March 23, 2015
WASHINGTON - Preparations for the Georgetown University football team's first spring scrimmage had begun before the sun rose over Harbin Hall on Saturday morning, as the offense, dressed in gray, and the defense, dressed in blue, squared off for the first time under game conditions.
Competition has been the theme during the first three weeks of spring practice. The Hoyas will graduate a class of 21 seniors, including 10 starters and four All-Patriot League selections. Spring ball has been an opportunity for the returners to show their ability to adjust to an expanded role for the fall.
"Overall the first scrimmage was a success," Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. "This spring we have emphasized to our team that we need to compete in every drill and on every play. I thought the offense and the defense played hard this Saturday. We have made some progress, but still have a long way to go. Every practice and scrimmage is an opportunity for players to improve and compete for playing time."
The Hoyas, who lost three Patriot League games by eight points or less, have grown to understand that games can be won or lost based attention to details.
Georgetown's defensive depth was tested throughout last season with a multitude of injuries, giving some of the returning players a greater opportunity to shine. Now the job for the defensive coaching staff will be to continue build upon a unit that was among the league leaders in scoring defense and forcing turnovers.
"We talk about having an upward trajectory," defensive coordinator Luke Thompson said. "So every day improving on the previous day and getting better. They guys have done a good job of that at this point in the spring. That's where I've been pleased is the fact that we're focused on one objective of getting better every day and that's showing up at practice."
On offense the Hoyas return All-Patriot League running back Jo'el Kimpela (Kinshasa, D.R. Congo/Euless Trinity), quarterback Kyle Nolan (Branford, Conn./Choate Rosemary Hall) and seven of its top nine pass catchers. Two-year starter Kevin Liddy (Garden City, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) will lead an offensive line unit that featured two freshmen starters last season.
"All of our postion groups have steadily continued to improve," offensive coordinator Michael Neuberger said. "We have a lot of young players on the offensive line that have done a great job for us. Our quarterbacks, getting us into the right situations and right plays and our skill guys on the outside have made plays."
Saturday's scrimmage was about more than football for Sgarlata and the squad as they welcomed the Ward 5 Warriors and a member of the Hoya football family who serves as one of their coaches. The Warriors are dedicated to D.C. area youth, providing athletic activities, mentoring programs and educational enhancement tools, while giving the kids positive influences in the community to provide a strong example.
One of our core principles is the Jesuit ideal of being "Men for Others," Sgarlata said. One of their coaches, Marques Lucas, is a Hoya football alum, so we've had them on campus a few times. Today the young men from the Warriors watched practice and then spoke with a few of our current players about the importance of hard work. We hope to continue to grow the relationship between the Warriors and our program. It's beneficial for our student-athletes as much as it is for them."