Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Few Good Hen

Larry David might describe this Delaware football team as being pretty good. Pretty, pretty good. I am not sure we know how good just yet, but I think we will have a better idea after Saturday's showdown with Towson and quarterback Sean Schaefer.

So far this season, Delaware has done everything and more asked of them including last weekend's 38-9 thumping of Rhode Island; but, let's face it, Delaware fans wouldn't be Delaware fans if they weren't, deep down in places you don't like to talk about at parties, still just a tad bit nervous.

After all it was just two years ago that Delaware was coming off a playoff appearance and had started out the season 3-0 with wins over Lehigh, West Chester, and Holy Cross before heading down to Towson and losing giving the Tigers their first ever conference win. A huge upset that might have saved Towson coach Gordy Combs his job. Delaware went on to finish 6-5 that year following that up with a 5-6 record in 2006, which also included a 49-35 loss to Towson at home.

Which brings us to 2007. Yes, the Hens are 3-0, but how good has the competition been so far? The jury is certainly still out on William and Mary even though they have won their last two since dropping the opener to the Hens albeit against suspect opposition in VMI and Liberty. West Chester is, of course, a Division II school, and as much as I like Rhode Island head coach Tim Stowers, if they truly want to compete in the CAA, Rhode Island should consider a complete overhaul including scrapping that ridiculous triple-option gimmick of an offense.

Since beating Delaware back in 2005, Towson's total record to date is 12-8 just missing the playoffs last year by blowing an eleven point fourth quarter lead at home to William and Mary late in the season. A third straight win this year over Delaware would certainly go a long way to helping secure Towson a spot among the upper echelon of the CAA, and I am sure it wouldn't hurt those other Towson and Delaware battles that occur not on the field but in the living rooms of high school juniors and seniors around the region.

If Delaware is going to stop this losing streak to Towson, they are going to have to figure out a way to rattle junior quarterback Sean Schaefer who has thrown for over 700 yards and six touchdowns in two games against Delaware. A task easier said than done. Schaefer comes from a lineage of fire fighters and wants to go into the family business after college. Last week against a very strong UMass defense, Schaefer took hit after hit never once even flinching. I guess if you are willing to walk into burning buildings for a living, it may take a little more than a blitzing college football defense to get you off of your game.

Ultimately, however, the UMass defense was too much for Schaefer who was sacked four times and intercepted three times as Towson's high-powered offense smoldered against UMass losing 36-13. Expect the Delaware coaches to spend a lot of time watching that tape.

Which brings us to Saturday. I think this year's 3-0 Delaware team is much better poised to tackle Towson than the 2005 3-0 Delaware team that went down there and lost. I also think that this year's Delaware defense is so much better that it will be difficult for Sean Schaefer to carve it apart as he did last year at Delaware Stadium.

Will it be enough to halt the two-game losing streak to Towson?

One thing is for sure if Delaware does win and improves to 4-0, we will know that they are better than just pretty, pretty good.

Bill Komissaroff

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