Sunday, August 17, 2014

Five Questions: The Offense

Time moves quickly--ask the 19 Georgetown seniors who began their college football journey on the crest of an 8-3 team in 2011, only to win just six the next two years combined. Entering a season where the expectations for the 2014 Georgetown Hoyas are even more reduced in year two of the Patriot league's scholarship program, five questions for the Hoyas entering the 2014 season:

1. The Neuberger Way: After three years as an assistant at Columbia, Georgetown, and Cornell, respectively, Michael Neuberger has been promoted to offensive coordinator for a team which finished last in the PL for scoring and total offense.

There will be a period of adjustment from those players that followed the Vinny Marino offense, but Marino had a lot more tools to work with when he replaced Dave Patenaude than where Neuberger stands right now. The bulk of Georgetown's offensive throughout from 2013 graduated: Kempf, Campanella, Claytor, Durham,. Wilke, Sprotte...all gone.

By the second or third week, some new names figure to rise up the depth chart, particularly at receiver, where the need is especially great.

2. Breaking The Formula: With few exceptions (Nick Campanella, Charlie Houghton), Georgetown's backfield has been frequented by smaller, mobile, but ultimately injury prone backs. Does this change in 2014?

Over the last ten seasons, from Kim Sarin to Emir Davis, Chance Logan to Dalen Claytor, talented RB's have been worn down over the course of a season, leaving defenses to tee off on the Georgetown line because they know the Hoyas can't use the long ball.

In many case this is the byproduct of a lost art in college football: the fullback. Georgetown hasn't had an impact FB since Rob Belli, nearly 15 years ago.

If Trope Bullock can get some carries, it's going to take pressure off of Joel Kimpela, otherwise, the Hoyas are very thin at back, with only three tailbacks on the roster. And if 5-11, 195 lb. Kimpela can't hold up, how will 5-6, 160 lb. freshman Isaac Ellsworth fare?

3. QB Depth? In many of the lean years around Hoya football (read=since 2001), depth has been an issue at quarterback. Seven different quarterbacks have started in the past three seasons, and while Kyle Nolan is the clear #1 QB entering the pre-season, can he stand up fro 11 games? Tim Barnes has one game experience, sophomore Patrick Finnegan none, and freshman Peter Mahoney was out for his senior season at St. Ignatius HS with a leg injury.

Where have you gone, Stephen Skon? (Still on campus, just not playing football anymore.)

4. Whither The Wide Receiver? The Hoyas enter with some major questions in the receiver corps. Zack Wilke did his best last year but wasn't enough, leaving the rotation to junior Jake DeCicco, redshirt senior Michael Cimilluca, and any number of underclassmen.

The Hoyas averaged about 9.5 yards per completion last season but Georgetown has no deep threats, with only one pass last season of more than 29 yards.

5. Punting. Is this an question for the offense? Well, expect lots of punts to come Georgetown's way, and there is a need for someone to step up and provide the net yardage to keep the games from getting out of hand.

The Hoyas' punting game waned as the season went on, finishing sixth with a net of just 31.7 yards per kick. A solid kicking game is essential to controlling the field position game which has traditionally hurt Georgetown against deeper teams.

Next: Five questions for the defense.