“Thing’s aren’t always going to work out the way you want them to, so you’ve got to keep working,” junior linebacker Patrick O’Donnell said. “The only way to win is to keep playing. None of us have given up. I mean, we all want to win so we just keep working hard.” This season has certainly not progressed in the direction the Hoyas hoped for at the beginning of September. With a 0-7 record and a collection of injuries to experienced players, Georgetown has a bye week to recuperate before they get back to the weekly Saturday grind. For O’Donnell, hard work has led to success on the field, highlighted by [Saturday’s game](http://www.thehoya.com/sports/georgetown-falls-flat-against-no-17-colgate/), in which the Pennsylvania native had a team-high 18 tackles. He now ranks third on the team with 50 total tackles, including two sacks and three and a half tackles for losses. “I try not to look at statistics [or] get caught up in that stuff,” the 6-foot linebacker said. “You end [up] playing mind games with yourself.” O’Donnell is an emerging force on the Hoya defense, and is having his best season yet after starting all 10 games last year. “He’s come a long way from freshman year. The guys on defense trust him,” Linebackers Coach Luke Thompson said. Yet O’Donnell almost didn’t spend his freshman year at Georgetown. When he finished his high school football career as a two-year captain at Penncrest High School in Pennsylvania, he knew he wanted to continue playing the game in college. “I wanted to play Division 1-AA ball, but I wasn’t recruited by many [1-AA] teams. I sort of set the bar high for myself.” O’Donnell said. He did receive calls from some Division III schools and was preparing to attend one of them when he received a call from Georgetown asking him to don the blue and gray. “It was a great educational opportunity . I’m very lucky to be doing it. I’m very grateful,” the 215-pound linebacker said. “The guys here have a great camaraderie and the level of competition is what you want.” This competition might be a little more than the Hoyas would like at the moment, but O’Donnell doesn’t mind. “We definitely don’t have any cupcake games – no easy games,” O’Donnell said. “We play in one of the few non-scholarship conferences in the nation. We’re not out-hustled. We’re not out-coached. We’re always just one play short.” The bye week could bring some much needed relief to the beleaguered team. According to O’Donnell, senior co-captain and center Dan Matheny, who has started all four years, is returning. In addition, fellow senior co-captain and defensive back [Chris Rau](http://www.thehoya.com/sports/defensive-backs-keep-each-other-safe/) is close to returning as well. “It’s always good to have the chance to have guys back,” O’Donnell said. “By week eight, [the game] takes its toll. Everybody’s banged up.” Last Saturday’s game didn’t help the injury situation, as Colgate ran the ball a punishing 63 times. After taking the ball-carrier down 18 times, O’Donnell is starting to feel it as well. “It feels like they ran the ball 63 times,” O’Donnell said, smiling. It’s not that he isn’t used to the pounding that linebackers take. In fact, he prefers playing against a rush-heavy offense like Colgate’s. “Pat is very instinctive. He’s good against the run – it’s his kind of game,” Thompson said. Despite O’Donnell’s success, he knows that he will only get better as his career progresses. “I’m still not where I want to be,” O’Donnell said. “The more comfortable I am, things will slow down more. It will be easier. But that comes with experience.” Thompson is happy with O’Donnell’s play right now. It’s the linebacker’s vocal cords his coach wants to see used more. “He needs to become more vocal,” Thompson said. “He knows more than he thinks he knows.” Thompson attributes O’Donnell’s silence to his teammate, fellow junior linebacker and co-captain Nick Parrish, who enjoys rallying the defense. “We’re going to put [O’Donnell] into situations in practice without Nick, and Pat must make the calls in practice, leading the freshman,” Thompson said. O’Donnell, however, is not shy about analyzing the defense’s flaws from this past weekend. He points to the defense’s inability to stop some third down plays against Colgate as a big factor in the team’s loss. “We can’t see what [opponents] are doing differently. We don’t emulate their style of play,” O’Donnell said. “We just have to build an identity of our own, on our own terms.” Up to this point, O’Donnell has done a fine job of establishing his own identity, on his own terms. As Coach Thompson describes O’Donnell, “He’s intense- on the field, every day, in practice, in drill. And he carries that over into game day.

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