What to watch for this football season

UD Football vs. Del State - 8/12/19 - Louis Mason
Louis Mason /THE REVIEW
The Blue Hens defeat Delaware State on August 29, 2019.

Staff Reporter

With the Blue Hens just getting underway with a 31-13 win Thursday night against the Delaware State Hornets, it’s time to talk about something to look for this Blue Hen football season.

1. Will Pat Kehoe have a third year jump or slump?

Kehoe played well during his first full season as the Blue Hens quarterback played, racking up a 120.60 passer rating, 2,075 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. Now in his second season as the starting quarterback, Kehoe should be able to improve on those numbers. The biggest thing Kehoe should improve on is his completion rate. Last season Kehoe completed 49.33 percent of his passes, throwing nine interceptions along the way. His injuries probably played a factor in his low completion percentage. If the Blue Hens want to have a great season, it will depend on whether Kehoe can have that third year jump.

2. Who will step up on offense?

With wide receivers Joe Walker and Vinny Papale and tight end Charles Scarff all graduating, the offense has a big hole. But in the first game of the season, that hole was not as big as some thought. Chichi Amachi, Thyrick Pitts and Bryce De Maille combined for 12 catches and 153 yards. If the Blue Hens can get this production from the three of them, the offense should be in good hands this season.

3. How will the new look running back group perform?

The Blue Hens’ running game looked strong on Thursday night with Will Knight and DeJoun Lee leading the way with 125 yards on 13 rushes. Their game plan on the ground will look a little different this year without Kani Kane who was their power running back. Now without Kane the Blue Hens will probably rely on the speed of Knight and Lee. It does seem like Andre Robinson will be that “between the tackles” runner. But will he have that same powerful running style that Kane had to tire out a defense?

UD Football vs. Del. State - 8/29/19 - Louis Mason
Louis Mason /THE REVIEW
The Blue Hens defeat Delaware State on August 29, 2019.

4. Who will step up on defense?

There were some key players on defense that graduated last season like linebacker Troy Reeder, defensive back Nasir Adderley and linebacker Charles Bell who had a huge impact on the team with their play. There are many players that have the ability to step up and make a difference. Sophomores such as linebacker Kedrick Whitehead, defensive back Justis Henley, linebacker Johnny Buchanan and linebacker Drew Nickles all stepped up Thursday night, combining for 26 tackles. If the defense as a whole steps up, the team will go a long way.

One of the main things that will either make or break the defense this year is its run defense. Last season, the Blue Hens gave up 151.6 rushing yards-per-game in CAA competition, which was ranked 7th in the conference. The front seven of the defense has to improve for the Blue Hens to have a successful season.

This Blue Hens team has the talent and capability of making this 2019 season a great one. It will take a collective effort from everybody to see the team improve from its 7-5 record.

The Blue Hens will take on Rhode Island, Saturday, Sept. 7.

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