Hill-Eley announces the departure of Blackwell as OC


Kendal Manns, Senior Staff Reporter/Writer

Head football coach Donald Hill-Eley announced that Offensive Coordinator Joe Blackwell has been relieved of his coaching duties on Oct. 4. 

“After assessing where we are offensively after the first four games, I believe a change in direction is needed, ” Eley said. 

The Hornets struggled offensively in almost every game they played. While they did score 38 points against Bethune-Cookman University this season, they only scored 14 points in the other three games combined. The offense was shut out in two of their games against Auburn University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Their offensive numbers across the board are down from the 2021 spring season. In the spring, the Hornets were averaging 23.8 points per game and 355.8 yards of total offense. This season, through four games, they are averaging just 13 points per game and 267.8 yards of total offense. 

Eley shed some light on how Blackwell became the offensive coordinator back in 2019 in his weekly news conference on Oct 6. 

“At one time, I had hired an entire other staff. That staff backed out on us three days before the players returned. We ended up calling Coach Blackwell, and he came in.”

He attributed Blackwell’s loyalty to his stay despite the offensive woes, saying, “I think we kind of leaned on that for a long time even though the production wasn’t there because we saw the loyalty he had to us in the time of need.” 

With Blackwell’s departure, it will be a group effort from everyone on the offensive side of the ball to get better production. Eley is optimistic that a change in voice will bring different results.

They look forward to their homecoming matchup against the University of Arkansas at Pine-Bluff Golden Lions Oct. 9.