Decision on starting quarterback nears for Blue Hens

Delaware redshirt quarterback Joe Walker talks to reporters Sunday. (University of Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Delaware redshirt quarterback Joe Walker talks to reporters Sunday. (University of Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Quarterbacks, of course, get too much credit for the good as well as too much blame when things go bad.

At the same time, Delaware football coach Dave Brock knows that it’s pretty hard to hide a QB that’s not getting it done.

So yes, said Brock, finding the right QB is going to go a long way in determining the Blue Hens’ fate this fall.

Then again, using that quarterback correctly is going to have a lot to say about how he plays.

“I think we’ll have to be smart,” said Brock. “If we line up the first game and throw drop-back pass 50 times, you’ve got to be an idiot.”

As Delaware held its annual Media Day on Sunday afternoon, Brock is getting a little closer to choosing the Hens’ starting QB.

The third-year coach expects to decide between junior Blake Rankin and redshirt freshman Joe Walker after Delaware holds its second scrimmage Saturday at 3 p.m. The Hens open the season on Sept. 4 by hosting Jacksonville.

But Brock said it’s not as simple as just choosing the best QB. For instance, which quarterback is under center might depend on how well the defense is playing.

“If I feel like we’re going to have a really, really good defensive football team when it’s all said and done, the dynamic of what characteristics we need at the quarterback position changes a little bit,” said Brock.

“If you’re telling me we’re going to have to win games in the 30s, then that’s going to be different. And the quarterback competition requirements change.

“I’ve coached kids at different places where the guy who gave you the best chance to win was also the guy who gave you best chance to lose.”

All that being said, Brock said he likes the way that Rankin and Walker have been working together. He said it reminds him of his first season at

Delaware when Trent Hurley and Trevor Sasek were dueling for the starting QB job.

“I feel confident out there,” said Rankin, a former Rutgers transfer. “Last year being behind Trent and ‘JB’ (Justin Burns) was a big help. They were both in the system for three or four years so they were able to help me.

“I’ve been around so I’ve seen a lot of different defenses. I’ve been playing college football for going into my fourth year so I’m comfortable with everything. I think I can be a good leader out there.”

Walker, who flashed the ability to run with the ball in last Friday’s scrimmage, knows the winner of the starting QB job may be the guy who makes the fewest mistakes. He said the competition with Rankin has been a good thing.

“It’s made me learn football faster than I would have learned it,” said Walker. “It showed me how much I love the game of football. Blake’s doing a great job also. It’s putting me on my ‘A’ game. It’s a friendly battle.”

New-look Hens

With Delaware starting a uniform deal with Addidas this school year, there was a little mystery about what the Hens’ football uniforms might look like.

The players themselves were probably the most curious.

“I think all of us were probably going online, looking up Addidas gear,” said center Brody Kern. “Just seeing what we’d get.”

The new-look uniforms made their first appearance on Sunday. They were still basically the same style that the Hens have always worn but with a larger ‘Delaware’ across the front and both the numbers and words in the same distinctive font.

The pants are still gold with the blue of the jerseys a little darker than in some years.

“I like the jerseys, I like the ‘Delaware’ on the front,” said Kern. “It’s something new but it keeps the old, plain look Delaware always had. I like it.”

‘Invincible’ freshman

Not surprisingly, freshman receiver Vinny Papale has seen the movie “Invincible” countless times.

The movie depicts the football story of his father, former Philadelphia receiver Vince Papale.

The funny thing is, though, none of Vinny’s new Delaware teammates have even mentioned it.

“They don’t even bring it up,” said the younger Papale. “If they ask, I’ll tell them.”

Vince Papale was his son’s position coach at Bishop Eustace (N.J.) High the last couple years. He’s been on hand for several of the Hens’ practices.

The younger Papale has seen a good amount of time at receiver as well as catching a few punts in the preseason.

“He’s basically taught me all I know about the game,” Vinny said about his dad. “He’s told me I can’t let the bad plays get in my head. I’ve just got to move on from them.”

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