Some thoughts following Georgetown's 38-14 win over Davidson:
1. Passing The Test. Three years in the making, senior Matt Barnes was all business in the opener, staying on course and avoiding the mistakes common to quarterbacks of any age making their season debuts. Barnes' four TD's were the most by a Georgetown quarterback in a season opener since 1996 and were generated during a run of four TD's over five series, tossing aside any hopes of a Davidson comeback.
Even more encouraging was Barnes' accuracy as the game went on:
1st Quarter: 1 for 3 (33%)
2nd Quarter: 11 for 16 (68%)
3rd Quarter: 4 for 5 (80%)
4th Quarter: 8 for 9 (88%)
That second half number tells an even better story: 12 for 14 after halftime is a number worthy of any quarterback.
Barnes was aided by an outstanding effort from the Georgetown offensive line, which held Davidson without a sack for the entire game, something it hasn't done since the game at Columbia last season.
For his part, Barnes has some challenges ahead of him--he is not a mobile quarterback and opponents may be more agressive in forcing him out of the pocket than what Davidson proferred, Nevertheless, it was an opportunity to make his mark and Barnes did juct that.
2. Early Warning? Amidst all the positive statistics from the game, one item to watch: the running game.
Past games against Davidson have allowed Georgetown to run roughshod over its opponent--Nick Campanella made a career on the Wildcats' front line--but such velocity was not in evidence Saturday afternoon. The Hoyas rushed for just 153 yards, 49 of it from one broken-play run, and this against the worst rated defense in the Pioneer in 2015.
It remains to be seen if Alex Valles has the foot speed to be a consistent 80-100 yard rusher. At 160 lbs, Isaac Ellsworth could be chewed up by the time PL play begins, and with only three other RB's on the roster, it's a position Georgetown appears thin entering the season.
Without a consistent running game, opponents will flood the box and dare Barnes to throw past them, a situation that routinely faced Georgetown teams in the late 2000's when the offense could not generate yardage.
Bucknell rushed 44 times on Marist's defense in Saturday's 26-10 win over the Red Foxes, a deceiving final in that the teams were separated by just seven yards in total offense. The numbers from Valles and the other Georgetown runners bears some watching this week.
3. Underrated. Teams don't get a lot of plaudits for kicking, but Georgetown is getting some great efforts from Henry Darmstadter and Harry McCollum heading into 2016. In his last 12 games, Darmstadter is 32-32 on points after touchdowns and 10 of 14 on field goals. McCollum is providing consistent punting support and both seniors figure to peak at the right time this season.
4: Attendance: Blue, Lots of Gray: Saturday's attendance, well supported by Davidson fans and not necessarily Georgetown ones, was 1,863, the lowest number for an opener in ten years. Georgetown does not seem to know how to market this team and absent a concerted drive to build a suitable Cooper Field, seems in no hurry to.
Of the remaining home games, Georgetown looks to fill its seats for the 77th Homecoming game with Columbia, but don't be surprised to see lots of light blue at the game. As for the others (Princeton, Lehigh, Holy Cross and Bucknell), Hoya fans could be outnumbered in as many as three of these games, which is sad on many levels.
5. APB: Cooper Field. Georgetown presented an updated "concept" of the ever-elusive Cooper Field renovations to the Old Georgetown Board last week, but with no further comment on its web site, which simply reads;
3700 O Street, NW
New Structure, Alterations - Cooper Field
The last public drawings were posted almost a decade ago, and are likely to be considerably different, as we discussed earlier. When will these drawings be released; and if not,. why not?
It's day 4,006 since construction was halted, and we wait.