In the midst of a disappointing men’s basketball season, Georgetown football Head Coach Bob Benson is quietly bringing together the pieces to take his team to the top during its 2003 season.

Having lost quarterback Dave Paulus, wide receiver Trenton Hillier and several linemen both on offense and defense, Benson and the Hoyas are faced with the difficult task of rebuilding and developing much of the puzzle that had propelled the team during its first two seasons of Patriot League play.

On National Signing Day last Thursday, universities nationwide officially declared which high school seniors had made commitments to play for their teams this fall. Georgetown has 26 members of the Class of 2007 who intend to play football in September.

Improving on what Benson had previously identified as one of the weaknesses of last season, the Hoyas lured in several prospects to strengthen their offensive line. In 2002, Georgetown had an abysmal five rushing touchdowns and averaged just 2.4 yards per rush. The additions of 260-pound lineman Andrew Rehwinkel and 280-pound tackle Liam Grubb are expected to help the Hoyas in that regard. Rehwinkel is an all-state selection who comes to the Hoyas from Dallas Jesuit, the alma mater of freshman defensive back Rocco ilazzotto. The New York Daily News recently named Grubb, a Chaminade attendee, as an all-CHSFL selection.

Defense turned out to be the team’s major focus, as 13 future Hoyas will add depth to the roster at the line and in the secondary. Defensive end Chris Paulus, the fourth brother in the Paulus family, will come to Georgetown from the Christian Brothers Academy outside Syracuse, where he was an all-state central New York selection. Norcross High School in Georgia is sending safety Patrick Neuman and defensive lineman Jerome Butcher-Green, both of whom are accomplished track athletes. Linebacker Greg Davis, a Silver Spring, Md. native and present senior at Georgetown Prep, will contribute to the backfield. And from Southlake Carroll High School – a team that went 16-0 en route to the Texas 5A state title – the Hoyas will receive strong safety Michael Hoy. A first-team all-state selection, Hoy recorded 148 tackles during his senior year.

Benson referred to this year as an “exceptional” one in terms of recruiting.

“We are trying to do what the university wants us to do. We [want to] grab hold of the success of last season and move forward,” he added.

Other areas of improvement will be special teams and the running game. The team will be hard-pressed to find a replacement for Dave Paulus as a punter, though freshmen Chris King and Robert Smith are anticipated to vie for the job. Benson admitted that he had pursued others to kick for his team, but was unsuccessful.

“We went after a few big-time players, but we lost our No. 1 punter to Georgia Tech. We will never not go for the best kickers,” Benson said.

He also called improvement in the rushing game – both on offense and on defense – the team’s goal for the fall season.

Quarterbacks will pose another dilemma for the Hoyas in the coming months. Sophomore Andrew Crawford, freshman Keith Schroeder and junior Justin Martin will be taking snaps during offseason practices, Benson reported. Former quarterback junior Morgan Booth, who played in four games in 2002 including one start, is moving to the opposite side of the line of scrimmage to assume responsibilities as a defensive back.

The Hoyas went 5-6 last season, including 2-5 in the Patriot League. The team had its first two wins against conference opponents since joining the league in 2000 – a 32-31 nail-biter against Bucknell on Oct. 26 and a 24-16 season-ending victory over Towson on Nov. 23.

Georgetown begin its 12-game 2003 itinerary at home versus Colgate on Sept. 6 and will play Cornell in its first-ever game against an Ivy League opponent on Oct. 18, starting a trend that Benson intends to continue in future years.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.