Skilled Backfield Set to Lead
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 22:09
If the Georgetown football team's 2012 season was a testament to the unpredictability of the game, the 2013 season is all about redemption. Entering the 2012 campaign, the Hoyas were one year removed from recording an 8-3 season and nearly winning the Patriot League. With the core of that 2011 team returning and the freshman class one of the best of Head Coach Kevin Kelly’s tenure, expectations were sky high.
Injuries, though, derailed any hopes the Blue and Gray had of meeting expectations. Most notably, starting quarterback Isaiah Kempf suffered a season-ending concussion just six plays into the season. Kempf’s injury was just the beginning of uncertainty at quarterback for the Hoyas — before season’s end, the Hoyas featured five different players under center en route to their 5-6 season.
“Going into the season, what we told the players was that we have the opportunity to beat every team on our schedule — we are going to take it one game at a time,” Kelly said. “If we take care of business each and every day and each andv every game, our goals can be met.”
Despite opening the 2013 season with a 28-21 loss to Wagner, who received votes for the FCS Top 25, Georgetown returns this year primed for a successful season. The Hoyas, a veteran squad, return seven starters on both offense and defense, including redshirt senior Kempf, who was granted an additional year of eligibility after last season’s injury.
“[Experience] is huge.” Kelly said. “There are a lot of moving parts in a college football game, and any experience that you have is huge. The game slows down the more you play it, and as you filter in the young players, the old players help the young players.”
Kempf will be under center for the Blue and Gray offense that returned four of its top five rushers from a year ago, including senior running back Nick Campanella. Campanella, a two-time All-Patriot League running back, led the Hoyas last season in rushing, racking up 501 yards. Last season, opponents held the Hoyas under 20 points seven times, with the return of Kempf and the strong backfield, the Hoyas offensive woes will likely dissipate.
“I have real high expectations for the run game,” Kelly said. “I think our offensive line is gelling very well. We have a number of backs that I think are excellent … that could start on a number of football teams in our league.”
Last season, the Hoyas struggled to score once inside the red zone. Georgetown scored on just 24 of 35 red-zone trips in 2012, in part due to their uncertainty at placekicker. Last season, punter Matt MacZura won the placekicking job, but his inexperience at the position led to the Hoyas converting only 10 of 17 field goals. But MacZura returns this season more experienced, which will bode well for the Hoya special teams.
“The red zone issue we have worked extremely hard on,” Kelly said. “In fact last week [against Wagner], we were 3-for-3 in the red zone, so we did a nice job there.”
Although the Georgetown defense is a veteran group and returns seven starters, the Blue and Gray lost standout linebacker Robert McCabe to graduation. McCabe, last year’s Patriot League defensive player of the year and ECAC defensive player of the year, departed the Hilltop with the most career tackles in a Hoya uniform and will be tough to replace.