Coach Ted Vactor, who took over midway through last season, was recently wished good luck for 1978. His reply: "Thanks, I'll need it."
Vactor was not even sure exactly which, if any, familiar faces would be around preceding registration last week and pending several academic probation cases among last year's potential returnees.
"These guys have got to learn that they are first students, then athletes," added the former Washington Redskins defensive back.
Thirteen of 22 starters are due back from the 1977 edition of the Panthers, which finished 5-5.
UDC's trouble spots will be both lines. Lack of size and experience at the guard spot will put the premium on quickness. Dave Warner, a 210-pound fullback, may have to play guard. Two returning veterans are tackle Bo Scott and center Adrian Bullock.
Trying out for a completely vacant offensive backfield will be Anacostia graduate Alan Stallings, who "looks like a real quality runner," according to Vactor. UDC also needs to find a quarterback among the freshmen to pass to the likes of H.D. Woodson alumnus Eugene Mayhand and transfer Reggie Clark.
Anthony Cade, a 6-1 215-pounder, is the only guarantee on a defensive front that Vactor says needs new faces. Linebackers Richard Britt, a junior, and sophomore Harold Stewart will play a big role as Vactor alternates a 4-3 with a 3-4 set.