DSU Football Notebook: Carter doesn’t see matchup with Hens as rivalry

 

DSU football coach Kenny Carter

DSU football coach Kenny Carter

DOVER — The Route 1 Rivalry is a rivalry in name only.

At least that’s the way Kenny Carter sees it.

The second-year Delaware State football coach will put his Hornets up against Delaware for the first time on Thursday night when the two teams open the season with a 7 p.m. matchup at Delaware Stadium.

The state’s only two FCS grid programs haven’t met since 2014, when the Blue Hens won 27-9 to improve to 6-0 all-time against DSU.

“Me personally, I’ve been a part of some of the strongest rivalries in the history of college football,” Carter said in a conference call with reporters. “I don’t really see this as a rivalry because a rivalry is a game that both teams win and that hasn’t happened here yet. Until it gets to that point, we’re not going to have that kind of situation.

“And Coach (Dave) Brock has told me personally that Delaware will never come down here to play,” said Carter, referring to the fourth-year UD coach. “So you can’t really have a rivalry game — or look at it that way — when you have those things that are in play.”

In the big picture, Carter added, DelState’s main focus is getting ready for its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule.

“We have a lot of really good teams in our conference,” he said. “When we recruit, we recruit to try to get guys to go win our conference. … Going to play Delaware, that’s our first opponent and we’ll go play our first opponent.”

Along with Carter, taking on the Blue Hens will be a new experience for many of DSU’s players as well.

The Hornets have only 29 players back from last year’s 1-10 squad. The contingent of 46 newcomers includes 42 freshmen.

But Carter said he likes what he’s seen from his squad so far in preseason. The Hornets tried to run a lot of plays in their two preseason scrimmages.

“We got a lot of work in,” said Carter. “We got a chance to play the game — just play football. That’s the only way you’re going to get better.

“You can practice and do individual (drills) all you want to. But until you actually play the game at game speed, you don’t really know what you’ve got in your players. We were able to find out exactly where we stand and we feel pretty good about it.”

Who DSU’s starting quarterback is probably won’t be known until the Hornets’ offense takes the field for the first time on Thursday night. It could be either returning sophomore Kobie Lain or California junior-college transfer Daniel Epperson.

Carter has said both QBs will see action in the game. DelState also has senior Gilbert Rivera available.

“Right now, it’s Kobie and Dan or Dan and Kobie at starting quarterback,” Carter said. “They are evenly matched and making equal progress in the offense and their decision-making. I’m comfortable with either guy on the field.”

DelState ranked only 119th nationally in rushing offense at 80.1 yards per game last fall. On the other hand, Delaware was 17th at stopping the run, giving up just 123.5 yards per contest.

Concord High grad Brycen Allen, a sophomore, is the Hornets’ top running back but Carter has also been impressed with Mike Waters, a freshman from Philadelphia, who scored 51 touchdowns and ran for almost 3,000 yards in his high school career.

DelState is young up front. Of its top 10 offensive linemen, four are freshmen and three more are sophomores.

Still, Carter thinks the two freshmen starting on the right side, tackle Joshua Fala (6-foot-7, 358 pounds) and guard Cade Pedro (6-5, 295), have a great deal of potential.

“They’re athletic, they’re big, they’re strong,” said Carter. “They’re going to make mistakes. But, with the physical talent that they have, when they’re on, it’s going to be really fun to watch.”

Carter feels confident that this group of Hornets is going to grow into a good football team. It’s just a question of when.

He knows Thursday’s season opener is only the first step in the process.

“We feel good about our guys,” said Carter. “I think we’ve got a really good football team. We’re young, we’re going to make mistakes — it happens with young teams.

“It’s going to be fun to watch us play.”

Extra points

DelState has two sets of twins on its roster: Caesar Rodney High grads Sika and Tecumseh Randolph along with Tarron and Keyjuan Selby from St. Georges. … The Hornets also have their first two Hawaiians on the team in receiver Fatu Sua-Godinet and Pedro (OL). The two Hawaii natives both played at Kamehameha High. … DelState has lost its last eight games against non-MEAC FCS opponents since beating Virginia Military in 2012. … The Hornets will be wearing white helmets this season for the first time.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.