The University of Delaware football program finished its 2014 campaign with a 6-6 record in head coach Dave Brock’s second season at the helm of the program (13-11 overall in first two seasons).
With three-year starting quarterback Trent Hurley now gone, and the Blue Hens offense expected to be led by transfer quarterback Blake Rankin (or redshirt freshman Joe Walker), Delaware will look to revamp on both sides of the football in order to compete in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2015.
Along with Hurley, Delaware also loses offensive lineman J.D. Dzurko, star receiver Michael Johnson and tight end Nick Boyle, who was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
But this doesn’t seem to phase senior wide receiver Jerel Harrison (31 catches, 488 yards, 4 TDs in 2014), whom we spoke with at the CAA Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD) on Tuesday:
“Being here as long as I have, I’ve caught touchdowns from three different quarterbacks, and right now Blake is emerging in that role but we have three good, young quarterbacks who are all battling for position. So hopefully by the end of training camp we’ll find out who will be in that starting role for us.
“Our mindset, offensively, is always attack. We have to score more points to help the defense out. On offense we just have to be more efficient, run the ball, and bring these young quarterbacks along.”
Despite a young crop of receivers, which includes sophomore Diante Cherry and redshirt freshmen Tre Brown and DeAndre Davis, Harrison seems confident that he can take them under his wing in 2015 and accomplish big things in the passing game:
“I’ve definitely been doing that [taking the young guys under his wing] since last year. Just getting those guys ready for this season. I know what it’s like being a young receiver stepping in and having to play a big role in the offense. I think all these young guys, like Tre Brown, he’s going to be a great player. Diante Cherry is definitely going to be a really good player. We have a lot of other young guys who can step up and contribute to the offense right away.”
On the other side of the football, UD lost six defensive starters, most notably All-CAA Third Team linebacker Patrick Callaway.
But after a tremendous freshman season in 2014, in which he was named the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year and was a member of the All-CAA Second Team, defensive tackle Blaine Woodson will continue to clog up the middle of the field and force double and triple teams from opposing offenses. The East Stroudsburg, PA-native made 51 tackles (28 solo), 11.0 TFL and 8.5 sacks in 11 starts.
“I’m always focusing on getting better,” Woodson said on Tuesday.”This year I’ll be in the film room more and I hit the weight room harder, so you can expect a lot more from me this year.”
Delaware is set to report for pre-season drills on Friday August 7, begin practice on Saturday August 8 and then open the 2015 campaign at home against Jacksonville on September 4 (7 P.M. kick-off).