Local college notebook: Blue Hens are used to Rocco in second year

Redshirt freshman QB Nolan Henderson, the former Smyrna High All-Stater, throws pass as Delaware opened spring football practice on Tuesday. (Delaware sports information/Jordan Burgess)

A year ago, just about everything at Delaware was new for Danny Rocco.

The former Richmond football head coach was a veteran of the coaching ranks.

But he had to learn a whole new roster of players in his first season with the Blue Hens, not to mention a whole new program.

As he started spring practice for the second time at Delaware this week, Rocco admits he’s a little more comfortable.

Coach Danny Rocco. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

“It certainly feels different, it certainly feels better,” said Rocco. “I think we’ve been together long enough that they understand the expectations. The student-athletes recognize and understand the language and the terminology that we use on a daily basis.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing a product that looks like we have a good idea of what we’re doing — and not like we’re doing something for the first time.”

One thing Rocco said he has changed is the Hens’ schedule this spring.

Since Delaware has a winter session, it also has a later spring break than most schools. Last year Rocco held spring practice after the break and ended up with a spring game on May 6.

“Last year we were the last team in the country to play a spring game,” said Rocco. “And I just didn’t like finishing up that late in the year. There’s a lot of reasons you won’t want to be last when it comes to wrapping up your spring.”

So this year, Delaware will have two weeks of practice — which started on Tuesday. The Hens will then have off for spring break before coming back for three more weeks of practice.

“For the first two weeks I want to truly do an in-depth evaluation of our roster,” said Rocco. “We have a lot of young players that need the opportunity to grow and develop and we have a lot of guys stepping into new roles. I want to give them an opportunity to show us where they’re at and what they can do.

“Then over spring break, our staff will take a step back, kind of reassess where we’re at and start honing in on some real targets for the second half of spring ball.”

Smyrna’s Price honored again

Smyrna High grad Taylor Price finished up her basketball career at Eastern University by being named to the All-MAC Freedom second team.

A former MAC Freedom Co-Rookie of the Year, it was the fourth conference honor of her career.

Price finished eighth on the program’s all-time scoring list and second in games started with 102. As a senior, Price averaged 13 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Making a decision

Several downstate high school athletes have announced their college choices for next year.

Caesar Rodney High running back Julian Trammell signed with NCAA Division II West Chester while his Riders’ football teammates, Jared Wagenhoffer (quarterback), Josh Windsor (linebacker) and Bailey DeAtley (tight end), are all headed to Wesley.

Another CR athlete, soccer player Kimmy Glasser, signed with LIU-Brooklyn.

At Polytech High, Panthers planning to play in college include Cecilia Carter, Elizabethtown (field Hockey, lacrosse), Korey Hendricks, Wesley (baseball) and Madison Knight, Lynchburg (lacrosse).

Notes

• Delaware State began its first spring football practice under new head coach Rod Milstead this week. The Hornets are planning a spring game for April 14.

Former DSU assistant Eric Day, who coached with Al Lavan from 2004-06, has returned to Dover as Milstead’s offensive coordinator.

• Wesley College will start its non-contact spring football practice on Sunday. The Wolverines will practice Sunday, Monday and Wednesday.

• NFL scouts will be in the state twice next week to check out local college players. Delaware’s pro day is scheduled for Monday with Wesley’s pro day on Friday.

Wolverine offensive lineman Matt Gono figures to draw a lot of attention.

• Milford grad Nia Bowe, a freshman on the Coppin State softball team, was recently named the MEAC Rookie of the Week. She is betting a team-best .433 with 14 RBI and six extra-base hits.

• Juwan Gray (Polytech) and his San Diego men’s basketball teammates have reached the second round of the Collegeinsider.com Tournament. The sophomore forward netted a career-high 18 points in a win at San Francisco two games ago.

• Former Polytech softball standout Shania Reed, a junior at Western Carolina, is second on the team in on-base percentage (.373) with a homerun and six RBI.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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