Big Hits, Solid Play at Quarterback Highlight Second Scrimmage of Pre-Season; Season Opener Just Two Weeks Away
August 16, 2012
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- With the season opener looming just two weeks away, the University of Delaware football squad took part in its second and final scrimmage of the pre-season Thursday night under clear skies at Delaware Stadium.
The Blue Hens, ranked No. 15 in the pre-season The Sports Network poll and coming off a 7-4 record a year ago, went at it for just over 90 minutes before a crowd of approximately 250 fans who were treated to some bigs hits by the defense and some solid play at quarterback from sophomore Trent Hurley.
“We have a long way to go, but we took some important steps forward tonight and that’s what we wanted to do,” said 11th-year head coach K.C. Keeler, whose team will open the season Aug. 30 vs. West Chester at 7:30 p.m. at Delaware Stadium. “I was happy with the way we competed tonight and I liked our tempo. We put them in some good situations tonight with two-minute drills and coming-out drills and they really got after it. We came out a little banged up our last time out (last Sunday) but I’m happy to say we didn’t have anything this time.”
Hurley(at left), a first-year player from Bowling Green, got most of the reps at quarterback and played well for the second straight scrimmage, completing several passes and scrambling out of the pocket for a couple of big gains on the ground.
Senior Tim Donnelly, who started nine games last season, and Trevor Sasek, still coming along from off-season knee surgery, also saw action under center.
Keeler praised the progress of the offensive line and also was impressed with the continued outstanding running of junior running back Julian Laing and the play of sophomore wide receiver Michael Johnson.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Leon Jackson (top right) and All-Colonial Athletic Association junior cornerback Travis Hawkins each came up with several big hits on the night to highlight the effort. Keeler was also impressed with the play of defensive tackles Karon Gibson and Zach Kerr.
Jackson, who also had a nifty 17-yard scoring run while playing running back, made the most of his evening.
“I really enjoyed it out here tonight,” said Jackson, a senior who wears an orange jersey in practice because he shuffles between running back and linebacker during practice. “This is my last go-round so its great to have the opportunity to play on both sides of the ball. I love wearing orange because I can help out both sides and show my athleticism. But I’m a linebacker at heart.”
On special teams play, All-CAA kicker Sean Baner converted a 45-yard field goal early in the scrimmage.
“We just have to fine tune some of the little things,” said Keeler when asked about what the team will work on the final two weeks of pre-season drills. “The little things make the difference between winning and losing and we just need to shore some of those things up.”
Plenty of great seats remain for the season opener Aug. 30 as the Hens take on West Chester for the last time in the long series. The Hens will follow that with home games vs. intrastate rival Delaware State on Sept. 8 and vs. Bucknell on Sept. 15 before heading to William & Mary for the CAA opener Sept. 22.
Tickets for all Delaware home games are available online at www.bluehens.com/tickets.html or by calling 302-831-2257.
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