Delaware State University’s spring football camp suspended

Delaware State University football coach Rod Milstead. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Like everyone else in the world of sports, Rod Milstead had no idea what would happened next with the rapidly growing concerns and cancellations due to the coronavirus.

So the Delaware State University head football coach has been preparing for anything. News has been changing by the day.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference announced the suspension of spring football camp for all of its member institutions on Monday afternoon.

With the threat of no spring camp on the horizon, Milstead already has a plan in place.

“The worst case scenario is it’s done and we’ll just have to adjust to bring our guys back in the summer,” Milstead said over the weekend. “We’ll have to get those mental reps in, like going over the playbook, in the summer before we can start up again in the fall.”

“Whatever hand we are dealt, we’ll deal with it,” Milstead added. “I’m planning for every possible scenario.”

Delaware State was originally scheduled to begin football camp on Thursday, March 25. Its spring game was supposed to be on Saturday, April 18.

That schedule was thrown into jeopardy last week when the university announced it was closing until April 5.

“We were excited and looking forward to it,” Milstead said. “But the health of our students always comes first.”

Delaware State was on spring break when the school closed.

The football team was on campus up until the first Friday of spring break, which was March 6. Milstead said the Hornets were able to perform every day of their scheduled workouts in the weight room prior to leaving for spring break.

He also applauded the school’s decision to close, effectively extending spring break into April.

“I understand why,” Milstead said. “That week of spring break you got kids going all over the place like home, Florida, California. So you don’t want all of them coming back here at the same time, just in case someone caught something somewhere else, then it spreads like wildfire on campus.”

If the Hornets could have started football camp the day school resumed, it was always going to be a challenge.

Milstead said he thought the team could only get in three or four practices in the abbreviated time frame before the spring game, considering Easter break also falls during camp.

And finally, there’s the added stress on the student-athletes of making up coursework, Milstead reminds.

“The student part always comes first,” Milstead said. “So we got to make sure we’re taking care of that.”

Delaware State is scheduled to kick off its football season, Milstead’s third year as head coach, on Saturday, Sept. 5 when it hosts Albany at 2 p.m.