Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Week 5 Thoughts

Some quick thoughts following Brown's 37-10 win over Georgetown Saturday:

1. A First-Class Event. Congratulations to the Alumni Association, the office of Alumni Relations, and the office of Advancement for all their efforts to make Homecoming Weekend and the 73rd Homecoming Game such a success, final score notwithstanding. This weekend has resumed its rightful place as a signature alumni weekend on campus, and now draws more on-campus attendees than any other event during the year. From academic seminars to the TedX presentation, from receptions to the outdoor competitions, and from the tailgate to the class parties, the "best of Georgetown" was on display for all to see this past weekend. Well done, and on to the planning effort for 2013.

2. Third String, First Seat: A little discouraged, but not surprised by the Hoyas' struggles under quarterback for Stephen Skon, and you can't blame him for everything that ground to a halt Saturday. Going back over the last 12 Georgetown quarterbacks in their first start under center, the results are not always crisp:
Morgan Booth: Lost 69-0 to Lehigh  (2002)
Andrew Crawford: Lost 27-2 to Florida Int'l (2002)
Alondzo Turner: Lost 45-24 to Lehigh (2003)
Keith Allan: Lost 17-6 to Lafayette (2004)
Nick Cangelosi: Defeated Bucknell 19-16 (2005)
Ben Hostetler: Lost  34-3 to Brown (2005)
Matt Bassuener: Lost 31-14 to Colgate (2006)
James Brady: Lost 47-7 to Yale (2008)
Scott Darby: Lost 23-21 to Marist (2009)
Isaiah Kempf: Lost 31-10 to Yale (2009)
Aaron Aiken: Defeated Wagner 13-10 (2012)
Stephen Skon: Lost 37-10 to Brown (2012)

What separates these names was which QB's improved over the succeeding games and which did not, which is why Morgan Booth or Keith Allan or even James Brady are among the lesser names in Georgetown quarterbacks in the PL era. Skon needs to improve ever week, if for no other reason that there will be a quarterback battle in 2013 and he (and Aiken) need to be at the forefront.

3. Running On Empty: The Brown game exposed a continuing weakness in the Vinny Marino offensive sets: a one back offense doesn't cut it against stronger defensive teams and those which can put losts of pressure on the quarterback.

None of the RB's this season have stepped up as they are capable of. Nick Campanella has 295 yards, but 127 of that was against Davidson, averaging just 42 yards per game in the other three. While the rushing numbers are good, they are not great, and the weakness in the passing game that is exasperated by the injuries to two quarterbacks is not balanced by the runners. 

A second back in the backfield, particularly one that can block like Campanella, gives a young quarterback like Skon more time to maneuver, helps provide run support for smaller backs like Dalen Claytor and Wilburn Logan, and reintroduces an old wrinkle from days gone by: the screen pass. Realistically, I don't expect a coordinator to change his horses in mid-stream, but fans may see similar struggles in the backfield as the Hoyas prepare to face three stout defenses over the next three weeks.

4. Matt Matters: He's probably not the most valuable player after four games, but one can make the argument that P/K Matt MacZura has been on the edge of some very important numbers for the Hoyas over the past five games.  His field goals won two games for the Hoyas, but the net punting numbers are now at 29 yards per game and Georgetown is losing field position as a result. Three times in the first half against Brown, short punts set up the Bears at midfield and they scored 17 points as a result. The blocker/bobbled lick which led to a Brown TD in the fourth quarter wasn't a game-changer, but is a sign that the special teams work needs continued work.

MacZura is a good kicker. He just needs to get work harder on the punts and start pinning the opponents deep on their side of the field. The defense can do the job, but it's easier to stop an 80 yard drive than a 40 yard one.

5. Hold That Line: In the game with Brown, Georgetown earned no sacks for only the second tie in the last 2+ seasons. Defensive linemen account for just 5.5 of the 13 sacks to date, and only one lineman is in the top 10 on tackles (Dezmond Richardson). Yes, injuries are in play, but for Georgetown to give Fordham's soaring passing game a test, the defense needs a step up--and a step through--the Fordham offensive linemen.

"On Sunday, what I told the guys was that I didn't do a good enough job of preparing them and that we, as coaches didn't do a good enough job in any of the three phases of the game," Coach Kelly said in his post-game notes. "On offense, we did not score enough points. On defense, we did some nice things, but we were too inconsistent and did not play well enough to win. Our special teams unit gave up the touchdown and did not have its best game. Now our task is learning from this game and moving on."

The defensive line needs to be at the forefront as Georgetown enters its toughest stretch of the season.