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

Confusion on Offense Needs to End if Hoyas Want to Start Winning

The stage was set perfectly Saturday for the Georgetown offense to have the breakthrough game it has been waiting for all season.

Senior captain Liam Grubb, the strongest link in the Hoya offensive line, was back at full strength after spending two weeks in a post-concussion haze. The weather was pristine – no driving rain to grease the football or blustery winds to redirect it.

And most importantly, Bucknell (4-3, 1-1) hobbled into town with a defense that hardly resembled the 1985 Bears. The Bison entered Saturday having given up an average of over 27 points per game through their first six contests. Yet for all but 27 seconds of Saturday’s game, a fat goose egg shone brightly from the Hoya’s side of the scoreboard.

You could almost hear the collective exhale of relief from the 1,974 in attendance at the Multi-Sport Facility when junior tight end Charlie Curtis corralled a last-minute lob pass from junior quarterback Matt Basseuner in the back of the end zone. The Hoyas could be thankful that they had avoided being shut out by the Bucknell defense, which ranks 113th out of 116 teams in Division I-AA. Now Georgetown has to wonder why it could only muster 269 yards against a team that was allowing an average of 418 a game.

Georgetown could start by decapitating two-thirds of its three-headed quarterback. Head Coach Kevin Kelly has played musical chairs with Basseuner and sophomore Ben Hostetler all season. This week, Kelly allowed senior Nick Cangelosi a shot at jumpstarting the sluggish Hoya offense.

“We went into the week with a three-man race, and Ben won that race,” Kelly said. “We told Nick that he would have a chance, and Matt probably had his worst week of practice, so we tried Nick for a few series.”

Hostetler looked lost, throwing his fourth interception of the season late in the second quarter, and Cangelosi looked rusty in his first game action of the 2006 season, so Kelly chose Basseuner to start the second half. Basseuner was far from perfect, fumbling away a potential scoring drive late in the game, but the offense looked inspired with him under center.

Although Kelly refused to comment on who he plans to start against Charleston Southern, Basseuner should be the man to get the nod when Georgetown travels to South Carolina in two weeks. The important thing is that Kelly chooses one person and sticks with him. Nothing divides a young team worse than a quarterback controversy.

That said, it will not matter whose taking the snaps until the coaching staff adds some chocolate swirl to their vanilla playbook. The Hoyas waited until the fourth quarter before they decided to start throwing downfield to junior receivers Brent Craft and Jasper Ihezie. Kelly insists that it isn’t a matter of conservative play calling but simply taking what the defense gives you.

“I don’t think it was conservative by any stretch,” Kelly said. “When they’re playing softer and dropping their coverage, you’re going to see more chunks of yards gained.”

Both Kelly and Offensive Coordinator Jim Miceli insist that an innovative game strategy is contingent upon the establishment of a steady rushing attack.

“If there’s one thing this offense can do to have success is that we must consistently run the football,” iceli said. “[Bucknell] wanted us to prove that we could run the football, and we couldn’t. They weren’t going to allow us to throw downfield.”

Miceli says that the anemic running game is only half of the reason for the cautious approach.

“We are very young and inexperienced at a lot of key positions – our starting center is a true freshman,” iceli said. “One of our only experienced guys is Grubb, and he’s been banged up. Even at quarterback – [Hostetler] only played one game last year, and Matt [Bassuener] was a defensive back, so it’s a lot of guys playing for the first time.”

In other words, you wouldn’t hand the keys to the Ferrari to a kid who just got his license.

For Kelly, the upcoming bye week marks an opportunity to return to square one and look towards the future. “We’re going to evaluate everything from A to Z, starting with myself,” he said of this week’s plans. “We’re also going to go out and recruit because that’s important right now. We just have to lick our wounds and get ready for our next game.”

You can’t blame Kelly for looking forward to a little time on the recruiting trail. His success at Navy came after he and the rest of Paul Johnson’s coaching staff had enough time to add to the talent pool.

The good news is that Kelly’s recruiting and tireless work ethic may very well work out for Georgetown in the long run like it did at Navy. The bad news is that after failing to score at will on Bucknell, it may not happen this season.

Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya