and generally fan-unfriendly condition of the MSF, an oversold crowd is a positive sign that student and alumni support continues to build for this team. With Brown on the horizon for the 73rd Homecoming game in two weeks, get your tickets early.