Monday, August 13, 2007

High Hopes

This team is going to be better.

It was definitely a bit of a culture shock for me to be back in Delaware Stadium on Saturday for the scrimmage after being in Vietnam for about a month. From the streets and markets of Hanoi and Saigon and the beaches of Nha Trang and Hoi An back to the world of Rocket Screens, Belly Reads, and Cover 2s. I loved it!

I am not usually much a "practice" or "scrimmage" guy. I find that, more than any other sport, it is very difficult for me to evaluate what I see on a practice field or during a scrimmage and project what it might mean for a football team against real and live opponents.

That being said, the 2007 University of Delaware Football team will be better than last year's model. It has to be. Right?

This past Saturday's scrimmage was my first chance to see the team at all since the end of last season. (Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to see any of the Spring practices or the Spring Game.)

It is still obviously very very early, but there seems to be a different aura surrounding the team now as opposed to this time last year. The first thing I noticed was that there were plenty of live bodies available to play on Saturday. That is certainly a good thing.

It is going to be fun to watch the relationships between Quarterback Joe Flacco and his various receivers develop. It looked to me that Wide Receiver Mark Mackey may have grown a few inches, and I have a feeling that Tight End Robbie Agnone will step up and fill the shoes of Ben Patrick without missing a beat.

On defense, I was disappointed that neither Defensive Ends Matt Marcorelle or Notre Dame transfer Ronald Talley participated, but was assured by Head Coach KC Keeler afterward that it was strictly precautionary and that both are fine.

I was told by a few who had been to previous practices that Talley looks like a real difference maker and combined with a healthy Marcorelle could make for an extremely deadly combination (for opposing QBs).

After the scrimmage I spoke to Safeties Charles Graves and Anthony Bratton both true sophomores who will be expected to take on much more responsibility this year after getting their feet wet last year. They both seem to understand the challenge ahead of them and more importantly seem to relish it.

Expectations are always high this time of year on South College Ave. After all this is Delaware Football. But coming off a losing season and combined 11-11 record with zero playoff games for the last two years, the hopes may even be a bit higher than usual .

Is that even possible?

Bill Komissaroff

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