Local College Notebook: UD’s Brock: Passing game getting better

 

UD sophomore Joe Walker.

UD sophomore Joe Walker.

NEWARK — Dave Brock knows Delaware’s passing problems won’t get fixed overnight.

So when he was asked about the state of the Blue Hens’ passing game last month, the Delaware football coach tried to keep things in perspective.

“I think we’re better,” said Brock. “But it’s degrees. We didn’t have to do a lot to be better.”

Certainly Blue Hen fans will be anxious to see what Delaware’s passing game looks like today when UD finishes up spring practice with the annual Blue-White game at Delaware Stadium.

The intrasquad scrimmage starts at noon and is free and open to the public. About 70 players will take part in the session, which is expected to last 60-75 minutes.

The school is also hosting its ‘Fandemonium VII’ event with free activities for families from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Last fall, Delaware’s passing game ranked last in NCAA Division I FCS at just 67.1 yards per game.

Of course, sophomore quarterback Joe Walker is at the heart of the Hens’ air attack. But Brock said it wasn’t Walker’s fault that he had to be thrown into the role of starting QB last fall.

Experience has made a difference said Brock.

“Now, every day is not Monday,” said Brock. “So, the first time he sees it isn’t the first time he sees it every time he sees it. He’s done a good job.

“Blake (Rankin) has gotten better. Pat (Kehoe) has done a really good job. I’m very comfortable.”

Brock also knows that the best thing for Delaware’s passing game is having a good running attack.

The return of Wes Hills and Jalen Randolph from injuries and the emergence of Thomas Jefferson and Kareem Williams last season give the Hens the makings of a formidable ground game.

“I feel like we have a great opportunity to really be a good passing football team,” said Brock. “The way that we’re going to be able to run the football … you just see the difference that Wes makes when he’s back. It makes a huge difference.”

Delaware’s most improved players of spring practice, as chosen by the coaching staff, are WR Vinny Papale, OT Jake Trump, DE Armen Ware, DB K.C. Hinton and Jasawn Thompson on special teams.

DSU announces ‘Hall’ class

Delaware State’s all-time volleyball kills leader, two former wrestling standouts, a track and field champion and two football defensive greats highlight the 2016 Hornets’ Athletics Hall of Fame class.

A total of 10 individuals, two posthumously, and five teams will be honored during the annual Hall of Fame ceremony on Sept. 9 at Dover Downs Hotel.

Among this year’s inductees, Cassandra Joyner is the Hornets’ all-time volleyball leader with 1,272 kills. A two-time All-MEAC first-team selection, she is the only player in team history with 1,000 kills, 800 digs and 300 blocks.

Shelton Smith was a three-time MEAC wrestling champion and all-conference selection, in addition to capturing two district titles.

Francky Francois was a two-time NCAA wrestling championship qualifier, earning an automatic tournament bid as East Region 126-pound champion in 1997 and an at-large selection in the 141-pound weight class in 1999.

Four-time CIAA vault champion Harold Robinson broke school and CIAA records to earn the conference championship as a freshman and successfully defended his title while setting new record marks in each of the next three years.

In football Joe Burton, who died in 2007, was a three-time All-MEAC first-team selection as a defensive and the league’s 1986 Defensive Player of the Year. A 1986 Division I-AA All-America, Burton is third on the Hornets’ all-time list with 19 interceptions.

Thomas Douglas was a key member of the secondary that helped the Hornets to a No. 1 ranking among all NCAA Division II teams in fewest passing yards (64.3 pg) in 1977. He went on to a career in the Canadian Football League.

Former baseball star Clarence “Jet” Jordan was an All-CIAA selection who helped lead Delaware State to two conference championships (1962-63) and batted .393 as a senior in 1964.

Also entering the Hall of Fame are late school president Dr. Jerome Holland, who was credited with navigating the school through the most challenging period in its history and convincing state leaders to provide financial support that was unprecedented at the time.

Enshrined as well will be long-time university contributors Jimmie and Tina Strong who helped raise the largest donation ever by a DSU alumni class (’65).

Among the DSU teams going into the Hall are the four-time MEAC champion DSU men’s and women’s cross country teams (1984-87) and the 1989 MEAC champion Delaware State baseball squad.

Notes

•Caesar Rodney High grad Bubba Johnson, a junior midfielder on the Mount Saint Mary’s men’s lacrosse team, was a first-team selection on the All-Northeast Conference team.

He is the Mount’s first first-team selection in three years. Johnson collected 16 goals and nine assists in 14 games this season, posting hat tricks in three games.

•The exodus from the Delaware men’s basketball program continues as once-promising freshman Chivarsky Corbett has transferred to the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Corbett was a Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie team selection two years ago before missing most of last season after blowing out his knee. He’ll have to sit out again next season after transferring.

Former Blue Hen standout Kory Holden had already transferred to South Carolina. Several other UD players have been given releases from their scholarships as Delaware waits to hire a replacement for coach Monte’ Ross.

•The Wilmington University softball team lost a pair of tough ones to be eliminated from the NCAA Division II East Regional on Thursday.

The Wildcats, coached by former CR coach Mike Shehorn, lost to top-seeded Caldwell 4-1 and to LeMoyne, 3-2 in right innings. They finish the season 31-23.

•Sussex Tech product Travis Quillin, a freshman defender on the Lynn University men’s lacrosse team, made the Sunshine State Conference’s All-Freshman team. Quillin started 12 games for Lynn, was second on the team with 14 caused turnovers and also scooped up 15 groundballs.

•Dover High’s Jared Rowley has struck out 24 batters in 28.2 innings of work with a 1-3 record as a freshman pitcher for Potomac State University.

•Grant Gillan, who was Cape Henlopen High’s goalie when the Vikings won the 2014 boys’ lacrosse state title, appeared in four games this season for Monmouth University, recording eight saves.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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