“Our expectation is to win every game on our schedule,” Kelly said. “We have the ability to do that.”
That newfound swagger is not baseless. Last season, the Hoyas had their best season since joining the Patriot League, finishing 8-3. The end of their season marked a showdown with Lehigh, essentially for the conference title. The Hoyas lost that game, ending their season and sending the Mountain Hawks to the playoffs. But because of that game, Georgetown’s squad comes back this season more motivated than ever.
“We’re hungrier,” Kelly said. “The motto after that game was, ‘finish the job.’ We were a game away and we want the whole thing; we want to win the Patriot League and go to the playoffs.”
“After that game, everyone I talked to just said ‘remember how you feel walking off that field’,” senior linebacker and captain Rob McCabe added. “We were definitely disappointed, and it just motivated us to work harder.”
This season marks a familiar beginning, as the Hoyas open in North Carolina against Davidson before returning home to face Wagner. The team beat both squads handily last season.
After that, they face a gauntlet of games against Ivy League opponents before opening Patriot League play, a slate that includes Princeton on national television and Brown on Homecoming weekend.
As for the team’s Patriot League aspirations—the road once again goes through Lehigh, a popular pick to repeat as champions this season. The Hoyas were picked fourth, perhaps a slight considering their second-place finish last season.
But this year’s team isn’t focused on outside attention. The players know, based on last season, that will come with success. For now, their only concern is Kelly’s mantra—finish the job.
“I think the chemistry is good,” Kempf said. “Pretty much all the receivers we have coming back are dynamic guys.”
Kempf’s favorite target, though, is senior wide receiver Max Waizenegger, who led the Hoyas with 35 receptions, 424 receiving yards, and six touchdowns in 2011.
“[Coach Marino] has been putting wrinkles in there we hadn’t had before, especially in the run game,” Kelly said. “I think we will be more explosive than we were last year.”
Senior captain Rob McCabe leads the defense this year from the linebacker position, and is joined in the middle position by fellow senior Jeremy Grasso. The two have been starting together for three years and have grown to understand how each other play. By feeding off each other’s energy and complementing their different strengths, the Georgetown linebacking core has seen improvement.
“There’s just a comfort level there. We know what each other is thinking and we know where each other is going to be on the field,” McCabe said of Grasso. “Having him on the field definitely makes me more confident.”
Despite the loss of defensive end Andrew Schaetzke, Head Coach Kevin Kelly still thinks this year’s iteration can compete successfully against the league’s biggest challenges. “I think our quartet of linebackers there is the best in the league. The unsung hero there is Sean Campbell.”
The inexperienced defensive line could be seen as a problem for the Hoyas this year, but Kelly assures that their defense will match up against their contenders. With some underrated players looking to make their mark in the upcoming season opener, the game against Davidson on Saturday will be a testament to how prepared the Georgetown players really are.
Meanwhile, McCabe’s and Grasso’s experience is expected to make up for any lacking among the rest of the defense. Both seniors are satisfied, especially with how the secondary has come along since last year, and are confident that they will give the o ffense a chance to take each game out of reach from their opponents.