University of Delaware Football Opens Spring Drills with First Practice; Spring Game Set for Apr. 20
March 8, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware football squad, coming off a 2010 season that saw the Blue Hens post seven wins and barely miss out on a post-season tournament berth, officially opened spring drills Thursday with their first practice.
Head coach K.C. Keeler (at right), who will enter his 11th season at the helm of his alma mater this fall, welcomes back 39 letterwinners and 13 starters from last year’s 7-4 squad as the Hens look to return to the post-season after a one-year hiatus. The Hens, who won their final three regular season games a year ago, made three trips to the national championship game over the last decade.
Among the top story lines in spring practice will be replacing an offensive front that lost four starters, including All-American Gino Gradkowski, and shoring up a defensive front that lost four regular contributors.
Senior Tim Donnelly, who started nine games at quarterback last season, will contend with Bowling Green transfer Trent Hurley for reps under center. Junior quarterback Trevor Sasek, who opened the season as the starter but was sidelined with injuries, underwent off-season knee surgery and will sit out spring drills.
“We had a great winter,” said Keeler. “We are excited about what we did in the weight room, our conditioning, and how big and strong we are. Now we have to apply all that to the football field. Everything will start up front for us since we lost four outstanding seniors on the offensive line and some pretty good defensive linemen as well. We want to see some great competition and great intensity up front. We have our starting secondary back as well as most of our running backs, wideouts, and linebackers. If we want to be the team we think we can be, it’s going to start up front. It’s going to be important that we show growth in that area this spring.”
Keeler will put the Blue Hens through their paces over the next month culminating in the annual Blue-White Spring Scrimmage to be held Friday, Apr. 20, at Delaware Stadium.
The Hens will have 15 practice opportunities from now until the end of the camp to work on offensive and defensive schemes, evaluate personnel, and prepare for the upcoming 2012 season.
Delaware will practice the following days:
March 8 (3:50 p.m.)
March 10 (10 a.m.)
March 13 (3:50 p.m.)
March 15 (3:50 p.m.)
March 17 (10 a.m.)
March 20 (3:50 p.m.)
March 22 (3:50 p.m.)
April 5 (3:50 p.m.)
April 7 (10 a.m.)
Apr. 12 (3:50 p.m.)
Apr. 14 (9:30 a.m. scrimmage)
April 17 (3:50 p.m.)
April 19 (3:50 p.m.).
April 20 (Spring Game)
All Delaware practices, as well as the Blue-White Spring Game, are free and open to the public.
Among the top Delaware returning players are leading rusher Andrew Pierce (1,279 yards, 16 TDs), leading receiver Nihja White (50 catches for 673 yards and four TDs), leading passer Donnelly (165 of 263 for 1,732 yard and 11 TDs), All-Colonial Athletic Association defenders Paul Worrilow, Travis Hawkins, and Marcus Burley, and first team All-CAA kicker Sean Baner (29-29 PAT, 15-20 FG).
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