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New coach believes Hornets close to winning
Blount sets out to get DSU headed ‘in the right direction’
Delaware State University’s football team is coming off of three straight losing seasons and has a new head coach.
But after being picked to finish eighth out of 11 teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll, that new coach – Kermit Blount – isn’t dwelling on wins and losses.
“I’m just trying to aim the program in the right direction and get it back on track,” said Blount, who went 91-87-3 at Winston-Salem State over 16 seasons. “And I don’t think we’re too far off of being on track. … Just put the discipline back to where it has to be and make it a program the kids want to be attracted to.”
South Carolina State nipped Bethune-Cookman for the top spot in the poll. S.C. State has won at least a share of the last four conference titles.
DSU went 3-8 last season, 2-6 in the MEAC. But Blount, one of five new coaches in the conference, is expecting big things from several veterans, including junior wide receiver Justin Wilson, who was named the MEAC preseason offensive player of the year and first-team all-conference.
Bethune-Cookman linebacker Ryan Lewis was selected as the defensive player of the year.
Last season, Wilson was the first player to lead the MEAC in receptions (59), receiving yards (937) and touchdown catches (11) in the same year. Wilson enters the season with 68 career receptions for 1,037 yards and 11 TDs.
Senior running back Jaashawn Jones was also named to the MEAC’s preseason first team after rushing for 724 yards and four TDs last season. Junior tight end Ryan Langdon was named to the second team.
While no Hornets were named to the first or second teams on defense, DSU does return a strong duo in senior lineman Darrell Brown and senior linebacker Brandon Harvey.
“We conducted [our spring] camp as if everyone is fighting for starting jobs,” Blount said. “Of course, guys will step up throughout the spring, but everything will be up for grabs come [August]. I’ve been particularly pleased with our athleticism, while our biggest concern is developing depth on both sides of the ball, especially along the lines.”
The other new MEAC coaches are Rod Broadway (North Carolina A&T), Gary Harrell (Howard), Steve Davenport (Savannah State) and Henry Frazier (North Carolina Central). Their teams, along with DSU, combined to go just 9-46 last season.
“I think it adds some excitement. It brings some energy to the league, because everybody is up in arms and want to see what those guys are going to do,” Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins said.
Savannah State and North Carolina Central officially join the MEAC this fall, but teams will continue to play an eight-game conference schedule. Delaware State will not match up against Bethune-Cookman and Savannah State this fall.
Blount will begin his first preseason camp Aug. 8. The Hornets kick off the season on Sept. 3 at Virginia Military Institute before hosting Shaw University on Sept. 10.
By Mike Finney, The News Journal/Delaware Online