Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas’ Senior Defender Looks to End Home Career on a Positive Note

Wins have been hard to come by for the Hoyas during the past few seasons. Typically, a team that rarely experiences victory can find it difficult to remain focused and diligent. You do not get that sense about the Blue and Gray from talking to senior defensive end Nick Umar.

“My experience has been great,” said Umar, one of Georgetown’s two team captains. “The wins and losses have not been where we would want them to be, but we still have two games left. It’s been a blast, and guys have worked their tails off.”

As the Hoyas prepare to take on the 3-6 Marist Red Foxes at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Umar and the rest of his classmates will face the reality of playing their final home game on the Hilltop. In reflecting upon his stint as a Georgetown football player, Umar could not help but smile as he put his emotions into words.

“There are a bunch of games here that I’ll always remember,” he said. “But the real memories come out here practicing every day, being in the locker room, the pregame meals, being on the road with these guys – it’s crazy that it’s coming to an end.”

While he does not put up gaudy numbers from his spot on the defensive line, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound New Jersey native provides a constant and productive presence on Saturdays, setting the tone for his teammates both on and off the field. Superstar qualities are not needed to lead a football team.

“Nick is what I call a true football player,” Georgetown Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “He’s tough, he’s intense and he’s a hard worker – just a class act from A to Z.”

With Umar and fellow captain Dan Matheny, a junior offensive lineman, as extensions of the coaching staff, it is evident that the entire program feels like it is on the verge of breaking through in the near future. Though the wins have not been there, the entire team has adopted Umar’s outlook.

“There’s not much I can tell the younger guys because they can already see what’s coming,” Umar said. “We’ve made huge strides this year, and they need to keep working hard. This team has such a good attitude. The future is looking up.”

Although he was not recruited by Kelly, Umar also credits his head coach with the improvements the Georgetown program has experienced – many of which outsiders do not see.

“He’s instilled discipline to a team that desperately needed it,” Umar said of Kelly. “The attitude and mindset he brings, he has instilled in us. He’s won all over the place, everywhere he’s been. He’s been great.”

As his career comes to an end, the captain sees how close his team is to pulling itself out of the Patriot League cellar. Four wins in the past three seasons does not reflect what the Hoyas can become in the next year or two, and Umar knows what it will take for his younger teammates to put Georgetown football back on the map.

“This team has potential and has endured mistakes,” he said. “We’re so close to finally getting where we want to be. Football is about being mentally strong, which will pay off for them in the future.”

Without question, the Hoyas’ young talent needs to be cultivated and refined – and that has a great deal to do with the upperclassmen who lead them. This year’s Georgetown squad has been lucky to have Umar, a player with high character, in that role. There are few higher compliments reflective of the person that he is than the one paid him by Kelly: “He’s the kind of guy you want your sons to grow up to be like.”

Hoya Notes:

– Tomorrow is Georgetown’s Senior Day, as the members of the team in the Class of 2008 will don their blue home jerseys for the final time.

“They’re a group of character,” Kelly said of his seniors. “They haven’t experienced a lot of wins, but they’ve all fought very hard, and no matter what, they’re winners in my book.”

– The Hoyas have seen a marked improvement in their ground game over the past couple of games, and they will look to continue that against Marist.

“We’ll continue to run the ball, and we need to improve in the passing game,” Kelly said. “We can’t continue to have turnovers.”

– Freshman quarterback James Brady will miss his second straight game due to an injury and fellow freshman Scott Darby will continue to fill his role. Sophomore quarterback Keerome Lawrence has seen his snaps increase and that will continue with Brady out.

– Marist is one of seven Division 1-AA Independents.

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