Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 1 Thoughts

Some thoughts following the Hoyas’ 28-21 loss to Wagner last week:

1. By the numbers. In 77 games in the Kevin Kelly era, Georgetown has led at the half in just 20 games, but had only lost four times when holding a halftime lead before Saturday's 28-21 loss to the Seahawks. Georgetown's 14 point halftime lead was the largest halftime deficit given up by any Kelly-coached team, and the most since Georgetown gave up a 20 point lead to Davidson on Oct. 16, 1999.

Of course, those weren’t the only numbers.

This was a game where adjustments were made on the Wagner defense that Georgetown didn’t, and the promising offensive series of the first quarter ground to a halt as the game wore on. It was not an accident.

Wagner had no game film on Isaiah Kempf in the Vinny Marino offense and, more to the point, had a significant number of players making debuts as starters, particularly in the secondary.  To its credit, Georgetown attacked this weakness early and the results were evident. Once Wagner was able to get a second wind (in part, by shutting down the Hoyas following Duston Wharton’s early interception), they were able to get through the first half on an upward slope. By the second half, they had a new game plan and Georgetown had more of the same plan.

The results: Kempf’s numbers fell in every succeeding quarter, and so did time of possession, bottoming out with just 3:42 of on-field time for the offense in the fourth quarter. Georgetown managed 15 first downs by halftime, and two in the second half . Kempf was 19 for 26 by halftime and just 3 for 15 thereafter.

There were more than a few online grumblings that Kelly and/or his coordinators were too conservative in the second half. Far from it—they simply overrelied on the passing  attack’s advantage on a young Wagner secondary, but had few options if the passing game stalled, which it did.  This may be a recurring theme in 2013: Georgetown’s receiver corps is thin but productive, while the running backs are deep but not as productive. Georgetown’s three senior backs have a combined three 100+ yard efforts, one per man. By contrast, Wagner’s Dominique Williams has 21 games of 100 yards or more on his own.

For a variety of reasons, from recruiting to style of play, there is no Dominique Williams on the Georgetown roster. However if opponents take a cue from Wagner and shut Kempf down, the rushing game must step forward.

2. Seen This Before?  Lost among many fans are the parallels between this game and a 2010 game between the two schools. Some excerpts:

Total yards by GU in 1st quarter: 88
Total yards by GU in 2nd quarter: 51
Total yards by GU in 3rd quarter: 40
Total yards by GU in 4th quarter: 6

That game ended in overtime, a 22-16 loss. And while the 2010 game turned on turnovers that 2013 did not, Wagner has improved its ability to stay in games and let their talent take over late. It’s a lesson for opponents ahead of them on the schedule.

3. How Things Change: Following that 2010 game, Wagner coach Walt Hameline remarked that “We beat an Ivy League team for the first time and now a Patriot League team. It’s a good thing for our program and a good thing for our institution."  Fast forward three years: Wagner ‘s next two road games are at Syracuse and Delaware, two teams all but unlikely to appear on a Georgetown schedule.

How did Wagner do it? Scholarships, recruiting flexibility, and success in the I-AA playoffs, three things also all but unlikely to appear for Georgetown anytime soon.

4. Number 8: Jordan Richardson needs a bigger jersey. Nike needs to send an 3XL and not just a XL.

5. Ledford Off Roster?: The first roster casualty of 2013: 6-3, 265 lb. freshman Joseph Ledford was not listed on the week one Georgetown roster, the only freshman recruit not included. From his GUHoyas bio: “A three-year letterwinner in football, starting two seasons on the offensive line...A four-year member of the football leadership council...Four-time Gwinnett Daily Post Player of the Week...Selected Gwinnett Touchdown Club All-County, Atlanta Journal All-Area, Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State and the 2012 NHS Offensive Player of the Year during his senior season...Helped lead school to a 15-0 record, a Region 7 Championship and 6-A State Championship in 2012...Helped team to a 33-5 record in three seasons.”

No word from GU if this is due to injury, player’s decision, or coach’s decision.