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CAA FOOTBALL 10T/10D: DELAWARE BLUE HENS

Aug 26, 2010, 10:10 AM EST

CAA Football will chronicle all 10 of its programs each weekday leading up to the 2010 season kickoff Thursday, Sept. 2. Using the league’s preseason poll as a guide we will work our way up to the league favorite. Check back each day for information on your favorite team.

Today’s squad:  The Delaware Blue Hens

University of Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler knows all too well that an inch here, a missed kick there, or a tweaked ankle somewhere else, and the 2009 Blue Hen football season could have been much different.

And when you play in a league as competitive as the Colonial Athletic Association, every little thing is a big thing.

Delaware had 15 starters miss games to injuries during the 2009 season. Throw in the painful 16-15 loss to defending national champion Richmond in Week 3 when a chip-shot field goal was blocked in the final seconds and you realize the season had the chance to go in a much better direction than the final 6-5 slate indicates.

“We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football,” said Keeler, who welcomes back 40 letterwinners and 17 starters as he enters his ninth season at the helm. “We have talent, we have experience, we have a proven quarterback,  and I love the leadership of our seniors.  We came into last season thinking we had the kind of team that could make a playoff march but we just couldn’t hold up. I think we all would be disappointed if we weren’t in the hunt for the conference title this season.”

The Hens have improved in most every area and feature one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Payton and Unitas Award candidate Pat Devlin and one of the top defensive secondary units in the FCS  spearheaded by All-CAA safeties Anthony Bratton and Anthony Walters.

Behind Devlin, the Hens will look to improve substantially on offense as last year’s top two rushers, eight of the top nine receivers, and four offensive line starters, led by center Rob McDowell, return to the fold. Defensively, the Hens will look to the secondary and linebacker corps – which returns four starters led by sixth-year senior Matt Marcorelle –  to help bring along a unproven defensive front.

Keeler hopes to turn those tough breaks into positives and return to the NCAA post-season for the first time since 2007 when Delaware advanced all the way to the national title game.

Here is your chance at winning a mini-helmet of the CAA Football Team corresponding to the day in the 10T/10D series. Follow CAA Football on Twitter and @reply us with your answer or go to CAAFootballblog.com and hit the comment link to file your answer and keep checking back to learn if you’re the winner. Prize packs will be awarded to the first correct response!

10T/10D TRIVIA FOR TODAY: How many times did current Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler take Rowan University to the NCAA Division III playoffs during his time as a head coach there?