Oct. 6, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Monday morning, under partly cloudy skies, third-year Head Coach Kevin Kelly and his staff gathered together with their players for their first practice since Thursday. Kelly said he treated the weekend like it was a bye week for the team. The staff spent all day on Friday preparing for its next game - hosting Penn on Saturday, October 11 at the Multi-Sport Field. He went to see his son's varsity football game on Friday night and tended to things around his house on Saturday.
"It was good to get back out on the field, use the whistle a bit and talking about football," Kelly said. "It certainly wasn't anything we expected to have happen, but I think given the nature of the infection, it was better to act in a manner that was good for the student-athletes."
His team, meanwhile, took time off to rest and, more importantly, to recuperate. Several members of the team were stricken with the virus and the time off allowed them to get better and prevented the chance of it being spread to other team members.
"We hadn't practiced at all until today," Kelly said. "We practiced last Thursday, but because of the virus, it was the prudent thing to do to shut it down until today. Normally, we practice on Sunday, but we held off on getting out on the field so we could flush this thing out."
The final outcome of the game - of how it will be treated should it come down to determining the 2008 Patriot League champion and automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament - will be determined by a meeting of the athletic directors at each of the Patriot League's institutions, but the hardest part for the Hoyas was that their season went from 11 games to 10 games.
"It's not like some other sports where you can play during the week and because of the scheduling conflicts, we've basically lost a game," Kelly said.
The Georgetown situation was similar to a case in 1998, when the football team at Duke had several players suffering from the same virus that hit the Hilltop last week. The Blue Devils played and lost to Florida State, but the virus was passed on during the course of the game.
"We had our medical people speak to the folks at Colgate and it was the prudent thing to do," Kelly said. "We had heard about that case and that certainly made our decision easier."
The inability to play a game this weekend allowed the team to have injured players heal, but Kelly is glad that he can concentrate on football game. "Anytime you have an open date, I think guys are able to get healthy," Kelly said. "The sliver lining to this whole thing is that we got a week of rest. I think the kids are excited because it's Homecoming, we have a great football team in Penn coming in and we're excited because we're getting back on the field in front of our fans again."