The Georgetown football team headed to New York today for Saturday evening’s game against Marist University. The Hoyas (0-2) are hoping to find more success against the Red Foxes (0-2) than they have in their first two games, both disappointing defeats.
Georgetown’s chances look better against Marist, which has experienced similar struggles to open the season. Despite a slow start, the Hoyas remain confident of their ability to succeed.However, better execution is needed if the team hopes to improve.
“We’ve got to execute on the plays that are there,” junior quarterback Kyle Nolan said. “We had a couple missed opportunities last week and week one that killed us and if we execute on those plays and get the first down on third down — keep the ball moving — then we’re right there. If we take care of those missed assignments then we’re going to be OK.”
Nolan is tasked with leading an offense that is still trying to find its rhythm early in the season. The Hoyas have yet to establish a consistent running game, rushing for a total of only 119 yards in the first two games combined. This has forced the offense to rely on a passing attack that has been more effective, but is still developing. One major challenge in the Hoyas’ passing game is the inexperience of many of the receiving units. All but one of the core wide receivers are underclassmen.
“It just means we have a lot of room to grow,” sophomore wide receiver Justin Hill said. “We have potential to be a very good unit in the future. But we’re not really worried about that right now. We’re just trying to get wins right now.”
Hill is doing everything he can to accomplish that goal, quickly becoming one of Nolan’s favorite targets in the early season. He led the team with 47 receiving yards in last Saturday’s loss to Dayton, and also caught his first career touchdown.
While the offense is still trying to find its footing, the defense has been solid for the most part, allowing an average of 22 points over the first two games. They forced two turnovers against Dayton — one interception and one fumble recovery — with three turnovers in two games to start the season.
“I’d say the key would have to be just swarming to the ball like our team’s been doing really well, forcing turnovers and then just working together as a team. I’d say that’d be our big thing right now,” junior linebacker Matthew Satchell said.
However, the defense is not taking their success for granted, continuing to work hard to improve.
“Right now our practices have been a lot more intense than they ever have been in the past two weeks,” Satchell said. “So right now everything that we’re doing is preparing for Marist by working harder.
What Satchell may consider an increase in intensity, Head Coach Rob Sgarlata considers a normal practice. The first-year head coach would like to see his team stop beating itself and avoid some of the self-destructive plays that have plagued them thus far.
“I don’t know if there’s an increase [in intensity],” Sgarlata said. “I think there’s an increased attention to detail. I think the kids saw on Saturday that we had a great shot at winning the game. We had some self-inflicted wounds, some pre-snap penalties, some drops and some missed tackles that we need to clean up this week.”
Along with cleaning up the offense, the Hoyas also need to plan for the Red Foxes’ defense. Nolan has been working with coaches to figure out how to best attack Marist’s unusual style, without drastically changing the offense’s approach.
“They run a little bit of a wacky defense. It’s sort of tough to read some of the stuff that they’re doing,” Nolan said. “So we’ve been having the scout team defense move around a lot and try to give us a great look and get us in the right protections. Coach has been doing a great job trying to teach us that at the quarterback level.”
Sgarlata, meanwhile, is less concerned about what Marist is going to throw at Georgetown, instead focusing on his own team. He believes that if the Hoyas play up to the level of their ability, wins will follow.
“We’ve preached from day one that I’m not really worried who we play. We’re worried about ourselves,” Sgarlata said. “And we have enough talent to beat anybody that’s on our schedule. We just need to clean up some of the little things that we’ve been harping on since the start of camp and I think we’ll be in good shape this weekend.”
Play kicks off in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., at 6 p.m. on Saturday.