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Friday, September 19, 2014

Special Teams Very Problematic

During the first three games of Delaware State Hornets football season, I witnessed the biggest Achilles heal that head coach Kermit Blount will be facing for the remaining nine games of the regular season: Special teams play.

In the football world whether it is high school, college, or the pros, special teams will be the key to whether your team wins or lose the game. Simple right? Not exactly and the reason why is because most football fans kind of ignore special teams plays but often slowly most fans realized that special teams plays can make or break a game or a season.

Here are some of the special teams problems the Hornets are facing so far this season through three games:

1st game: DSU vs Monmouth (8/30/14)
With the Hornets leading 14-7 in the first quarter, Kamau Dumas of Monmouth University return the kickoff 84 yards to the DSU 11 yard line. That set up allowed the Hawks to scored a field goal on a 4 play, 5 yard drive to cut the Hornet lead to 14-10.

Then on the ensuring kickoff, the Hornets Mike Davis fumbled on the kickoff that was recovered by the Hawks at the DSU  that led to another short field for Monmouth that resulted in another field goal on a 5 play, 22 yard scoring drive to cut the Del State lead to 14-13.

In the opening kickoff of the 3rd quarter, the Hawks Lavon Chaney returned 52 yards to the DSU 40 yard line that resulted in a 6 play, 40 yard touchdown scoring as Monmouth climbed up their lead to 35-21.

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2nd Game DSU vs University of Delaware (9/7/14)

On the opening kickoff the Blue Hens Michael Johnson returns it 38 yards to the UD 40 yard line. This set up a 11 play, 60 yard drive that resulted in a Blue Hen touchdown to put Delaware up 7-0.

In the 2nd quarter it was Johnson again with his burst of speed returned a kickoff of 46 yards to the DSU 44 yard line that set up a 2 play, 44 yard drive that resulted in another Blue Hen touchdown to go up 14-3.

With under five minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Hornets Malcolm Williams scored a rushing touchdown to put DSU on the board, however Mitchell Ward's extra point was no good resulting just six points and not seven points.
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3rd game DSU vs Towson (9/13/14)

On the opening kickoff, Jamaal Jackson fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff, resulting in a Towson field goal to take a early 3-0 lead.

Now here's the game changer: With the Hornets holding on to a 7-6 lead, DSU punter Jeremiah McGeough recovered a very high snap from long snapper Anthony Mengoni that sailed over McGeough's head. Jeremiah tried to run and punt it away quickly rugby style, but Towson blocked the punt and the Tigers Fred Overstreet recovered the blocked punt and ran back for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 14-7. Just like that the momentum was gone and so was the lead just like that.

To make matters worse DSU gave up a 81 yard punt return for a touchdown by Derrick Joseph that resulted as the nail in the coffin. In other words Towson's lead was out of reach for the Hornets to catch up losing 21-7 .

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Special teams have really been a problem for Delaware State through three games but they have to clean up as soon as possible because DSU has some tough game ahead like Temple this Saturday, Savannah State next week and then a two game road trip starting with the defending MEAC champion Bethune-Cookman and Norfolk State, then a two game home stand with North Carolina A&T at Homecoming followed by their rival Hampton.

As you can see the Hornets can't afford to make mental mistakes on special teams like letting their opponents get into good field position, making turnovers, and missing important kicks like field goals and extra points. If coach Blount and his team don't clean it up by the time MEAC conference play arrives, then DSU will be a in for a very long season.