Blue Hens kick off college football season with high hopes [video]

The University of Delaware football team will open the 2014 season on Saturday with a visit to Pittsburgh.

“I think we should be able to be a playoff team,” was head coach Dave Brock’s outlook at the start of his second season at the helm of the Blue Hens football team..

The Hens missed the playoffs in 2013 after posting a 7-5 record and going 4-4 in conference games.

“I’d probably give myself a ‘D,'” Brock said of his performance as coach last year. “I think we did a lot of good things, I think we made some strides, but overall, when Delaware is not in the playoffs, it’s not good enough.”

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The team missed some chances to win games late in the season that would have earned them a playoff spot. Brock said not repeating that mistake has been a focus since the end of the last season.

“One of the things we’ve stressed the entire off season with the players, the coaching staff, everybody involved with the program, is the ability to finish,” he explained.

“The biggest opportunity for improvement over last year comes on the defensive side of the ball,” Brock continued. “We have to coach it better, we have to play better as a collection of athletes, and we have to put ourselves in a position to do a better job there within the program, which I think we will.”

The Hens were ranked number six in the pre-season CAA poll, but Brock said he’s more concerned about his own expectations than those of people outside the program.

“We set our own bar. We set our own expectations. We’re not going to shy away from them, we want to be a playoff team,” he said. “I think we should be able to be a playoff team, and that’s what we’re going to gun for.”

After beginning their season on the road at Pitt on Saturday, the Hens’ home opener in Newark will be against the Delaware State Hornets.

“I hope it is a rivalry, I hope the crowd is better than last year,” Brock said. “I hope there’s a lot of excitement around the game.” 

The game, dubbed the “Route One Rivalry,” has been played at UD since 2009, but the schedule of the in-state rivalry game has not been determined past 2014.

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