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UD football takes spring practice on the road

Photo credit: Donna McBride (Univ. of Delaware)

A week into its spring drills, the University of Delaware football team gets on a bus this weekend for a little change of scenery.

The Blue Hens will be at Smyrna High School for its annual Downstate Day event, which includes a two-hour practice session open to the public.

It’s a crucial year for the program and head coach Dave Brock.

Brock is entering his fourth year at the helm and now has a roster full of players he’s recruited.  And with just 7 seniors departing from a year ago, most of those players are participating in spring workouts.

Brock says having such a large portion of next year’s squad working together now should make a difference in the fall.

“We’re able to practice a little bit longer.  We’re able to do a little bit more.  It’s highly, highly competitive," said Brock. "It’s really what it should look like in spring for the first time since we’ve been here.  We have the numbers to go out and really have a competitive, tough, physical spring practice.”

Brock believes that atmosphere is the first step toward ending a post-season drought that dates back to 2010.

“I think Delaware should be a playoff football team," said Brock. "And I think this year, the way the program’s been built, they players that we’ve accumulated, I don’t have any doubt in my mind that we should be a competitive playoff football team if we play like we’re capable of playing.”

During the first week of spring drills, Brock says the Hen defense has hit the ground running, while on offense, the team is focused on addressing its struggling passing game. 

Blue Hen fans can see for themselves Saturday at Downstate Day. The event, which includes football and soccer clinics for kids, runs from 10 am to 2 pm.  The team’s practice starts at noon.

"The folks downstate, like the folks everywhere in the state of Delaware, give up an awful lot of time and money and energy to support our program, and it's really just a small way that we feel like we can give back, " said Brock. "We want the people of Delaware to know we care about them as much as they care about our football program and players.

UD’s spring football drills wrap up May 7 with the team’s annual spring game at Delaware Stadium.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.