By Sean Greene 12:53pm, May 14, 2013 - Updated 5:33pm, May 14, 2013New University of Delaware football coach Dave Brock has a challenge before him that goes beyond turning around a program that lost six conference games a year ago.
Ruly Carpenter reported at the recent University of Delaware Board of Trustees meeting that the football team recently held a collective GPA of 2.354.
While not all schools publicly announce their team's average grades, that figure is significantly lower than recent numbers at national powers Ohio State (2.88 in 2012), South Carolina (2.871), Kansas (2.83), and Georgia (2.76).
Brock was hired at Delaware on January 18th, about two weeks before the start of the spring semester which ends later this month in Newark. While that means he has only had spring drills to work with the team on the field, he quickly challenged his new squad off of it.
"I just set something up to try and attempt to have the best semester GPA the team had achieved in the last five years."
"What we're trying to do is put together a program that our guys are going to understand that they are going to compete not only on the field, but in the classroom. There are different things we're going to do to try to make sure that happens, whether it's class attendance, production in the classroom, or production on the field, that's what we are looking to do."
One question that will be answered in upcoming years is the type of player Brock will bring into his program at Delaware. The former Boston College assistant says he looks at players "skill sets."
"We want guys who have a skill set on the field, obviously, they can be productive players and put us in a championship-type program. We want guys who have an academic skill set who will come to the University of Delaware and have a chance to succeed and obviously graduate and be the very best student they can be. And then we want guys who have a social skill set who have done the right things and haven't been trouble in other places or in high school."
Despite the recent low GPA, there have been several academic success stories on the Blue Hens. Delaware placed 14 players on the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Football Academic All-Conference Team, which requires a minimum 3.0 GPA for his academic career.
The most notable was senior defensive lineman Ethan Clark, who earned a spot on the Capital One/College Sports Information Directors District 2 All-Academic team, was named to the FCS Athletics Directors Association Academic All Star Team, and was a National Football Foundation Campbell Award semifinalist.
Brock admits that he will be judged on what happens between the lines in the fall saying "obviously it's a wins and losses game," but he clearly has his eyes also focused on raising the bar off the field as well.
Delaware started last season 4-0, but lost five of their six games to finish at 5-6, playing a part in the dismissal of 2003 National Championship winning head coach K.C. Keeler.
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