For the Record

Coach: Bill Greer, eighth season

Record: 12-58

Starters back: 8 on offense, 7 on defense

Past five seasons: 8-42

The Breakdown

The 2002 team graduated 26 seniors, but some of the program's depth has been replaced. The Hornets will dress 38 varsity players, and they include 14 juniors who are returning starters. The junior varsity is loaded with freshmen, who, it's hoped, will assume key varsity roles in two seasons.

The biggest help to preseason practice was the players' commitment to off-season training.

"We can do things now at a much more accelerated pace," Hornets Coach Bill Greer said. "We don't have to spend the first half of practice with conditioning."

Greer expects his line to be solid on both sides. He calls senior Josh Decker, a returning starter at offensive tackle, his best lineman, adding that he has the potential to play in college. Senior defensive tackle Marcus Jones, at 6-feet-4, 300 pounds, will be a lot for anyone to handle.

Seniors Brian Stolle and Phil Hartzer return to start at linebacker. Keep an eye on junior Gary Joshway, a 5-11 transfer from San Diego, who should play split end and the in secondary. Greer is impressed with his speed.

Great Mills's optimism will be tested the season's first half. The Hornets' first five games are against McDonough, at Thomas Stone, at Lackey, followed by home games with Huntingtown and Westlake.

"We had a bird's-eye view of the roots of the grass," Greer said, "but after we win two or three games, that's going to cement everything we did in the offseason."