Delaware game plan changes with Brock as football coach

It's kind of like going for it on fourth down in your team's territory and running a reverse.

The payoff can be a first down which makes you look great, even smarter than others.

If you come up short, though, you leave yourself open to second-guessing.

New University of Delaware athletic director Eric Ziady has made such a bold play call by hiring Rutgers offensive coordinator Dave Brock to be only the Blue Hens' fifth head football coach in the last 74 years.

The 45-year-old Brock, introduced on Friday as the school's new head coach, appears ready to take over a program and be successful. He's had 24 seasons on the sidelines to prepare himself.

But he has never been a head coach nor does he have a Delaware pedigree as either a player or assistant coach.

And that's where a problem could fact in for Ziady.

Win big and the tough Blue Hens fans will love Brock. Anything less and people will want to know why Ziady tried to find the next best thing in coaching and not follow a generally tried and true path to success - the known quantity of past head coaches.

Delaware's tradition-rich program has had only nine losing seasons over the last 70 years, and the last two Blue Hens head coaches bled the blue and gold. Tubby Raymond was a Blue Hens assistant before his long run as head coach (1966-2001), which included three national championship seasons. His former linebacker K.C. Keeler then succeeded him and averaged eight wins a season over 11 years, winning the 2003 FCS (then NCAA Division I-AA) national title and guiding the program to two appearances in the national final.

Brock comes highly recommended and respected in 24 seasons as an assistant coach, but he only knows the Blue Hens program from afar. He was an assistant for Hofstra, Delaware's former CAA Football rival, in 1995 and from 1997-2001.

Although Delaware underwent a national search for a head coach after Keeler's firing on Jan. 7 - attracting over 60 inquiries from coaches - Ziady apparently didn't need to cast his fishing pole into deep waters. As a former assistant athletic director at Boston College, Ziady worked alongside Brock, who was the Eagles' tight ends coach from 2009-11, and he clearly had his eye on Brock from the start.

"In the end, I ended up where I started, Dave Brock," Ziady said. "He's the first coach I called last week to gauge his interest in this position because I believe strongly he is a great fit for this athletic department and this football program.

"He's disciplined and passionate, dynamic and energetic, knowledgeable and experienced. He will recruit excellent students and athletes to Delaware, and he'll play an exciting brand of football with an aggressive approach."

Brock may step right in and win immediately. In fact, he probably should. He inherits a veteran, talent-filled team, albeit one that began this past season with four straight wins before falling off to a 5-6 finish amid a myriad of injuries, especially on the defensive line and at linebacker, and lost opportunities in the fourth quarter of games.

He's considered to be organized with a strong offensive mind and recruiting abilities. He's considered to be, well, a winner. Which is what Delaware football is all about.

"Coach Keeler did a great job. I'm confident that we have the building blocks in place to win in 2013, and forward," Brock said.

"Our football team will carry the motto, which I've already told 'em: 'Together we will.'"

That motto shouldn't just be about Delaware and Brock, it's the link for Ziady and Brock. First down, here they come.