Blue Hens picked 7th in CAA football poll

Delaware State News

BALTIMORE, Md. — College football coaches never put much stock in preseason conference polls.

And Delaware coach Dave Brock will be especially happy if the Colonial Athletic Association pollsters are wrong about the Blue Hens.

Delaware was picked to finish just seventh in the CAA poll that was announced on Tuesday during the conference’s Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium.

Hens-Brock

A year ago, the Hens finished just 4-7 overall and were seventh in the Colonial with a 3-5 league mark.

“Media Day is an exciting way to kick off a new season,” said Brock, who will enter his fourth season at the helm,. “I look forward to a great year of Delaware football.

“We feel like all the pieces are in place for us to be a playoff team in 2016,” said Brock, who will be looking to lead UD back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2010 squad finished as national runner-up. “I look forward to getting underway on Aug. 4. Our goal is always to be the best team in the best conference in the country.”

The preseason All-CAA team was also announced and the Hens had two standouts named to the team — junior linebacker Charles Bell and senior offensive tackle Connor Bozick.

Delaware returns 18 starters, fourth highest in the league behind Towson (21), Albany (20), and preseason favorite Richmond (19).

Among the returning Delaware All-CAA selections are Bell, Bozick, center Brody Kern, running back and 2015 CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year Thomas Jefferson, defensive tackles Blaine Woodson and Bilal Nichols, cornerback Justin Watson, and tight end Brandon Whaley.

Richmond placed a league-high seven players on the preseason team, including preseason Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Kyle Lauletta and preseason Bell earned second-team All-CAA honors from his middle linebacker spot in 2015, He led the team ranked No. 4 in the CAA with 96 tackles (8.7 per game). As a team, Delaware finished in the national Top 25 in total defense, rushing defensive, and scoring defense.

“Charles has proven himself to be an elite player in the CAA,” said Brock. “We look forward to him continuing to grow as a player and a leader for our defense and for our team.”

The 6-5, 320-pound Bozick earned third team All-CAA honors in 2015 when he was one of four offensive lineman to start every game. A versatile player, Bozick will move from guard to tackle this season and will be one of just 10 seniors on the team.

He has never missed a game since his redshirt freshman season and has played in all 35 contests with 23 starts. A year ago he anchored a unit that helped Delaware rank No. 2 in the CAA and 17th in the NCAA in rushing offense (219.4 yards per game) and No. 4 in sacks allowed (1.64/44th in NCAA).

“Connor brings an awful lot of experience and confidence to the lineup,” said Brock. “He is a very physical player and a guy we are going to count on to anchor our offensive front in 2016.”

Delaware players will report back to campus on Aug. 4 and begin practice the next day on the UD Practice Fields. The 2016 season opener is set for Thursday, Sept. 1 vs. Delaware State at Delaware Stadium at 7 p.m.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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