Blount looks to turn DSU in right direction
Ryan’s note: When it comes to Delaware State football stories, The Mojo Wire will act as sort of the “special features” part of the DVD. I’ll try to include extra stuff that might not make it into the paper and occasionally weigh in with my own opinions on stuff…
This offseason was one of change at the top for the Delaware State football program. After a 3-8 season in 2010, the university parted ways with Coach Al Lavan, who had coached the team for seven seasons.
To try getting the program back on the winning track, DSU brought in a proven winner in Coach Kermit Blount.
Blount took the helm in Dover after previously spending 16 years at Winston-Salem State in North Carolina, where he is the winningest coach in school history and won two CIAA (Division II) conference championships.
After spending a year away from the sidelines, Blount decided to join DSU, where he is looking to turn the Hornets around after three straight losing seasons. The Hornets are preparing to open the Blount era on Sept. 3 against VMI.
Q: How have things gone? You’ve had two weeks of camp now.
KB: “This is actually practice No.14. We’re still a ways away, we’ve got about a good week and a half to get it solid. But we have a lot of work to do and I expected that coming in, I think the staff expected that, but the kids have given us great effort and that’s all we can ask for at this point.”
Q: I was here at one of the early spring practices, how has the team progressed from then to now?
KB: “It’s still a work in progress. We only had about 13 days of spring practice, so it’s hard to evaluate it at that point because everything is moving so fast. We’re installing offenses and defenses. Now it’s just a matter of making sure they understand all the concepts of the rules on offense and defense. So I would say they are progressing pretty good. As a coach, it’s not ever at the point you want it to be. But I think we’re going to be fine.”
Q: Last year the team ran more of a spread offense. How’s your offense going to be different?
KB: “We’re a little slower. We’re going to slow it down. We want to try to establish the run and then throw the football if we have to, but it just depends upon the game plan and depends upon what the defense gives us. That’s something that’s going to be determined each game.”
Q: Who are some players that have kind of jumped out at you so far? Who are some guys we should know going into the year?
KB: “I think when you look at guys like (quarterback Nick) Elko on offense and (linebacker Brandon) Harvey on defense, Darrell Brown is having a good camp, Calvin Minor is having a good camp. Some guys on offense, I thought Keith Newell has stepped his game up on the offensive line a little bit and we needed that. We’re still trying to get a few guys healthy. We got some kids that are kind of stepping it up for the program and we just hope that we can get 80 percent of the team doing that.”
Q: Jaashawn Jones (last season’s leading rusher) looked like he’s slimmed down compared to last year, what have you thought of him so far?
KB: “Has made a tremendous comeback. I’m real pleased at him. He did not get a chance to go through spring because of a shoulder injury but he’s back and he’s been getting at it a little bit, we can tell. He’s a little slimmer but he’s a little heavier.”
Q: What are you looking to see in the scrimmage tomorrow and what do you think needs to be tweaked heading into the opener?
KB: “We just have to tweak assignments. That’s got to be tweaked. We have to be assignment-sound when we head to Lexington, Va. in two weeks. And we have to be disciplined and I think we’re getting there. I’m not overly concerned about our football team being physically prepared to play, but mentally and discipline is where we have to be. We have to shore up our two-deep. We have to figure out who’s the first tier and then trickle it down to who’s the second tier. So this weekend will give us an opportunity to kind of almost get to a point to get that first tier straight.”
Q: “How’s the adjustment been for you? Coming up here, it’s your first year, how’s that been? Or have you been around long enough that you can just jump right in?
KB: “When you get my age, you’ll work anywhere. If I have to go to the middle of Alaska or the South Pole to coach football I could possibly do it. No, the adjustment is good. I think the kids have taken me in. That makes me feel really, really good that we were able to come in and establish relationships with some of these young men. That’s a great feeling to be able to do that. I think the staff has adjusted well to these young men and the young men have done the same for us. We just want to make sure that our guys know that we’re here for them and that it’s about the student-athletes, not so much about football. It’s about these guys on the field and off the field and I think that’s what we’re trying to sell them.”