Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 1 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Georgetown's 21-3 loss to Wagner Saturday:

1. The Lost Art: It was not unexpected that a 40-schoalrship Wagner team would have a string defensive effort against the Hoyas, but Georgetown's running game raises some serious questions about the viability of the offense this season.

In four previous games versus the Seahawks, Georgetown had rushed for 100 or more yards: 140 in 2010, 153 in 2011, 166 in 2012, 104 in 2013. It wasn't close Saturday, with 20 carries for just 19 yards. What happened?

The offensive line returns starters from 2013, the quarterback is the same as well. But a one running back set allows defenses to all but tee off on Joel Kimpela out of the backfield, and absent another back in the backfield, it's a pile-on.

Kimpela follows in a  decade-long run of the smaller running back at Georgetown, from Kim Sarin to Emir Davis,  Keion Wade and Mychal Harrison, Brandon Durham and Dalen Claytor.  Backs like Kimpela have been able to succeed, however, when there is help in the backfield, and in fact, larger backs like Charlie Houghton and Nick Campanella were, at times, able to take some of the pressure off the smaller backs as a result. For now, anyway, Kimpela seems to be the only option amidst just five backs on the roster, three with no prior experience, and opponents will use this to their advantage.

Which leads me to this lament: where is the fullback in modern college football? Is Georgetown that much better with four receivers instead of three?

2. The Opening Drive: Georgetown's talent level leaves it vulnerable on defense to opening game drives for touchdown, and such was the case Saturday. We discussed on this blog last year how the numbers were against Georgetown when they trailed early in games--the offense just isn't capable of quick strike drives unless Davidson is the opponent, which it isn't. (More on them later.)

Dayton enters this week's game with seven retuning starters on offense, including all three receivers. To avoid a similar outcome in Week two, the defense must make an early stand.

3. One Long Bus Ride: Georgetown makes its first ever visit to Dayton this week, a bus ride of eight hours, the longest such trip since the Hoyas visited Charleston Southern a decade or so ago.

Travel is nothing new to the Flyers, whose road games features bus and/or plane trips to  Duquesne (4 hrs), Davidson (8 hrs.) Marist (11 hrs.), San Diego (a flight of approx. four hours and roughly $75,000 in fares and lodging), and Butler (just 2 hrs.).

Georgetown's first visit to the Buckeye State was in 1936, a 7-0 win at Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium. its last was in 1976, a 30-3 loss at John Carroll University.

4. A Solid Effort: It's going to be difficult for the PL office to award a Player of the Week honor to a team like Georgetown who could be in trouble in every game from here on out, but Alec May put in a fine performance against Wagner and one of many to come.  Georgetown will have its struggles in 2014, but the defense will always come to fight.

5. Keeping The Faith?  Georgetown opened its season with Wagner in lieu of Davidson, which ended its series with Georgetown for, well,  um, eight losses in its last nine to the Hoyas. Coming off a 0-11 season, the Wildcats took a small step towards a softer schedule.

Make that a giant leap.

In lieu of games against Division II or Division III squads that were once common on the post-SoCon schedules for the Wildcats in the late 1980's and 1990's, Davidson opened its 2014 season with a 56-0 win over the College of Faith.

College of Faith does not belong to the NCAA or NAIA. In 1960's parlance, it would be considered a club team, except  that this club doesn't even have a campus , a classroom, or even a athletic facility. The team practices at a middle school.

"Charlotte’s College of Faith is an extension of the school’s main campus in West Memphis, Ark., along with other branches in Oklahoma and Florida," wrote the Charlotte Observer. "While its courses are online only, the Charlotte school is headquartered at the Cosmopolitan Community Church in West Charlotte, where the football team holds meetings and study hall."

"The Saints were 1-7 last season, their lone victory coming against North Georgia Sports Academy, a junior college. College of Faith struggled in other games, including losses against NCAA Division II teams Brevard (69-0) and Tusculum, Tenn. (63-0)."

The Wildcats led 43-0 at the half.

"[The] College of Faith football program is in its 2nd year of college football," one of its coaches posted on a recruiting web site. "We don't have S.A.T. or G.P.A. academic eligibility requirements. Our football program competes against NCAA D2, D3 and NAIA schools. We are looking for some impaact players of all sizes to help grow this great program into something special."

A win's a win, but it shouldn't be cannon fodder, either.