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

GU Shoots for Return to .500

Hoya Staff Writer Friday, September 22, 2006 Lindsay Anderson/The Hoya

When John McKay was the coach of the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the early 1980s, he was once asked by a reporter what he thought of his team’s execution following another miserable loss. cKay replied: “I’m in favor of it.” While Georgetown Head Coach Kevin Kelly was not as blunt in his response following his team’s 34-21 loss to Brown, he nonetheless stressed the importance of his team learning to finish. “When you don’t execute against an excellent football team like Brown, they are going to expose you,” Kelly said after sending his players through a brutal set of 60-yard gassers to end Tuesday’s practice. “We talk about that all the time – if you execute, you got a chance for a good play; if you don’t then you will be exposed.” Last Saturday the Hoyas (1-2, 0-1 Patriot League) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on the defending Ivy League champions, but quickly stumbled, allowing 34 unanswered points before gathering themselves late in the game. Although disappointed by Saturday’s outcome, Kelly was encouraged by the fact that his team played hard for a full 60 minutes and hopes that his team will be able to execute for all four quarters this weekend against Columbia (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) as Georgetown travels to New York, N.Y. for their second straight road game against Ivy League competition. The Lions look to be just as ferocious as the Bears were last weekend. Columbia is coming off a 37-7 trouncing of Fordham in their season opener at Wien Stadium in the Bronx. Rookie Head Coach Norries Wilson’s squad looked vastly improved over the 2005 group that finished 2-8 and winless in league play. Looking sleek in new baby-blue uniforms, the Lions executed a number of big plays on both sides of the ball that broke Fordham’s spirit and infused confidence into an experienced assembly of talent. Wilson credited the improvement to better physical conditioning. “We practice at a high tempo,” Wilson said. “When the fourth quarter comes, we demand that our players be sharp both mentally and physically.” Another cause for concern for Kelly and the Hoyas is the quarterback controversy that began to brew when sophomore starter Ben Hostetler was replaced by junior Matt Bassuener late in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss. Kelly insists that the move to play the junior backup was a preconceived one. “We planned to have att get some reps in the ball game,” Kelly said. “He gave us a spark, so we kept him in there.” That spark – 17 completions for 154 yards and two touchdowns – excited everyone, especially Bassuener. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “Its been a couple of years since I got to play in a game, but I felt like I got my feet under me pretty quick, and it was really fun.” Georgetown leaned heavily on its passing game because of an inability to establish any semblance of a rushing attack. “If you can’t run the football, you become one-dimensional,” Kelly said of his team’s season-low 58 rushing yards. “That makes it very easy for the defense.” The Lion defense had an easy time of it last week, forcing four turnovers. Senior nose tackle Todd Abrams pounced on two fumbles, free safety Tad Crawford scooped up two more, and linebacker Todd Quinn took an interception to the house for a score. “Our defense really set the tone for us,” Wilson said. “We were able to take away their weapons.” The Lion’s fierce defense has caused Kelly to air on the side of caution and start the more experienced Hostetler on Saturday. “We are sticking with Ben.” Kelly said after practice Tuesday. As Kelly answered questions regarding the signal-callers, Bassuener and junior receiver Brent Craft lingered on the practice field, working on their timing. With Quinn, who had nine tackles and a sack to go along with his interception, anchoring the Columbia defense, Hostetler must look to jumpstart the offensive game by finding the fastest open receiver. Lately, that man has been sophomore Kenny Mitchell, who had his coming-out party on Saturday, scoring two touchdowns including a shifty 38-yarder off a routine shovel-pass from Hostetler. Mitchell, who is generously listed at 5-foot-11, says that the shovel pass is one of his favorites. “I run the 100 [-meters] and the 200 [m] in track, so 40 yards is nothing for me,” he said. Mitchell also isn’t afraid of Columbia’s one-two punch at linebacker, which features Quinn and senior captain Adam Brekke. “We aren’t concerned about what Columbia has done,” itchell said. “All we have to worry about is what we have to do.” Wilson, who spent the previous four seasons serving as offensive coordinator at UConn, has implemented an offense which he calls “slash and burn.”We slash at you with the run, and when the defense stops that, we burn you with the pass.” Wilson said. The attack worked wonders at UConn, where the Huskies led the Big East in total offense in 2004. The Lions employed their new scorched earth technique last Saturday, amassing their highest point total in six years. The offensive line, led by senior captains Matt Barsamian and Uche Osedebe, was as solid as a stone wall and allowed junior quarterback Craig Hormann ample time to pick the Fordham defense apart. Freshman wide out Austin Knowlin emerged as a home-run threat in his first game, turning a short toss from Hormann into a 62-yard sprint to the end zone. Wilson credited Knowlin’s catch as the jolt the offense needed to get going, but says the Lions are still looking for a big-time player to rely on. “We are learning on the run, and we need some playmakers to step up for us.” Wilson said. The Hoya defense, which allowed 207 yards on the ground against Brown, should beware of the Lions dynamic duo of Jordan Davis and James Cobb, who had 100 yards rushing between the two of them. Senior linebacker Chris Paulus, who led the team with 14 tackles against the Bears last week, will be aided by the return of his partner-in-crime, junior linebacker Mike Greene, who has been slowed recently with a foot injury. The hulking Wilson, who sports a shirt and tie on the sidelines, played for the legendary Lou Holtz at Minnesota and lists Holtz, currently an analyst at ESPN, as one of the main influences on his coaching style. “He has an impact on almost everything I tell our kids,” Wilson said. “He has had success everywhere he has gone and I try and emulate that every day.” One thing he learned from Holtz was never to overlook an opponent. “Georgetown is a fast team that attacks the edges really well. We have our work cut out for us this weekend,” he said. As for the Hoyas the task is clear and simple. When Georgetown’s newest offensive sensation was asked what the team could do to improve this weekend, Kenny itchell wasted no time in repeating his coach’s mantra. “We have to execute, man,” Mitchell said, hardly winded after burning through a set of post-practice sprints. “The right plays are called, everything is in place, we just have to believe and execute.”

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