Only way to go is up: Hornet players feeling positive during scrimmage

DOVER — There’s a familiar refrain around Delaware State University’s preseason football camp.

All the Hornets can do is improve on last season after a 0-11 record.

“There’s only one way to go from last year,” said junior running back Brycen Alleyne. “The only way we can go is up. We’re on the up right now. Last year was last year, we’re definitely a different team than last year.”

“The only way we can go is up,” agreed sophomore quarterback Keenan Black. “We’re not focused on last year. The intensity has changed from last year and it’s like night and day. We’re moving up and trying to get better every day.”

“All we can do is go up,” Black added. “That’s what we got. That’s it.”

That’s the type of cautious optimism highlighting the camp so far. The Hornets know last year was the worst case scenario and they think they have the pieces in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The Hornets held their first of two scrimmages on Saturday. It featured about 100 plays mimicking game situations. (DSU sports information)

They held their first of two scrimmages on Saturday. It featured about 100 plays mimicking game situations.

Alleyne was one of the standout players on offense, as Black and freshman Jack McDaniels split the majority of the snaps. Linebacker Brian Cavicante intercepted a pass for a would-be touchdown and defensive lineman Daman Atwater-Stephens scored on a strip-sack to lead the defense.

Like the last two seasons, the Hornets are loaded with underclassmen. There are only eight seniors on the roster.

Practically all of the players on the roster were recruited to Delaware State by third-year coach Kenny Carter.

“We had two good years of recruiting and got some players who can play in our league,” Carter said. “Everything that we wanted to do when we built this thing, we’ve finally gotten to that point. Now we got to go play every day and get better every day to bring everything together. Every day is about continuing to build to get us where we need to be.”

With such a young team over the last two years, the Hornets have taken their fair share of lumps.

Carter has only one victory in his career as a head coach. But the hope is this is the year where it all changes.

“It’s a process and it was a process when we took over,” Carter said. “It was going to take time to build this. Some people are patient and some people aren’t, that’s football. The ultimate goal is to win games and we didn’t win any games. But we knew what the process was. We trust the process and we’re looking forward to playing each game.”

Alleyne has witnessed that firsthand.

He was one of the first recruits brought in to turn around the program under Carter. He was selected as a Preseason All-MEAC Third team player prior to the season.

But the Hornets were picked to finish last in the conference in the preseason poll by coaches and sports information directors.

Based on their record over the last two years that prediction is fair. But the players think they can prove that ranking wrong.

“It wasn’t going to happen overnight,” Alleyne said. “Obviously the first two years were what they were. Nothing happens overnight. I feel like this year will be our year.”

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