Most football charts usually go three players deep so the omission of tailbacks Greg Bains was no great surprise.

Bains, 5-foot-10, 176-pound freshman from Atlanta, was merely another recruit with newspaper clippings of an Illustrious high school career. Even Bison Coach Doug Porter admitted he had "at least five or six experienced players who could play his position."

"No. Greg was not on the chart," said Porter, "but he has tunrned into a pleasanst surprise."

Blessed with one commodity that other Howard backs were lacking, Bain used his blazing speed to vault into the No. 1 tailback slot last week.

Against Delaware State, Bains gained 86 yards on 17 tries to give the anemic Bison running attack a shot of adrenaline.

Gaining a season high of 173 yards on the ground. Howard easily stormed past DSU, 37-6 its first victory after three defeats.

Bains, a confident sort who strives for perfection, gave all the credit to his offensive line.

"They opened the holes. I should have gained 100 yards so I guess I'm not too satisfied with my performance," he said. "I didn't play in the fourth quarter that much, but the with the job the line was doing, I should have got it (100 yards) in three periods.

"I knew when I came here, there were five or six good backs in front of me. But I had my mind set on playing when I left Atlanta," Bains continued. "I worked hard to get where I am and I plan to stay there.

Bains, who possessed 4.4 speed in the 40, probably will be a marked man when Howard visits Virginia State on Saturday in a non-conference matchup at 2 p.m.

The Trojans (2-4) often play a seven- and eight-man defensive front in an effort to shut down the run. Linebacker Marshall Jones and tackle Rick Driscoll are team leaders in tackles and often throw ball carriers for losses.

"We will probably throw more especially if they show us an eight-man front," said Porter. "The offense is not quite on parity with the defense yet. We need a little better production, particularly with our passing game."

Howard quarterbacks Brian Thomas, Ronald Wilson and Raymond Gray have only 36 pass completions in 85 attempts for 406 yards and three touchdowns. They have been intercepted nine times.

Bains may be the answer to Howard's anemic passing attack.

"Last week, Bains got most of the yardage on his own," Porter said. "He has that outstanding balance and acceleration. You can't coach those things."

Basins chose Howard over Purdue, Tennessee, Tulane and Southern. He probably would have been in the starting lineup earlier in the season had he been more familiar with the offensive plays.

"I wasn't confident. I wasn't sure of some sets," said Bains, who rushed for 1,400 yards and scored 14 touchdowns his senior year at Washington High in Atlanta. "But the last two games, I felt a little break back there. I just have to work harder and practice."

Howard's basic plan is to run to set up the pass. Howard's inconsistent passing game has put added pressure on the running game this season.

But if everything goes according to expectations this week, Howard may not need to throw. Fullback Leonard Orr (180 yards on 57 attempts) is almost at full strength and Bains (109 on 25 tries) has made the depth chart.