[Over the next couple of weeks, GoHens.net will be posting player blogs from training camp. Our first blog is from Senior Defensive Tackle, Siddiq Haynes who was recruitted by Delaware in 2006 from C.E. Jordan High School in Durham, NC. Siddiq was a gray-shirt recruit, meaning that he did not enroll at Delaware until the Spring of 2007. As a starter last season, Siddiq has developed into a team leader on the Blue Hen defense and is our most experienced lineman going into the 2010 season. He missed spring camp due to an injury but is back now and participating in drills. Enjoy the blog... - HensRock]
Siddiq HaynesThis past week of camp has showed a lot of promise for the defense. I finally got to practice on Tuesday from my shoulder surgery that I had on March 3rd; it was my first time hitting since last November.
The defensive line was hit with the injury bug. On Monday we had a total of 7 defensive lineman, so for me, not only for reps and to get my feet wet, I wanted to get out there so that I could help them out with a smooth rotation. Among some of the players we have injured on the d-line are, Carl Batson, Matt Hardison, Irv Titre, Jamaul Christopher, Derrick Saulsberry and Quincy Barr.
Most of these injuries are minor and we are expected to have everyone back before the first game with the exception of Irv and Carl, who expect to return by the second game. We also added two more defensive linemen who were not supposed to come until after camp, but with two injuries they were able to come in a little early.
It was real important for me to actually be on the field. Because I had to sit out the spring and the first two weeks of camp, I started to get more and more anxious and also was ready to be on the field to help my team. Chris Morales and I were the only two starters from the defensive line returning and he has been off and on with minor injuries.
It is hard to help lead the team, or more importantly the defense, when you are not on the field. It helps to be vocal and to help the young guys, but it's hard to say follow me and this is how it is supposed to be done. Up until this point, we all felt the defense was a little shaky, whether it was because we were missing a few players or for whatever reason, but we knew it was not the defense that was ready to play a season opener. We started to turn it up on Tuesday and followed it up for the rest of the week. On my return, I wanted to make it known that I was back and was ready to give 100% to help my team as a senior and a team leader.
The scrimmage yesterday (Thursday) was a very big step for the defense. Some of the players said it was a totally different defense with me out there and we really looked alive. Early on, myself and some of the other seniors told the defense that it was time to let loose and go out there and have fun. Having some young guys that needed to step up a little early was key. It is always nerve-wracking being a freshman and having to step in early because a lot of information is thrown at you in a short amount of time. Guys like Jake Guisti at cornerback stepped up, freshman DE Jamal Mtshali had a nice hit on a running back early on, and freshman safety Blair Menefee returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown.
As it was my first scrimmage or full play in over a year, I believe I had an ok day. With a couple of nice tackles and a pass deflection on Pat Devlin, some of my teammates told me that's what really got the defense amped. I want to contribute and be able to give whatever my team needs from me. It was definitely refreshing to finally get to hit again.
With most of our guys coming back this weekend from minor injuries, we should start to come together and look like the dominant defense we have to be. I have confidence that we have the guys to be be a really good defense. With 13 days left until the first game, we still have some work to do, but with 10 seniors on this side of the ball, I think we should be able to lead the defense to be pretty good.