Football hopes to preserve trend against West Chester
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 13:08
K.C. Keeler has done it again. He has named another transfer quarterback the starter for the 2012 season.
Sophomore Trent Hurley, formerly of Bowling Green, is the latest play caller to take the job, according to Keeler. Hurley did not have the best spring game, going 7 for 16 and throwing two interceptions, but he said he now has a better grasp of the offense.
“The biggest difference is you got to learn the new offense,” Hurley said of transferring to Delaware. “At the end of the day it is still football, but the biggest is learning the new offense and I have to get adjusted to the receivers timing and the footwork.”
Keeler brought in Hurley because of their lack of depth. Trainers weren’t sure if junior quarterback Trevor Sasek would be able to return in time for the start of the season after his injuries last year.
“Trent (Hurley) has come in and there has been a good competition between the three of them, but no one has really seized the opportunity,” Keeler said. “So what we told the kids is whoever plays in the scrimmage will get the most reps and Trent played the best in the scrimmages. So we have decided to go with him as our starter.”
Keeler said Hurley will give them a little more athleticism at the quarterback position that they really haven’t had since current Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco quarterback. He said Hurley gives them options on offense like the 2003 championship team with plays such as a “belly read and options.”
Keeler said there will be no parameters on how long Hurley keeps the job. There is not a certain amount of touchdowns or interceptions that would make him change his mind. Rather, he said it is more of a feeling he gets.
“I’m a guy when I make that decision, I want to keep it,” Keeler said. “I don’t want the quarterback looking over his shoulder. I think people play best that way.”
This will make the offense a little bit more diverse and not so heavily leaned on two-time All-CAA junior running back Andrew Pierce. Pierce has high hopes for this year after the Hens missed the FCS playoffs last year.
“Our goal is to get back to the championship,” Pierce said. “Last year we had a young team. I think that showed and this year we came back and have more experience on offense and defense and we should be pretty good this year.”
Pierce should carry the load again on offense and help Hurley along the way in the Hens first few games. What may be even more important than Pierce is who Hurley is throwing to. Fortunately for Delaware, there is plenty to choose from in that department.
Keeler said he thinks very highly of his wide receivers and tight end core, which includes seniors Rob Jones and Nihja White, but his praise doesn’t end there.
“Skill wise we are as good as anyone in the league,” Keeler said of his running back and wide receiving core. “I think we’ll put four wide receivers that from top to bottom, from one to four, are as good as any four in the league. We might not have the best wide receiver or even the best two wide receivers, but one through four, I think our receivers will match up with anybody.”
That just leaves one place left for Keeler and his staff to worry about. And that’s the offensive line. Keeler said last spring he thought the offense line was in dire straits, but offensive line coach Gregg Perry worked on getting them improved at the start of the season. The Hens lost six scholarship linemen after last season.
“We have three games prior to conference play,” he said. “What we need to do, we need to improve the first three games dramatically. Like I said, the talent is there. We are not lacking in talent. We are lacking in experience.”
The defensive line, however, is abounding with talent and experience, according to Keeler. Sophomore Laith Wallschleger and seniors Ethan Clark and Quincy Barr look to lead the Hens defensive line this season. Keeler said the three have the ability to get after the quarterback and make big defensive plays.
But the depth at the defensive line doesn’t end here. Keeler mentioned freshmen Karon Gibson, David Tinsley and Vince Hollerman have all had great training camps. He said they could see some time on the field this year.
The defensive backfield is also looking strong with all starters returning in seniors Marcus Burley, Tim Breaker and Ricky Tunstall. Junior Jake Giusti is coming back off injury to add some depth. Sophomore Mario Rowson, a transfer from Maryland, also adds depth to the corner position.