WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University football team is in its fourth week of practices, working hard toward its season opener at Campbell University on September 9. Throughout preseason camp, GUHoyas.com will take an in-depth look at each of the team's position groups, with this edition featuring the offensive line.
The Blue & Gray will be looking to leadership and experience throughout its entire offense, which lost only two starters from last season. The offensive line is where the Hoyas will have the most returning experience, as they bring back all 12 linemen, 10 of which saw playing time in 2016. The 12 returners, who have combined for 96 career starts, are comprised evenly of four seniors, four juniors and four sophomores. Additionally, Georgetown has six freshmen who will provide depth and compete for playing time.
“I’m excited with the way the group is coming together,” said Assistant Coach Alex Kolt, who works with the offensive line along with Bruno Barandas. “They have bought into the things we have been teaching them and have really taken to it well. I am excited to get those guys out there and play because I feel like we are getting better every day. I know they are itching to get out there against another team.”
The four members of the senior class have a wealth of experience between them. Michael McFarlane (Frostproof, Fla./Frostproof) and Nick James (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny), who have made 25 and 23 career starts, respectively, are two of the three linemen to appear in all 11 games last year. Matthew Houpert (West Hartford, Conn./William H. Hall), who started 10 games last season, has 19 career starts under his belt while Dominic Scarangella (Newtown, Conn./Newtown) started in seven games last season, bringing his career total to nine.
“We are very fortunate to have four seniors, all of whom have played a lot of football in their careers here,” Kolt said. “Two of them have been starters since they were freshmen and the other two since they were sophomores. They have demonstrated really great leadership to the younger guys and they have a really good base of knowledge as far as football is concerned.”
Junior Randy Crystian (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill), who has 11 career starts, was another lineman to appear in all 11 games last season, making nine starts. Micah Smith (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Westminster Academy) appeared in seven games last season with two starts, while Jared Horne (Woodbridge, Va./CD Hylton) also made two starts in 2016 and saw action in four games overall. Tower Menning (Madison, Wis./Poynette) will push for an increased role after not seeing game action last season.
Sophomore Nick Sweitzer (Perryopolis, Pa./Belle Vernon) led all of his classmates last season, appearing in 10 games and making five starts. Ryan Jelinek (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) appeared in five games and Stewart Keehner (Towson, Md./Gilman) also saw the field while Justin Wood (Yorktown Heights, Pa./Loyalsock Twp.) will look to see his first game action this season.
The Hoyas have also added six freshmen on the offensive line this fall, giving Kolt a very deep and talented unit with a strong blend of youth and experience. Chris Caylor (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora), Theron Cooper (Eastman, Ga./Dodge County), Daniel Horne (Woodbridge, Va./CD Hylton), Seth Martin (Little Rock, Ark./Pulaski Academy), Izaiah Thompson (St. Louis, Mo./Saint Louis University HS) and Glen Waters (Dallas, Texas/Cedar Hill) will all compete for playing time in their first year on the Hilltop.
“I am really excited about this freshman class,” Kolt said. “We have some really talented players and they are adjusting well. Offensive line is a unique position in that it is probably the hardest position to pick up early in your career, but we have some exceptionally talented kids and hopefully, with the amount of returners we have, we won’t be pressed into playing any of them before they are ready. We may see some guys who are physically and mentally ready as freshmen, and we may see some guys who need a little time to develop.”