Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thirteen In '13

New year, new opportunities, and a lot of the same old concerns. With that in mind, thoughts on 13 of the pressing issues for the Hoyas into 2013.

1. The Elephant In The Room. Six Patriot League head coaches are offering schoalrships to recruits, and Kevin Kelly is not among them. That doesn't figure to change. It's not so much a subject for debate (i.e., Georgetown isn't interested in it) inasmuch as the solidifying of a competitive gap between Georgetown and the other Patriot League teams will begin to take hold and inevitably extend over the next four years. Kelly knows it, and Tavani, Coen, etc. know it as well. Fans would scoff at the idea of playing the likes of Delaware, William & Mary, Villanova, etc. without scholarships, because the competitive gap would be so huge. By 2016, the competitive gap between the CAA and PL schools will be the equivalent of 0.75 scholarships per recruiting class, or 60 vs. 63 on the team overall. Will the Hoyas be competitive in 2013? Yes. Going forward, it's an open question.

2. Starting Quarterback? 2012 began with a starter at QB and ended with a lot of unanswered questions. Don't expect the starter to be named in the spring...or the summer, or maybe by opening day. Aiken has three years in the system but would be one year starter at senior, Skon will be a junior, Nolan and MacPherson sophomores. Depth is a nice thing to have, but there needs to be a clear #1 at some point.

3. Running Back By Committee. One of the collateral liabilities of the Hoyas' recruiting effort vis a vis schoalrships is the inability to land the kind of running back that can really be a difference maker. For the better part of 10 years, Georgetown has relied on either small, quicker backs that get hurt along the way (Kim Sarin, Emir Davis, Wilburn Logan, Dalen Claytor) or athletes as converted backs (Kyle Van Fleet, Keerome Lawrence) to spark the offense, but with only one 1,000 yard season rusher in the 120+ years of the program, rushing just hasn't been very good. Nick Campanella has half of his 14 TD's over the past two sasons agaisnt one team (Davidson) and averages less than 40 yards a game in the other 20 games not involving the Wildcats. Joel Kimpela showed flashes of his talent but must commit to a strong off-season program to take the next step. Troye Bullock could be the FB the Hoyas have needed for a few years, but only if Vinny Marino can use him effectively.

4. Vinny Marino.  Marino's play calling ebbed as the injuries began to pile up. Yes, it's hard to design an offense when one, two, three, and four quarterbacks go to the bench, but as Georgetown begins to face taller and more capable opponents across the lines, the play calling must step up as well.

5. Defensive Line: Undersized, inexperienced, a step slow...all of which can be improved upon in the off season.

6. The Next Linebacker To Watch: Dustin Wharton. Has all the tools to be an All-America candidate as was Robert McCabe.

7. Jeremy Moore: Georgetown is really going to miss him, especially on returns. Would like to see Cameron Gamble and Javan Robinson take the next step to follow in Moore's footsteps.

8. Scheduling. Georgetown seems to be the one PL school who isn't looking for play-up games in the CAA or lower level I-A tier. Obviously, I-A schools won't return the call because GU lacks the equivalencies for games to be bowl-eligible, and the better schools will look for 2-1 or home-only tilts with what they perceive as lesser quality teams. Put another way, Georgetown basketball isn't returning games with Duquesne and Liberty and schools like Delaware or App State aren't penciling in the Multi-Sport Field any time soon. The 2013 schedule isn't out but it appears to be following a track very similar to 2012, needing to replace Yale but returning most of the rest. Would Georgetown take a one game road game for a higher-wattage opponent? Probably not.

9. Local Recruiting. I've always seen this as a missed opportunity for Georgetown. Yes, it's harder to avoid the facilities issues, but there are kids that, if given the chance to stay closer to home, would play, and play well, at Georgetown. Some of Scotty Glacken's better recruits of the 1970's and early 1980's were Montgomery County kids that either came to Georgetown from high school or transferred in from JC when Montgomery College fielded a team. Junior college football has all but died in the East, but the Georgetown brand could still draw better from the region's schools.

10. Local Coverage. In case you hadn't noticed, newspapers are getting out of the college sports business. There are no beat writers assigned to Georgetown football, and there won't be going forward. More efforts need to be palced in designing a more innovative way to get Georgetown coverage out there, and the one camera setup from GUHoyas.com fails noticeably, as does the price tag for such poor quality transmissions. Chuck Timanus--and the viewers--deserve better, and in doing so, it may extend the reach of the Hoyas in ways the Post, Times, and Examiner fail to do.

11. The Dark Cloud: Another year of football, another year of whistling past the MSF. That turf isn't getting any younger, those seats any less windbeaten, and those weeds aren't getting any smaller. At some point, it's time to address a fix to this mess on the campus landscape. Better to do it from within Athletics than wait for the next big academic program to cast its eyes on the property.

12. Annual Support: Great progess made in 2012. More to follow in 2013, I'm sure.

13. Strategic Planning. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the emergence of "modern" Georgetown football. If it hasn't already, this may be the time to sketch out where this program is in the next 5, 10, 15 years. The current model seems to be circa 2000 and isn't fine-tuned to the changes about to overtake them in the Patriot League. Whether the future is Patriot League status quo, joining the NEC, some new arrangement as an independent etc., it's worth a dialogue with a variety of constituents while time is still on the Hoyas side.