Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 2 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Georgetown's 34-7 win over Marist:

1. Class Moves. A note of gratitude to those in the Athletic Department which chose to honor Joe Eacobacci with the placement of the 35 yard line numbers and to honor Ty Williams' struggle with the helmets featuring #2.

Each has a powerful story that was remembered in the shadow of 9/11 and of Williams' own horrific injury. If the placement of #35 and #2 can continue throughout the season, it is a powerful reminder of the three planks of Georgetown football (4 for 40, men For Others, and Sisu) which are stories worth telling. Again and again.

2. Perspective.  This was a good win, all of them are. But this was Marist, after all, and it was a win Georgetown, as a Patriot League team playing at home, ought to have won. Marist ranks in the bottom five in I-AA in rushing and it showed. However good or bad you think of the Hoyas, a Patriot league team should defeat a Pioneer League team four times out of five. In the last three seasons, Georgetown is 3-1 against teams named Davidson or Marist. Against everyone else, it's 3-17.

There were some promising developments in the game, particularly on a  defense which has adjusted to Ty Williams' departure. On offense, there is still much work to be done and I'm not convinced the pieces are in place to do it. The run game seems predictable, the passing game a step slow. Kyle Nolan will get you 200 yards but he's not J.J. Mont out there. As the season progresses, Nolan is going to face much tougher defenses than St. Framcis and Marist and he can't rely on the short pass or the quarterback keeper to lead his team consistently down the field.

Things will get tougher, starting this week. This is the opportunity for the offense to step up, lest it get stepped over.

3. Home Attendance: Awful. The Gridiron Club held a tailgate. So did the Hoya Hoop Club, as did the Marist alumni of Washington DC. None seemed to help as Georgetown's 2015 home opener was shockingly low.

Even in the fan-unfriendly surroundings of Multi-Sport Field, an announced attendance of 1,087 was the smallest crowd at any Georgetown home game in 12 years, dating back to a game against Towson late in the 2003 season. As openers go, it was the smallest crowd at a home opener on record since the 1989 season, when the Hoyas were playing in Division III on windswept Kehoe Field. Marist's last appearance at the MSF, during the 2013 season, drew 1,813.

Student turnout was noticeably absent, continuing a trend from earlier in the day. Following a student-centric crowd of 2,159 last week in a men's soccer game with #1 UCLA, the team drew just over 500 to see the Hoyas face Radford.

4. Dartmouth: Ready For Action. Dartmouth makes its season opener Saturday but don't expect the rust that enveloped Brown in last year's game at MSF.

Senior QB Dalyn Williams figures to be a tough target in this one. He finished 2014 ranked among the top five in the nation in passing efficiency, completion percentage, and points per game. His versatility has not only attracted NFL scouts but elevated what was a predictable Dartmouth fofense into a legitimate challenger to Harvard's supremacy in the Ancient Eight.

With a pair of winnable non-conference games in Georgetown and Sacred Heart, and an Ivy opener with a rebuilding Penn team, Dartmouth could be as much as 6-0 heading into a Oct. 30 showdown with Harvard. We'll talk more about Dartmouth alter this week.

5. Whither The Indians? Much like Stanford, Indians was purged as a nickname in Hanover over, well, political correctness.  The school takes a dim view of students who reference the mascot, but it's a larger issue there because the college was founded to teach Indian students and did very little of that through the 1960's.

To its credit, Dartmouth maintains a program for native American college students, a group grossly underrepresented in higher education. No matter what you think of the Dartmouth mascot (or that matter, that strange keg-shaped mascot that showed up a while back), check this link to the Dartmouth Native American program.

And as for "Keggy", well, he's probably not going to show at the MSF, but you never know...