How long’s it been since the football team had a winning season? Well, the last time it happened, Bill Clinton was still President, Cher’s “Believe” was the track of the year, and the world had yet to enter the new Millennia. But as the Hoyas wrap up the last week of a month-long camp, the feeling around the team is one of hope, not dread. With a strong corps of seniors and a series of talented recruiting classes coming into their own, this could be the Hoyas’ year to break the .500 mark.
Georgetown had another disappointing season last year, finishing 2-8 overall—winning only against Marist and crosstown rival Howard.
The blame or credit for the upcoming season rests solely with head coach Kevin Kelly. Kelly—now in his fourth year at the program’s helm—is coaching a team of players he recruited. But Kelly is not too worried about what might be his most important season yet; he is confident in the leadership of the seniors and the raw talent of the freshmen and sophomores.
“The attitude is terrific, the work ethic, the team camaraderie, and the whole thing as a package has been really good,” Kelly said. “I’m really excited about this team, I love this team, and for them, we hope to get some W’s.”
Everyone is coming back healthy. Add the hunger of players who have never experienced a winning season, and the Hoyas could be a surprisingly dangerous team.
This Georgetown squad certainly has no shortage of leadership and experience. The 22 seniors suiting up every week are a source for the underclassmen to learn from and follow. Kelly has chosen five captains from the senior class to lead the team.
“Most of the seniors have played since they were sophomores,” captain and senior defensive lineman Chudi Obianwu said. “It’s tough to win in this league with a young team, and we’ve all matured.”
Two other captains join Obianwu on defense. Linebacker Nick Parrish Jr. led the team with 73 tackles last year, and defensive back Chris Rau’s 68 tackles last season were good for eighth in the Patriot League.
Senior slot back Robert Lane missed most of last season due to an injury, but is poised to have a big impact this year. After the season last year, he was given the privilege to wear number 35 for the 2009 season. Each year the number 35 jersey is given to the player who best embodies the spirit of Joe Eacobacci, the former Hoya who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“I’m really happy to be wearing the jersey, and possibly influencing the younger guys by how I play,” Lane said. “If I go hard, maybe they’ll go hard too.”
According to Kelly, the freshmen are ready to step up and make an impact right away.
“Each and every year the classes get better, and they’ll be a great compliment to what we have this year,” Kelly said. “The future is bright with that group.”
Sophomore quarterback James Brady is a sign of good things to come—as a freshman last year he split time with junior Keerome Lawrence. This year the highly sought after recruit will run the offense.
The season kicks off this Saturday at Holy Cross.
Photography by Helen Burton