By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Delaware Blue Hens finished up the 2011 campaign with a 7-4 record, but they just missed the playoffs.  As they wind their way through spring workouts here in 2012, head coach K.C. Keeler says they haven’t forgotten the disappointment of being left out of the postseason mix.

“There’s a little bit of an edge,” Keeler says.  “We thought we were a playoff team last season, we were playing as well as anyone at the end of the season.  So we were a little disappointed not to get in and that’s the goal of this program is to get into the playoffs.  Because we have learned from past experiences, when we get into the playoffs we’re usually pretty tough and we can make a run.  We’ve done that three times in the last ten years, taken it to a national championship game.”

Delaware has a lot of experienced skill position talent on the roster  – the headliner being running back Andrew Pierce, who will be a junior in the fall and who ran for 1,279 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011.

The biggest question mark right now, Keeler says, is who will emerge in the trenches.

“In essence, we lost six senior offensive lineman.  So we’re feeling that right now.  I do think there is enough young talent, but the coordination of that whole thing takes some time.  On the defensive side, same thing.  We lost some good players but more numbers than anything else.  So right now we’re in the process of trying to work through some of that.  Again, I think by the time we open up in September I think we’ll be okay.  But it’s definitely a long process right now.”

Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with K.C. Keeler:

Keeler says a lot of the seeds for success for Delaware are planted during these spring practices.

“We want to be a physical team.  We want to be a team that plays with great intensity.  We use the word around here relentless, we want to be a relentless team.  There’s a lot of chemistry that takes place now.  You’re going to start to form who the captains are going to be.”

Delaware wraps up spring practice with their annual spring game on April 20th.

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