The Hoyas welcome back 19 of 22 starters and 29 lettermen from last year's 2-7 squad. Despite the shortage of victories, Coach Scotty Glacken called 1977 one of the best offensive seasons in his eight years on the Hilltop.
The major reason for his statement, quarterback Bob Sitz, returns with two years of starting experience. Sitz threw for 945 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Senior Clayton Wagner, who caught 34 of Sitz's tosses for 551 yards and five touchdowns, will again be the principal target.
The Nos. 2-3-4 ground gainers are also back. Senior Andy Murray, Andy Blood and junior Steve Scheuerle (five touchdowns) all gained between 300 and 400 yards. The will hit the holes opened by an offensive line that features three veteran seniors and lacks only the starting right tackle from 1977.
"Our big question mark is the defense, but we will have all but one starter returning there," Glacken said. The Hoyas yielded at least 27 points on five occasions, four yards per opponent rush and 295 yards per contest.
Nine veteran defensive linemen will compete for playing time on the fiveman front, among them senior middle guard Mark Costa, 6-2 and 220; lightweight ends Dave Williams, 185, and 190-pounder Kevin Boland; and junior tackles John Boland (6-2,215) and Mark Stanton.
They will be backed up by linebackers Paul Zimmerman, who led the Hoyas in tackles the past two seasons, and starter John Mulcahy, who missed the second half of his sophomore season with a broken foot.
The secondary, indury riddled last year but with three starters back, includes junior cornerback Mark Granville-Smith, 64 Marty Garofolo and senior safeties John Davis and Bob gorence.
Glacken still must find a kicker to replace Ed Delgado, who booted seven 40-yard-plus field goals in his career.