NEWARK, Del.  -- The long-awaited start to the University of Delaware spring football practice season is just a week away as the Blue Hens will return to action next Tuesday, April 8, to begin a month of pre-season drills at the UD Football Practice Complex.

The Blue Hens, led by second-year head coach Dave Brock, will take part in 15 practice sessions culminating in the annual Blue-White Spring Game set for Saturday, May 3, at 12 noon at Delaware Stadium.  Prior to the spring game, Delaware will host Fandemonium V in front of Delaware Stadium. This annual event includes food, prizes, and entertainment for families and UD fans of all ages beginning at 10 a.m.

For the second year in a row, the Blue Hens will take to the road to hold their practice on Saturday, Apr. 26 at Milford (Del.) High School. Fans are invited to come out for a day of free fun, football, and giveaways beginning at 10 a.m. Concessions and merchandise will be sold and tailgating (no alcohol permitted per school district policy) will be encouraged.

Weekday afternoon practices begin at approximately 4 p.m. with Saturday practices set for approximately 10 a.m. Fans who wish to attend practice sessions at the UD Football Practice Complex should verify times, dates, and locations with the UD Football Office at 302-831-2949 before arriving.

Delaware’s spring practice schedule is as follows:  April 8; April 10; April 11; April 12; April 15; April 17; April 19;  April 22;  April 24; April 25;  April 26 (12 noon at Milford High School); April 29; May 1; May 2; May 3 (Blue-White Spring Game, 12 noon, Delaware Stadium.).

Delaware, which went 7-5 last season under Brock and tied for fifth place in the Colonial Athletic Standings with a 4-4 mark, returns 17 players with starting experience.

“We are really excited to get back out on the practice fields and see the 2014 team begin to take shape,” said Brock. “Spring practice is a great time for player development and working on fundamentals and we have a lot of work to do as we continue to rebuild the Blue Hen football program.”

Highlighting the returning players on offense are quarterback Trent Hurley, All-CAA wide receiver Michael Johnson, All-CAA tight end Nick Boyle, tight end Ryan Cobb, wide receiver Jerel Harrison, and offensive linemen JD Dzurko and Ben Curtis. Delaware’s offense ranked among the league leaders in 2013 when the Hens put up an average of 32.8 points per game and averaged 177 yards rushing and 240 yards passing per contest.  

Hurley ranked among the CAA leaders last season when he threw for 2,207 yards and 22 touchdowns while Johnson caught a team-leading 60 passes for 1,035 yards and nine touchdowns, Boyle hauled in 42 passes for 474 yards and seven touchdowns, and Harrison collected 36 passes for 350 yards and a touchdown. Johnson ranked among the national leaders in all-purpose yardage and also averaged 20.9 yards on kickoff returns.

Defensively, the Blue Hens return 10 players with starting experience led by defensive linemen Laith Wallschleger, Derrick Saulsberry, and Vince Hollerman, linebackers David Mackall, Pat Callaway, and Kennedy Ogbonna, and defensive backs Jake Giusti, Mario Rowson, Craig Brodsky, and Jordan Thomas. In addition, All-CAA punter Eric Enderson returns to lead the special teams unit after earning freshman All-American honors a year ago when he led the CAA and ranked third nationally in punting average (45.0 yards per punt).  

Callaway earned All-CAA honors a year ago when he led the team and ranked No. 2 in the CAA in tackles (10.0 per game). Rowson (75 tackles) and Mackall (74 tackles) ranked second and third on the team in tackles, Craig Brodsky was second in interceptions (three), and Saulsberry led the squad in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (14). Two players who will be not be returning to the UD football program are junior defensive tackle Karon Gibson and junior linebacker Jeff Williams. Both players were dismissed from the team prior to the spring semester and are no longer students at the University of Delaware.