Some thoughts following Saturday’s 13-10 win over Wagner:
1. Staying the Course. Wagner is no Davidson and Aaron Aiken is not Isaiah Kempf, but give Georgetown credit for staying to a strong game plan in its win. The Seahawks are a considerable step up from the Wildcats, in scholarships (35), in defensive sets, and in the level of talent that can disrupt games. The Wagner defense successfully stopped two Florida Atlantic drives for touchdowns in the season opener which could have opened up that game, and Wagner did the same against Georgetown. But to its credit, the Hoyas didn't lose focus (or confidence) after two drives inside the 10 resulted in just three points.The defense tightened, and the offense found a way to win. In the non-conference, that's the recipe for success.
2. Who's the #1 RB? Over two seasons, Nick Campanella ran roughshod over Davidson, but has yet to maintain that level of momentum against other teams. Such was the case Saturday, as neither Campanella, Brandon Durham, Dalen Claytor or Wilburn Logan clearly established themselves as the go-to running back in the Vinny Marino offense. That's OK for a week or two, but at some point Georgetown needs a strong RB choice as opponents get more game film on Aaron Aiken and begin to limit his carries. A running back by committee option is still available out there, but someone need to step forward to be the clearer choice in the fall.
3. Robert McCabe. As a senior LB, he's really leading the charge and his efforts have not gone unnoticed in consecurtive week's honors by the Patriot League as its defensive player of the week--congratulations. Saturday's Yale game will be a test as the Eli offense has been traditionally tougher for Georgetown to manage, having scored no fewer than 28 points per game in each of the last five meetings. Size-wise, McCabe is a throwback to former LB Andrew Clarke (2000-03), who could pick up lots of tackles per game--granted, some of that was because of Georgetown's inexperienced lines during those years, but Clarke was a valuable asset to the Georgetown defense when it needed it the most. Yale figures to be a significant test for McCabe and the entire GU defense to rise to the occasion.
4. Whither Yale? While this is not quite the Yale team Georgetown saw last fall in New Haven, a new coach and a new QB figure to complicate the pre-game strategy of the coaches. Overall, though, teams do not change their stripes overnight and the Bulldogs will continue to be a formidable opponent for Georgetown, particularly along the lines and in the speed positions. In each of the prior games, and particularly in the last three, Yale set the tone early and was able to control the game late with its ability to get points on the board when it needed it. Last year's Bulldogs controlled time of possession (32:45, 18:07 in the second half) and red zone conversions (4-5) which proved the difference. With a new coach, new QB, and new running backs, it's easy to expect the unexpected, but Georgetown needs to prepare for much of the expected, too.
5. Break that streak. Since a 2003 win over Cornell, Georgetown has gone a discouraging 0-12 against Ivy league opponents in the intervening years: one loss to Columbia, two each to Brown, Columbia, and Penn, and five straight to Yale. This week, and this team, has an excellent opportunity to begin to undue that legacy and reestablish Georgetown as legitimate competition in Ivy circles.As noted in an earlier column, Georgetown needs to be considered as a capable Ivy opponent in an era where the scholarship gap with Patriot League is a clear and present danger. That journey begins anew Saturday.