By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The bye week came at a good time for the 4-2 Delaware Blue Hens. Hammered by injuries and on a two-game losing streak, the Blue Hens got a chance to rest and heal.
As Rhode Island comes to town Saturday for homecoming, Blue Hens head coach K.C. Keeler is anxious to see his squad get back to where they were just a few weeks ago.
“We’ve played 24 quarters of football so far. The first 18 I’ve been pretty pleased with, the last six I haven’t been,” Keeler tells KYW Newsradio. “The last six have been about as bad as I’ve seen us play football. So we need to get back on track. That same team that went down and hammered a pretty solid William and Mary team and played really well that first half against New Hampshire, that’s the team I need to get back. Physically, we’ve had some challenges with more injuries than I can remember. But we are still putting enough good football players on the field that we now need to bounce back.”
LISTEN: Matt Leon interviews K.C. Keeler
The injury conversation starts with quarterback Trent Hurley. The sophomore has been battling a foot sprain that has hampered his mobility. Keeler says he is a “gameday” decision for Saturday. If he can’t go, look for back-ups Tim Donnelly and Trevor Sasek to share time.
Keeler says the injury bug is also a big problem for his defense.
“We’re going to playing with, believe it or not, our sixth, seventh and ninth linebacker in the game this weekend. Because we’ve had injuries to six of our top nine linebackers. So we’ve gone through some things like that, but as I remind the kids, this is a pretty deep team. We do have talent even though we are shorthanded. It’s the experience, so we need to get these kids to play cleaner. Don’t make those mistakes that young players tend to make.”
Rhode Island is having a season to forget here in 2012. They are 0-6 and they have scored just 45 points in those six games. Total. Keeler wants to make sure the mistakes his team made in their last loss to a struggling Maine team (26-3 on 10/6 at home) aren’t repeated against the Rams.
“The most critical thing for us, is to play well early,” Keeler says. “We play well early, I think we’ll be fine. We don’t play well early, they get some points on the board, they start believing and that was the case in the Maine game. I really believe if we would’ve stopped them that first drive and we made a couple plays, we’d been fine. But them driving the ball down, it was a big Parents Day crowd, it really silenced everybody and they gained a lot of energy from that.”
Delaware and Rhode Island will kick-off at 3:30pm on Saturday in Newark, Delaware.
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