Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Big Chicken Lays an Egg

On the first play from scrimmage Saturday Night, Delaware Quarterback Joe Flacco looked down field and found his wide receiver Kervin Michaud for a 17-yard gain. Unfortunately for the Delaware Faithful, that play would be one of only two plays all night that would gain more than fifteen yards for the Blue Hen offense and represent one of the few bright spots in what would turn out to be on of the worst nights ever at Delaware Stadium.

Everyone just knew that the Delaware Football Team would start the 2006 campaign with a 2-0 record. Everyone just knew that there was no way that either West Chester or Albany was going to come to Delaware Stadium and give Delaware a real challenge under the lights. Everyone just knew that the Hens would clean up the second half sloppiness they showed against West Chester and, as the t-shirts say, “FINISH” the game against the Great Danes of Albany. Everyone, that is, except Bob Ford and his Albany players.

Part of my pre-game ritual is to sit down with the opposing team’s radio broadcasters and talk some shop. We go over each other’s charts and help with name pronunciations, scouting reports, and exchange information that typically is not part of the game notes released by either team’s Ministry of Information. During the game, I felt a bit embarrassed and very stupid recalling my pre-game conversation with Roger Wyland and Greg Tobben of WOFX-AM in Albany when I told them of my prediction of a 42-0 Delaware win. I, like many, did truly believe that there was no way that Delaware was going to lose to an Albany team that seemed to have so many problems, particularly with their offense, coming into the game. Shame on me.

At this point, I cannot help but wonder if many of the Delaware players and coaches had the same feelings I had going into the game. We are Delaware and they are Albany. Simple math, right?

On Monday, after the game, Head Coach KC Keeler told me that he was “embarrassed by the way the team came out and played in the first half”, and that he felt like he got their attention at halftime, but unfortunately at that point it was too late since they already let Albany think “they were Michigan.”

Coach Keeler also said that moving forward to prepare for the next opponent, Rhode Island; he was not as concerned with winning and losing as much as he was how the team comes out and plays. Okay, I can understand that, but with the Albany loss, the post-season math just became a lot more difficult. It went from simple multiplication tables to advanced algebra in an instant with one flee-flicker pass from Albany Quarterback Dan Bocanegra to Wide Receiver Josh Furnas.

If the assumption is that it will take eight wins to make the post-season, then Delaware must figure out a way to win seven ballgames out of their next nine. An extremely daunting task when you look at the remaining schedule and see the likes of New Hampshire, Richmond, James Madison et al coming down the road. It is probably silly to even be thinking about the playoffs at this point (Where is Jim Mora when you need him?), but as Delaware fans that is what we do.

The challenge for Delaware this week will be for them to re-group, re-focus, and re-define themselves; and they must do it on the road against a team, Rhode Island, that runs an offense that, like the old Wing-T, is very difficult to prepare to play against.

Oh and by the way, the following week? New Hampshire comes to town, and the last time I checked, they were a pretty good football team. So after the next two weeks, one way or the other, the math should get a bit easier.

Bill Komissaroff

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