Dover, Del. (Aug. 9, 2011) --- Despite more than 30 years of coaching, Delaware State University's new defensive coordinator Mike Ketchum says he feels like a rookie as he takes on the challenge of rebuilding the Hornet defense this season.
Ketchum was tapped by new DSU head coach Kermit Blount to direct the Hornet defense, which ranked last in the MEAC in total defense (384.5 ypg), eighth in rush defense (196.9 ypg) and eighth in pass defense (188.1 ypg) last season.
In addition, the Hornets must replace their top 2010 defensive player, tackle Andre Carrol, currently a member of the NFL's Cleveland Browns.
Ketchum served five years as Blount's defensive coordinator when the two men were at Winston-Salem State University. Among their accomplishments at WSSU was the development of lineman William Hayes, now a member of the NFL's Tennessee Titans. Hayes was selected in the fourth round, 103rd overall pick, by the Titans in the 2008 NFL draft.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with these young men at Delaware State," said Ketchum. "The players really embraced the changes we made in the spring, and have returned with a positive attitude this summer. We have a long way to go, but the guys are gaining confidence each day."
Ketchum says despite the 2010 numbers, he believes there's plenty of talent on the 2011 Hornet defense.
"We have some solid veterans at linebacker, a couple of exciting newcomers along the front line and a lot of athleticism in the secondary," Ketchum said.
The linebacking corps is led by middle man Brandon Harvey (sr.), who is tops among returning Hornets with 83 tackles last season. Harvey was 10th in the MEAC at 7.5 tackles per-game in 2010. Outside backer Quentin Ferguson (sr.) was fourth on the team with 56 tackles, including 8.5 backfield stops, last year.
Along the front line, Ketchum has been impressed by veterans Darrell Brown (sr.), Olusegun Ayanbiola (jr.) and Aaron Richardson (jr.), along with newcomers Jamal Douglass (fr.) and Rodney Gunter (so.).
The secondary is led by returning safeties Calvin Miner (jr.) and Tavis Tabb (sr.).
"Our defense is a work in progress, but we have the talent to be an effective unit this season," Ketchum said.
The Hornets will return to the practice field on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
Delaware State will kick off the 2011 campaign on Sep. 3 at Virginia Military Institute (VMI). Game time is 1:30 p.m. in Lexington, Va.
Hornets will play their home opener the following Saturday (Sep. 10) against Shaw University. Kickoff is 6:00 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
The Hornets will hold their Media/Meet The Team Day on Sun., Aug. 21 at Alumni Stadium. During the 6:00 p.m. event, fans are invited to greet, and take pictures with, the players and coaches.