My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

2006 Patriot League Preview: #5 Georgetown

A couple of days late, but here is the next installment....

#5 Georgetown

Recent History

The venture into the Patriot League as an associate football member has not been a great success so far for the Georgetown Hoyas as they have yet to see a winning record since joining, either overall or within the league. While they did manage to finish fifth in the League last year by virtue of wins over Bucknell and Fordham, against the top four teams in the League Georgetown was outscored by an average of 35-9. In many ways, the gap that was there in 2001 still exists today.

To be fair, it should be noted though that in reality Georgetown is fighting an uphill battle to be competitive. While they did join the Patriot League several years ago, their football budget apparently didn't get that memo and hasn't left the MAAC conference from which it came. In simplistic terms, it appears Georgetown is spending 10-15% of what the rest of the league is spending on their football programs. More than any other league member, the Hoyas have to rely on their brand name status and attractive location to lure players to their school and hope for some diamonds in the rough to compliment the players that they do spend their money on.

Off-Season Developments

Despite the funding inequities, apparently the sub-par on the field performance was too much for new Athletic Director Bernard Muir as long time coach Bob Benson was let go (technically resigned, but come on now), even after signing a five year contract extension in 2004. With Muir apparently willing to buy out 4 years of a contract that probably cost close to if not more than the amount spent on the entire program, maybe the wind is starting to change directions in D.C.

Another sign of possible change on the horizon was the hiring of Kevin Kelly as the new head coach. Kelly comes from Navy, as well as having spent significant time at Marshall. He's also had stints at Dartmouth, Tulane, Bowdoin and Syracuse among other stops. This will be his first time at the reigns of a program and it looks like his specialty is on the defensive side of the ball.

Kelly kept one member of the prior staff in place, with former Hoya and long time coach Rob Sgarlata taking the role of Assistant Head Coach. However the remaining staff is all new, hailing from institutions like Harvard, Dartmouth, Columbia and Syracuse. While the change might be welcome and positive, these players have seen plenty of new faces in and out of their program over the past few years. That is generally never good.

The Multi-Sport Facility (MSF) has got a field on it now, with the remaining work holding out on the funds needed to complete it. This is a great step in the right direction for the Hoyas.

Available information on Georgetown's recruits is fairly thin. Two fairly solid names that I've heard of are: James Cherundolo, a 6'4" 265 lbs. offensive lineman from outside Syracuse. There was I-A interest in him at some point, but I have no idea how it ultimately played out. Dave Chillura, a defensive back from Delbarton in N.J. also rises to the top. He appears to have chosen the Hoyas over the Ivy League (good choice Dave!). Finally, Joey Tavarez is a linebacker out of Mater Dei in California. Based on what I can scrounge online, he might be one to remember for the future.

2006 Schedule

New coach Kelly has no time to waste this season as he welcomes league foe Holy Cross to the MSF for the first time to kickoff the season. After being embarrassed by the Crusaders last year, I will venture that the Hoyas will be plenty pumped to make a statement against a potentially rebuilding Sader squad. They follow up this contest by welcoming newly declared I-AA independent and scholarship squad Stony Brook to town. I'm sure plenty of eyes will be watching to see if the scholarships have an immediate impact against a team that Stony Brook lost to last year.

The Hoyas then hit the road for the final three Saturdays in September, heading north to Brown and Columbia before picking up another league contest against Colgate and the start of a key group of Patriot League games. After that trip to Hamilton, Lehigh comes to town followed by Bucknell. Colgate and Lehigh back to back will not be easy.

Georgetown gets a bit of a 'breather' with an away game at Charleston Southern of the Big South and then by welcoming Marist for Senior Day in D.C. They then close out the season and the rest of the league games on the road against Lafayette and Fordham.

This schedule is very doable for Georgetown. Six wins and, dare I even say it, seven wins are definitely in play. Based on last year alone, Stony Brook, Columbia, Bucknell, Charleston Southern, Marist and Fordham are all potential 'W's' for the Hoyas, at least in the preseason.

Season Outlook

There was plenty of potential last fall that just didn't pan out, and this year has some of that same feeling: A somewhat favorable schedule, thirteen starters returning, and their best league finish ever last year. Throw in a new coach and it could be just what the Hoyas need to break above .500 both in the league and for the season. If I was a Georgetown fan, I'd be pretty excited for this fall as things could go pretty right this time around. To break through that .500 barrier, Georgetown will have to maintain the respectable defense that Benson developed and (this is a bit deja vu), find an offense.

On the defensive side, the name you will hear most often will be senior Alex Buzbee. Buzbee was the other defensive line anchor to Mr. Everthing Ononibaku, who was lost to graduation. Buzbee will need the help of classmates Roosevelt Donat, Julius Griauzde and Shaun Johnson to hold down on the line and probably Nicholas Umar as well. This line will be fairly formidable in league play. In addtion to senior Chris Paulus, there will likely be some new young faces at the linebacker position who will be asked to get up to speed quite quickly if there is to be any success on the Hilltop. The two players with the inside track for the task at hand will likely be Mike Greene, a junior, and Robert Helt, a sophomore. The youth at the linebacker position will be assisted by a more veteran secondary led by Derek Franks. Franks will be starting in the defensive backfield for the third straight season.

For the offense, the good news is there is actually some solid experience coming back on the line, with 6'7" co-captain Liam Grubb leading the way. Grubb has 2 starting years under his belt and will be joined by others with experience like Robert Browning, Andrew Rehwinkel and Dan Osterhout. The real question will be: who can produce behind this line?

There is some experience coming back in running back Emir Davis and quarterback Nick Cangelosi. Davis rushed for a little over 200 yards last season and scored a touchdown. Cangelosi rushed for a little over 300 yards in his quarterback position and threw for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. Given last year's production, the jury is definitely out on whether this pair can provide the offensive spark needed for the Hoyas to overcome that hump. If the Hoyas do decide to air it out more this year, Cangelosi will enjoy 4 of his top 5 receivers from last year returning; but honestly, having run the option who knows what talent might be there? If I were to place any bets, it looks like junior Kyle Van Fleet might be the deep option for the Hoyas that opposing teams will have to keep in mind. Sophomore Brent Tomlinson might also make some noise at the reciever position.

Predicted Finish

Fifth. This prediction is partially a nod to Georgetown's potential, and partially an honest assessment of the bottom of the Patriot League. Georgetown, often the cellar dweller, did finish fifth last year. And they return a heck of a defensive line with a fairly good defense that looks worse that it was because of an anemic offense. The offensive line is stable so in my humble opinion this season really rests on the ability of the offensive skill players. Hoya fans will have to hope that new offensive coordinator Jim Miceli will be the right guy for the job. Miceli has an interesting background in starting and turning programs around; maybe Georgetown will be the latest he can add to his list of accomplishments.

As I gaze into my crystal football, here's how I see 2006 playing out: Big win to start the season over Holy Cross, who finds out that life after Silva is pretty tough. The Hoyas go 2-0 with a win over Stony Brook before falling to Brown. Columbia could be tougher than anticipated, but it's still Columbia. I'll be optimistic and say they can go 3-1 here before coming back down to reality against Colgate and Lehigh. Evened up at 3-3, I think Georgetown wins at least 2 out of their next three against Bucknell, Chuck South and Marist before dropping the final two games against Lafayette and Fordham.

When it is all said and done the Hoyas sit at 5-6 and in fifth place, but like I said earlier, it's not so far fetched to imagine that they could also achieve even more. I would almost go so far as to say Georgetown is the Patriot League sleeper team this year, but that honor goes to a team yet to be analyzed...


  • 13,

    Yet another outstanding job!

    When it comes to PL football insight, you are definitely the sage.

    Have you considered hooking up as a correspondent to one of the football mags or Syracuse paper? If not, you really should...Seriously.

    By Blogger RaiderRedhead, at 3:56 PM  

  • Good story, but one clarification--Bob Benson left on his own.

    If Bernard Muir was going to toss Bob, it would have been at season's end. Instead, Bob resigned four weeks after the end of the season. Benson had already lost a number of key members of his staff over the low pay common at Georgetown and the idea of rebuilding yet again, this time under new management, was something he chose not to do. Sometimes as an employee you have to decide when to go on your terms versus someone else's, and Bob chose to go, in this case up the road to Towson.

    By Anonymous DFW HOYA, at 10:47 PM  

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