Milstead ready to bring new era to DSU football

Rod Milstead

Delaware State University is a few days away from opening up football camp.

And first-year coach Rod Milstead is still pinching himself.

“Everyday I’m living a dream,” Milstead said from MEAC Media Day on Friday. “I say that quite frequently. I’m super thrilled and looking forward to getting started.”

Indeed it is a new era at DSU.

Milstead returned to his alma mater in February when he was announced as the new head coach. He replaced Kenny Carter whose contract was not renewed at the end of last season.

Delaware State went 2-9 last year and only won three games in Carter’s three years as head coach.

MEAC coaches and media members are expecting more of the same as Milstead takes over the rebuilding Hornets.

As expected, the Hornets were picked to come in 10th of 10 teams in the MEAC preseason poll done at Media Day. North Carolina A&T was selected as the preseason favorite.

“Based on the program’s struggles in recent years, we have to earn the respect of our conference foes once again,” said Milstead. “The only way to do that is through hard work, preparation and producing on the field. If nothing else, the poll should motivate us to commit the effort to return our once proud program to respectability.”

The rebuilding effort is personal to Milstead.

He was a 1992 graduate of Delaware State where he was an All-American. He ended up being selected in the fifth round of the 1992 NFL Draft.

Milstead said throughout his NFL career, which lasted until 2000, and coaching career he always wanted to be Delaware State’s head coach.

“The university gave me so much,” Milstead said. “I made a promise to myself that I would live a lifetime of trying to give back to the students and the university itself for giving me the opportunities that I was given.”

There are some pieces to build around headed into camp.

Delaware State had four players named to All-MEAC Preseason Teams at Media Day. Three of which were selected to the first team.

Two were on defensive in senior defensive back Keyjuan Selby and junior linebacker Brian Cavicante. Junior punter Fidel Romo-Martinez was also on the first team.

Brycen Alleyne was the lone offensive player honored from Delaware State. The senior running back was named to the second team.

“This year there’s a bunch of guys that are believing in what coach Milstead is doing,” Selby said. “We’re going to trust the process and hopefully have a great season. You just got to be willing no matter what hand you’re dealt to keep going. You have do it for the reason why you’re at DSU.”

Milstead said he has seen great progress from when he first took over until now.

He first met with the team on Feb. 1 which is when he laid out his vision for the future of the program.

“I told them we’re going to do things a little different,” Milstead said. “Not saying that anything they were doing was wrong but we’re going to go back to the traditional style of coaching and the tradition style of preparation. We had to set up some guidelines and some policies and procedures of how we’re going to carry out our tasks.”

“Our guys bought into it,” he added. “I preached the concept of family each and everyday. So far I have see significant changes in our students from February to now.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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