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Kempf and McCabe lead pursuit of Patriot League title
The term “Redeem Team” has been thrown around lately referring to the U.S. men’s basketball team and its gold-medal run in the 2012 London Olympics. And this season, Georgetown football’s seniors will attempt to create their own version of a “Redeem Team.”
Linebacker Rob McCabe and quarterback Isaiah Kempf, the senior co-captains, understand the pain of defeat. The Hoyas went 0-11, losing every game, during their freshman season. Last year ended with a tough 34-12 loss to Lehigh in the Patriot League Championship, finishing 8-3 on the year.
“You can’t do it over one season,” Kempf said. “It’s taken three for us.”
This year, three years since the win-less season, the Hoyas will start the year as contenders for the Patriot League title.
“There is just a mindset among the seniors,” Kempf said. “As we are coming back, everyone is excited to be back here. My freshman year was a bit different.”
Kempf and McCabe are partially responsible for this mindset. Both were unanimous selections as team captains this year.
“The players pick the captain by voting. I don’t,” said Head Coach Kevin Kelly. “It was a landslide.”
They have provided leadership for a Georgetown squad that lost some key senior leaders at the end of last year, like defense lineman Andrew Schaetzke. Kempf and McCabe both lead by example, and are effective in their own manners.
“We are pretty good together,” McCabe said of himself and Kempf. “We complement each other.”
While neither one is a “rah-rah” leader and both are somewhat reserved, Kempf is a more vocal leader since he is behind center.
“Especially during practice, two-a-days, and the grind, I really helped and was vocal and talked to the guys and got them motivated,” Kempf said.
McCabe, however, focuses more on showing his teammates how to conduct themselves. Having been named Patriot League Pre-Season Defensive Player of the Year, the linebacker broke the Georgetown single-season tackle record last year and led the Patriot League in tackles per game. For him, work ethic is the key to his and the team’s success.
“If I am not working hard in the weight room or the field or the film room, I don’t think I’m doing my job,” McCabe said.
Kempf has noticed the effect that McCabe’s example has had on other players.
“I think players have really responded to Rob and the attitude he has,” he said.
Coach Kelly also recognizes the importance of leading by example, and commended both his co-captains on doing so.
”It’s every day setting the example and working hard,” Kelly said. “That’s what the players see. That’s what makes the team better.”
With their leadership, Kempf and McCabe have the potential to erase the painful memories of last year and their freshman year with a Patriot League Championship.
“I’m very pleased with what both those guys have done as far as the leadership aspect is concerned,” Kelly said. “They are excellent leaders.”