Believe it or not, Georgetown football has ties to the Super Bowl champions.

Head Coach Kevin Kelly served under current New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride in the 1980s as a young coach at Southern Connecticut State, and he was a teammate of Big Blue’s defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo at Springfield College.

Kelly has had a long, distinguished coaching career in college football and has been molded by some of the top gridiron minds in the country. Now in his third year at the helm for the Hoyas, his goal is to revitalize a once-storied program.

“The personnel is certainly better now than it was when I got here,” Kelly says. “The future is bright because of that and we’re trying to build a strong foundation for success. We need to keep recruiting well and stay healthy. Those are certainly two things that make you successful.”

As his team prepares to host Patriot League foe Bucknell tomorrow at 1 p.m., Kelly will look for his team to finally put all the pieces together and play a complete football game.

“That’s obviously what we look to do every week,” Kelly says. “[Freshman quarterback] James [Brady] is healthy, so we’ll be able to throw it, and [sophomore quarterback] Keerome [Lawrence] did a nice job last week.”

An articulate and insightful man, Kelly prides himself on instilling in his players a business-like approach, both on and off the field. The Hoyas (1-4, 0-2 Patriot League) – especially the young players – have bought into that philosophy.

“I guess I’d compare my style to that of Paul Johnson,” Kelly says. “He’s a no-nonsense guy, and that’s exactly what I am.”

Johnson is currently in his first year as the head coach at Georgia Tech, after having spent seven years as the head man at Navy. Kelly was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach for the Midshipmen from 2002 to 2005 – his last job before taking over at Georgetown.

Football has been a central part of Kelly’s life since his days as a quarterback at Brockport High School in upstate New York.

“I played at Springfield College as a defensive back,” Kelly says. “Then I had a career-ending knee injury as a junior, so I coached in the high school game as a senior.”

Upon graduation from Springfield in 1982, he landed a head-coaching gig at Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts, where he doubled as the coach of both the JV basketball and the track and field teams. During his time at South Connecticut State in the mid-’80s, where he was studying to receive his masters degree in physical education, Gilbride gave him his first college coaching job. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I’ve gotten the chance to work with some great people,” Kelly says. “There’s Paul Johnson when I was at Navy; Bob Pruitt, who is the defensive coordinator at Virginia, at Marshall; I’ve known Kevin Gilbride for 25 years; Dick McPherson, one-time head coach of the Patriots, when I was at Syracuse.”

Kelly, who currently resides with his family in McLean, Va., has experienced success most everywhere he has been throughout his coaching career. At Syracuse in 1988, he helped the Orangemen reach the Sugar Bowl. As an assistant at Dartmouth in 1991, he won the Ivy League title. At Marshall, he was on the staff for a Division I-AA national championship in 1996 and for wins at the Music City Bowl in 1997, the Motor City Bowl in 2000 and the GMAC Bowl in 2001. Most recently, he won the 2004 Emerald Bowl and the 2005 Poinsettia Bowl at Navy.

Judging by where Kelly has been, there is reason to be excited about where Georgetown is going.

Hoya Notes

– This will be Bucknell’s first Patriot League game this season and they come to Washington at 3-2 overall. They have lost two of their last three contests, but are 2-0 on the road in 2008.

– Third-down efficiency has plagued the Georgetown offense all season long and Kelly hopes to straighten that out tomorrow. The Hoyas have only converted on 25 percent of their third-down attempts.

“I’m sick of people coming to me and saying, well you guys have moved the ball,” Kelly said. “No, that’s not good enough, we need to score points. We need to focus and finish; `finish’ has been the buzz word all week. That includes converting on third down.”

– The Bison have put up over 40 points twice this season and they run a hybrid offense.

“They’re a difficult team because they run an option and gun,” Kelly said. “It’d kind of a mix of two styles of offense, which confuses some folks. It makes it difficult to game-plan against.”

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