Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 3 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Georgetown's 27-7 win over Marist this past weekend.

1. A Win, In Perspective:  A good win at a good time for the Hoyas, but let's not add too much, or take away too little, about the opponent.

Much like Davidson a season ago, Marist is struggling through a quarterback change and is not going be very good this season. From an 8-3 season last year under senior Chucky Looney, the 2014 Red Foxes might win one game the rest of the season unless its quarterback situation significantly improves.  At 1.6 yards per carry, the Red Foxes aren't likely to go very far on the ground, and a pre-game injury to WR Armani Martin neutralized any consistent passing threat in the game.

The Hoyas won every phase of the game Saturday night: the offense did what it had to do, the defense kept Marist in check throughout, and special teams were effective with the exception of that punt return which led to Marist's only points of the game. Overall, 20 of Georgetown's 27 points were generated by turnover, which says two things: 1) the defense remains the best hope Georgetown has down the road this season, and 2) the offense remains a liability to generate points on its own.

Marist is not Brown, Colgate, or Harvard. And that should be the focus of the Hoyas over the next three weeks.

2. More To Follow: Last week's column cited the fact that Dayton could not return its game to Washington until the 2020 season because the schedules could not identify a common opening date.

Future schedules from the Ivy league appear to lock in the Hoyas to three games annually through 2018, but assuming there are no major changes in the Patriot League,  the Hoyas need five non-conference opponents a year. Davidson and Marist would seem obvious given its competitive level (and Georgetown's), but remember it was Davidson that passed on a game with the Hoyas to earn an easy win. (Since then: losses of 35-7 and 52-24.)

Scheduling is an inexact science made years in advance. Bob Benson scheduled Richmond because he expected the Hoyas to be ready for them by 2008 and they were not. Kevin Kelly scheduled the Ivies in hopes the Hoyas would be ready for them and the jury is out, especially with a Brown team that has not scored fewer than 34 points on the Hoyas in any of its last four games in the series.

As long as the Georgetown programs slogs along in the competitive mindset (or is it minefield) it's in, there will always be a home for the Marists and Davidsons of the world on the schedules. Trouble is, there aren't very many of the Marists and Davidsons of the world around anymore.

3. Media Coverage: Maybe, just maybe things will change, but the idea of paying $9.95 for a Georgetown sport on video continues to be a nonstarter for 99.9% of alumni, especially with the glut of free football elsewhere. Not to be outdone, of course, Marist also charged $9.95, an old business model that needs to be shelved. If only 1,823 showed up at Tenney Stadium, how many paid to watch it at home?

On the radio, the WKIP announcers were easy to follow and entertaining, although after 20 years, one would think the announcers knew what the word "Hoya" means. Play by play announcer Geoff Brault said he heard it was from Latin, meaning "'fight on." USC references aside, if you don't know, don't guess.

And this quote from analyst Ed Weir, after noting that Georgetown was the only nonscholarship team in the Patriot League: " They're getting some commitments going, and I hear they're talking about joining the Ivy League at some point."  There's  some news!

As for the Georgetown radio broadcast, I couldn't get it because it too was behind the paywall.  

" No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket," wrote St. Matthew. Neither should Georgetown.

4. Opening Week: Brown University arrives at Georgetown Saturday for its first game of the season, while Georgetown (and most Division I teams) are on the third week of the calendar. Why is this?

"The Ivy League begins its regular season three weeks after everyone else for the simple reason that it doesn’t see itself like everyone else," wrote Stephen Tydings  at the Daily Pennsylvanian. But Tydings makes an important point that has been picked up in the Ivy collegiate press.

"Facing teams with more game experience provides more injury risk," he wrote. " Furthermore, playing teams like Villanova that are at a higher level can present more than a reasonable challenge and simply not give you usable experience moving forward."

Tydings argues to move the Ivy calendar closer to the late August opening of other schools. "It would allow for Ivy schools to have more flexibility in their schedules, either by adding a game or — the more likely possibility — creating a bye week.", he said.

The Harvard Crimson agreed

"Starting the season a week earlier would ensure warmer weather for the first night game, capitalize on back-to-school fan enthusiasm, and allow students to go to more games before their workloads reach cruising altitude," it argued. "Shifting the schedule would also mean inserting a bye week in the middle of the slate, as most other college and professional teams do. Adding a week off would fit perfectly with the conference’s stated priority regarding safety and health."

Brown returns just four starters, and none on offense. Would an extra game help their development? We'll find out more this week.

5. Win Or Learn. I hope that Georgetown football fans (and any other readers to the blog) are paying attention to the important work head coach Rob Sgarlata has been doing in linking the educational and athletic goals of the football program, bringing a number of speakers to the team to put their four years of football into larger perspective. It's important, and it's timely.

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the modern era of football at Georgetown, and as any alumnus since 1964 will tell you, the time moves by all too quickly. The ability to learn from a variety of individuals and put those efforts into practice and game time situations is an added benefit that distinguishes the Georgetown program.

Since training camp, the team has heard from former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue (C'62), former Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, brigadier general San Nichols, and community leader (and former Georgetown defensive back Marques Lucas.

Coach Sgarlata has called it "Win or Learn":

With this firm footing, the time will surely come when Georgetown can do both with equal fervor.