On paper, Delaware State’s football team doesn’t have much of a chance against West Virginia at noon Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium.
But what the 0-2 Hornets do have is a head coach with experience and one versed in facing the Mountaineers’ odd stack 3-3-5 defense.
“I have a little bit of a background with that [defense] because I coached with Charlie Strong,” Delaware State coach Kenny Carter said this week. “Charlie did that a long time ago when he was at South Carolina after transitioning from Notre Dame. We have some familiarity with what they’re doing. What you do is the best you can to scheme it up.”
Carter has struggled since becoming Delaware State’s head coach. His record over three years is 1-23, but his career path has been impressive since leaving The Citadel as a linebacker.
Carter was a position coach at LSU, Pitt, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Florida, Louisville and Youngstown State before his current gig.
Strong began as the defensive coordinator at South Carolina in 1999 after serving as the defensive line coach at Notre Dame. Carter was with Strong at Louisville from 2010 to 2014.
So Carter isn’t intimidated by visiting WVU.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s just comes down to football is football. When we go against West Virginia, as far as the size of the offensive and defensive lines, there’s very little difference.
“They have fine athletes. They have the ninth-best winning percentage of a home team in the country. They have great tradition. We’re playing a really good football team. We know that. But football is football.
“We can’t control any of the variables West Virginia has in its favor. What we can control is what we do.”
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WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson expressed displeasure this week with the Mountaineer defense, especially the cornerbacks.
Team leader and safety Dravon Askew-Henry, however, took some blame, especially in West Virginia’s opener against Virginia Tech.
“First off, I apologized to my coaches and teammates,” Askew-Henry said. “I shouldn’t [have blown coverages]. Even if it was my fault or the other person’s fault, I shouldn’t do that. That just goes back to communication. That is why that happened.”
He said the Mountaineer defense as a whole played a physical game against ECU, but again stressed the need for better communication.
And of those cornerbacks?
“A lot of them, it’s their first time out there playing and getting a lot of snaps,” Askew-Henry said. “They are getting better as it goes on. I have faith in those guys.”
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Last Saturday marked the first game played at Milan Puskar Stadium for freshman linebacker Dylan Tonkery, a native of Bridgeport.
“It was everything I expected,” Tonkery said. “I loved being on the field looking around at our fans. I’m used to sitting in the stadium watching us play. It was a great experience. I loved it.”
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Gibson continues to laud the play of freshman defensive lineman Lamonte McDougle.
“I thought he played really well against Virginia Tech,” Gibson said. “Last week, I didn’t think he played as well. Obviously, he’s a freshman so he’s getting his first action. He’s a guy that we’re going to count on though. He’s going to continue to play and get better and develop. By game nine, 10, 11, 12, he’s going to be as good as anyone we have up front.”
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Mountaineer wide receiver Ka’Raun White was asked if he learned anything from his brother Kevin’s injuries as a member of the Chicago Bears. Kevin White is again out for the season.
“Yeah, football is not forever,” Ka’Raun White said. “I have to make the best of it while I’m healthy and do what I can do.”