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Virginia Tech football: A closer look at the Delaware Blue Hens

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The Hokies meet Delaware for the first time ever on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Delaware at Wake Forest
Delaware Blue Hens
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies return home to Lane Stadium this weekend to host the Delaware Blue Hens. Both teams enter the 3:30 pm matchup with identical 1-0 records. The Hokies, of course, took down West Virginia 31-24 in one of the better games of college football’s opening weekend.

Delaware, an FCS school and a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, defeated state rival Delaware State last Thursday.

The Blue Hens are probably best known for producing a pair of well-known NFL quarterbacks in Rich Gannon and Joe Flacco. Gannon was a former NFL MVP, while Flacco led his Baltimore Ravens to Super Bowl title a few years back.

However, Delaware has quite a history of success on the gridiron, winning six FCS (Division 1-AA) national titles. Unfortunately, that success hasn’t followed them in recent years as the Blue Hens last made the playoffs in 2010.

That lack of success cost former head coach, Dave Brock, his job after four seasons in charge.

Enter a coach who Virginia Tech fans may be familiar with: Danny Rocco.

Rocco, who coached linebackers at the University of Virginia for five seasons from 2001-2005, was the head coach at Liberty from 2006-2011 before taking over at Richmond from 2012-2016. So, Rocco is quite familiar with the Commonwealth and the Hokies.

His defensive coordinator, Chris Cosh, played for the Hokies in the late 70s. And linebackers coach Clint Sintim was a standout at UVA from 2005-2008.

This will be the first meeting of all-time between the two schools. Delaware does have a recent history of playing ACC schools. The Blue Hens played Pitt in 2014, North Carolina in 2015 and Wake Forest last season, losing all three games.

The Hokies revealed their uniform combination this week and it had fans buzzing.

Speaking of uniforms, it would be easy for casual fans who tune into the game to mistake Delaware for Michigan due to the similarities between the helmets of the two teams. A former Michigan player, David Nelson, came to Delaware as head coach in the 50s, adopted the helmet design and it’s stuck with the Blue Hens ever since. Nelson spent 15 years as head coach of Delaware and 34 years as the athletic director, so it’s easy to see why Delaware has stayed true to the “Michigan helmet.”

This game should be fun for the Hokies. A 3:30 kickoff means Lane Stadium will be loud and rocking. Expect the Hokies to carry that energy onto the field in a big way.