How much of a difference will the new coach make? Well, in 11 seasons at Liberty and then Richmond, Danny Rocco's teams won at least eight games eight times. And they never won fewer than six. In the last 12 seasons, the Blue Hens have won more than seven twice. The last time was 2010. So at some point, he should be able to make some kind of difference. But maybe just not right away. And they don't play either Elon or Rhode Island.
How much will the loss of running back Wes Hill to academic suspension hurt? He missed much of last year due to injuries but still led the team (4-7) with 788 yards on 88 carries (8.3 average). Now they may have to do it by committee. Thomas Jefferson, a former CAA Rookie of the Year, and Kareem Williams, who redshirted last season, are next in line. There's also Kani Kane, who spent the last two years at Lackawanna College in Scranton.
Are they going to throw the ball better? That has been a weakness the last two seasons. Joe Walker, who has been the starting quarterback and is No. 1 on the depth chart, is an athlete who completed 48 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and six interceptions. He's a Philly guy from Martin Luther King High. J.P. Caruso, the backup at Appalachian State the last two seasons, is a graduate transfer who could win the job. Word is Rocco might even use both players early before making a permanent decision. Through the years, Delaware has usually been a run-first offense, even when it had bigger-time QBs. Last year, Richmond, with Kyle Lauletta (Downingtown East), threw for nearly 4,000 yards and rushed for about half that.
Can the defense be as good as the potential suggests? Delaware has 10 starters back. One, Nasir Adderly (Great Valley), is making the move from cornerback to safety coming off a big sophomore season. He also is an outstanding kick returner. Rocco is making the switch from 4-3 to 3-4, so some people will find themselves in a little different position. Again, it's a transition. So until it happens, you never really know for sure.
How much of an impact can a new punter have? Two years ago, Nick Pritchard was at Maryland, where he was the only true freshman to start every game for the Terps. Then there was a coaching change, and he didn't play at all last season. Now, he's in Newark. Last year, Will Stephenson came in as a graduate transfer and averaged 41 yards a punt, three more than Pritchard's average in 2015. Backup Frank Raggo, a junior who did double-duty in high school, converted eight of 11 field goals with a long of 43.