Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Week 11 Thoughts

Some (otherwise delayed) thoughts on Holy Cross' 24-0 win over Georgetown:

1. Not With a Bang, But A...For a team which had won two straight, playing a 1-9 team that had lost five straight, and to turn in that kind of effort on offense was the equivalent of throwing a bucket of cold water on the 2012 season.

Coach Kelly was not afraid to call out the defense in mid-season, and they responded. Not so for calling out the offense, whose play calls from Vinny Marino were as predictable as they were ineffective.

Injuries? Yes, they play a role, and one can argue that the offensive game plan went out the window the moment Isaiah Kempf went off the field at Davidson. Yes, the running backs were increasingly out of service, with Durham and Claytor hurt late in the year. But the overall effort on offense was disarmingly lacking, and the over-reliance on rushing when the Hoyas were especially weak in that area (and against a HC defense that was just as suspect in the secondary as the front line) proved futile.

You don't win games when your quarterback leads in rushing yards. You don't win games when you don't complete a pass for more than 19 yards, and throw nine others for a combined 44 yards. You don't win games when your number of completed passes (11) equals the number of punts (11).

The play calling showed neither urgency nor motivation. Neither team was going to the playoffs, but relying on a running game when there was none left was especially frustrating. Think of this: three running plays totaled 45 yards. The remaining 29 totaled 46 yards against the worst rushing defense in the league...but when you know your opponent is simply running the same plays, any rushing defense can look good.

Georgetown came off the field in the 2011 finale with Lehigh bloodied but unbowed. 2012 was a different story.

2. Five For '13? Depending on whether Isaiah Kempf comes back for a redshirt senior season, Georgetown could have has many as five quarterbacks with prior experience competing for a starting job next season. Some quick thoughts on each:
  • Isaiah Kempf: Efficient and effective. Kempf's a safe choice in '13, but it puts off grooming a successor for another year. 
  • Aaron Aiken: More suited to a running than a passing game. As Aiken is a rising senior, I'd like to see him as a Keerome Lawrence-slot back than as a full time signal caller.
  • Stephen Skon: Had his moments, but still too many interceptions (8) than touchdowns (4). 181 yards lost to sack yardage didn't help his final rushing totals, but Georgetown QB's don't have to run to be sucessful. As Skon is a rising junior, he's be an excellent platoon choice with...
  • Kyle Nolan: There aren't a lot of fourth string QB's anywhere with a passing rating of 157.7--and in I-AA football, only four at any class have a higher efficiency ranking, including Colgate's Gavin McCarney (159.05). We saw what McCarney could do with a stronger offensive line and some impact receivers, and if Nolan had a little more of both there's no telling what he could do. Maybe the best in-season debut by a Georgetown freshman at QB since Aley Demarest in 1990.
  • Cameron MacPherson--We didn't get to see much of MacPherson in the Holy Cross game (and at this point in the season, why not?), but MacPherson likely had little practice time this season and the expectations he would see any game time were nonexistent until about week 10. A work in progress for 2013 and he 's got some time on his side.
3. Attendance. 1,789? Really?

4. Offensive Moments Of the Year: In chronological order:
  1. Wagner (Sep. 8): Aaron Aiken's 12 yard pass to Kevin Macari with under 2:00 left sets the Hoyas in position to win the game over the 2012 NEC champions with a field goal.
  2. Princeton (Sep. 20): Fourth and 3 at midfield, 2:55 left. Going for it, a six yard run by Dalen Claytor gets the Hoyas into Tiger territory. If they punt, Matt MacZura may never have seen the chance to win the game.
  3. Princeton (Sep. 20): Yes, he missed some field goals this season, but as moments go, MacZura's game winning field goal on ESPNU may be the most memorable play for Hoya fans since Georgetown returned to  intercollegiate football in 1964.
  4. Colgate (Oct. 20): Down 37-14 at the half, Kyle Nolan throws his third TD pass of the game, 62 yards, to Kevin Macari. Georgetown would not go down without a fight, closing to 37-29 before the Red Raiders pulled away.
  5. Lafayette (Oct. 27): Down four, late 4th quarter, fourth and two at midfield. No safe run here, as Nolan goes downfield for 25 yards to Jamal Davis. The Hoyas go on to convert their best comeback of the season 20-17.
5. Defensive Moments Of the Year: In chronological order:
  1. Wagner (Sep. 8); Down 13-10 in the final minite, the Hoyas hold Wagner to a five yard pass on 4th and 15 to secure the win.
  2. Princeton (Sep. 20): Late in the second quarter, Rohan Williamson loses a punt at the Georgetown 17, which could have been a knockout punch for the Hoyas in this one. Instead, the defense forces losses on consecutive plays, taking the Tigers out of the red zone. A 42 yard field goal to end the half goes wide, the result of which keeps Georgetown within distance of a game that it would win on that side of the field with a kick of its own.
  3. Lehigh (Oct. 13): Three interceptions for Jeremy Moore and seven forced by the defense overall. Unfortunately, the Georgetown offense could convert only two of the seven into touchdowns and GU lost by three.
  4. Lafayette (Oct. 27): Cameron Gamble's interception late in the game seals a record third straight win over the Leopards, all settled by defensive performances late in the game.
  5. Bucknell (Nov. 10): A team effort, holding the Bison without a single third down conversion.
Stop by the blog (and the web site) during the off-season, with new columns every 2-3 weeks. Thanks for supporting the Hoyas this season.