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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Hornets Football Season Wrap-Up 2009


Head coach Al Lavan and the Hornets football team finished second to last in the MEAC Conference. 4-7 overall, 3-5 in the MEAC, including the forfeit lost to North Carolina A&T.

The 2009 Delaware State Hornet football season has come to a close. Just like last year inconsistency was the main attraction as head coach Al Lavan and the Hornets are left searching for answers.

When the season started I was hoping the Hornets would at least improve better than last year and win at least six games. However thanks to their toughest schedule in the Lavan era, the Hornets had games they would've won but couldn't get the job done.

Plus with the lack of inconsistency on offense, the hornets couldn't get the ball into the endzone when they had the chances to score touchdown in their opponents territory and the redzone. Instead they had to settle for field goals. The Hornets quarterback Anthony Glaud was supposed to help the offense get better. Instead he was overthrowing passes, throwing interceptions and scrambling to get passes thrown. No wonder he's only thrown five touchdown passes this season. Other than that he made plays when it count the most.

The reason behind those five passing touchdowns is our wide receivers. Sure they saw some signs of life late in the season but early in the season they kept dropping pass after pass. Especially when big plays occur to keep drives alive. In fact everytime they almost made a pass the Hornets hear footsteps of the defense as they are afraid to get hit costing the Hornets to drop passes everytime. Plus their routes where getting no where fast everytime they tried to get open.

As for the running game, it was injured riddle with Jason Randall and Tahree McQueen being out for the season. The question was who was going to step up? Survey says: Jaashawn Jones. Al Lavan kept saying every year that in order to win football you have to make big plays when you run the football and Jones made a huge production for the Hornets. Jones ran over 600 yards and scoring five touchdowns. Also he had more carries and yards than Randall and McQueen combine. Look for Jones to be the starting running back for the Hornets next year.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Hornets kept giving up big yards and big plays. However, throughout most of the season they did a pretty good job picking up big time tackles, blitzing, getting sacks, and knocking passes down despite giving up 63 points to Michigan and 52 points to South Carolina State. The defense can't afford to stay on the field for a long time or they will tired themselves out.

On special teams, the return team has to do a better job of helping the Hornets offense in better field so they can scored a lot of points in opponents territory/red zone. On coverage I applaud them by putting their opponents if deep field position but they need to avoid giving up big returns. Plus when the Hornets are punting the football, always protect the kicker!!!

Last year I didn't trust Riley Flickinger kicking field goals and missing 10 of his 20 attempts. This year he improve alot better than last year by making 11 of his 18 field goal attempts. Even though he doesn't have a strong leg for making very long field goals, Riley kicked 7 for 8 from 20-29 yards, two between 30-39 yards and two between 40-49 yards. I'm been saying this for the last two years. Riley is no Peter Gardener from 2007. On some kickoffs, Riley kept kicking the ball out of bounds allowing their opponents to start their drives at the 40-yard line.

Now it's time break down the games if the 2009 Hornet Football season:

September 5 Florida A&M 21, DSU 12
The Hornets defense were no match against FAMU's running game which gained 327 yards. DSU gave up over 400 total yards on the day. Also there were mental errors on both sides of the football with penalties and turnovers that cost DSU the game. The Hornets tried to rallied but they fumbled twice deep in FAMU territory where the Hornets fumble at the FAMU 35 yard line late the in the third quarter and at FAMU 16 yard line in the fourth quarter.

September 19 (The Route 1 Rivalry)
University of Delaware 27, DSU 17
The last time these two teams meet was in the first round of the 2007 Football Championship Subdivision Playoff game where the Blue Hens, led my Joe Flacco and Omar Cuff demolished the Hornets in a blowout. This year, 2009, very different. One, this was not the same Hornets that got destroyed two years ago. Second, they came ready to play and put UD on the ropes for most of the game.

The Hornets got their feet wet in the first quarter but they were able to hold UD to just seven points by halftime including a goal line stance before the second quarter had come to a close.

In the second half, UD was able score drives that counted. while the Hornets struggle in the third quarter but late in the fourth quarter the Hornets scored a defensive touch and a offensive touchdown to keep the score as close as possible.

At the end of the game, the Hornets gained a lot of respect from UD supporters and can't wait for these two in-state schools to duke it out again on the grid-iron in 2012-2014.

September 26
DSU 20, Hampton 6
The Hornets defense dominated the Pirates all night long by forcing three interceptions (one return for a touchdown) and making big plays. On offense, the Hornets were able to finished drives with two touchdowns and a field goal.

October 10
Bethune-Cookman 9, DSU 7
"We let them hang around all game, and it came back to bite us." That was the quote that coach Al Lavan told reporters after the game. The Hornets only highlight of the game was when redshirt freshman Travis Tarpley returned the opening kickoff 85-yards to the Bethune-Cookman two-yard line. On the first play after the return, Jaashawn Jones rushed for a two-yard touchdown. That all occur early in the first quarter. Since then, Anthony Glaud was injured, the running game managed just 76 yards and the passing game continues to be a identity crisis.

This was the game the Hornets should have won on their home opener. Instead it lead to a ugly lost that made Hornets fans disappointed and frustrated.

October 17
Michigan 63, DSU 6
Instead of playing North Carolina A&T, the Hornets settle to play in the Big House of Michigan University. Even though it was historic event, the Hornets were outclassed from start to finish. Since May, there was a lot of criticism on why did the Hornets forfeit their own conference game to play Michigan for $500,000. The were some answers but there real answers was miscommunication between A&T, DSU, and Norfolk State.

October 24
Homecoming 2009
DSU 35, Morgan State 22
"Where have the Hornets offense been all season?" That was the question Hornets' broadcaster Scott Klaztin would asked as the Hornets offense scored a season high five touchdowns as the Hornets win a so-call homecoming shootout. It was a solid team effort on both sides of the football as Hornets continue to give Morgan State nightmares on homecoming games in Dover.

October 31
South Carolina State 52, DSU 10
The defending MEAC Champion Bulldogs made a whole lot treats and allowed the Hornets to fall into their tricks as the Bulldogs continue to dominated the MEAC Conference.

November 7
DSU 24, Winston-Salem State 21
It was the final meeting between these two schools as the Rams say goodbye to the MEAC Conference. The Hornets were up 24-7 at halftime but held on without scoring a point in the second as the Winston-Salem State rally felled short. It was almost a tale of two halves but Hornets defense has enough gas in the tank to pull out the victory.

November 14
Norfolk State 21, DSU 16
For the last two years, the Hornets rallied from double-digits down to secured the victory. This year, Norfolk State had the last laugh as the Hornet put up a disappointing fourth quarter performance on both sides of the ball as the Spartans score 21 straight points in the final 11:00 to get the victory. There was plenty of blame to go around in the fourth quarter due to bad play calling.

November 21
Senior Day
DSU 30, Howard 20
Both the Hornets offense and defense made big plays when it matter as DSU ended the season on a high note and left the Bison to finished dead last in the MEAC standings once again. What's worse Howard hasn't won a MEAC game in 19 straight games. How embarrassing.

So there you have it the Hornets football season has come and gone with some good memories, some bad ones, and a few ugly ones in-between. Next year, the Hornets better come up with new plays and new recruiting or there will be another inconstant year coming up in fall 2010.