Charles Chisley anticipates a better season than last as flanker for the University of the District of Columbia. In 1978, he caught nine touchdown passes.
That was not too poor an effort, but Chisley would like to play in a few more games this time around. A calf injury forced him to squeeze those nine scoring catches into three games. Chisley then watched UDC'S final four contests from the sidelines.
In the three games he played as flanker, the fleet Chisley caught 18 passes for a whopping average of 27.5 yards. Of Chisley's nine touchdowns, the shortest went 33 yards. The 6-foot-1 Chisley also dialed long distance on one kickoff return for an 82-yard touchdown.
Those statistics are amazing enough for an experienced receiver. However, Chisley never played a down as receiver before those three games. He started the season with UDC as a safety, switching to offense after the third game.
"The receivers weren't clicking so I was tried at wide receiver during one practice," Chisley said yesterday during UDC'S picture day at the Ellington High School field. "I hadn't played the position anywhere except in street ball. But I felt real comfortable there quickly."
That was more than opposing defensive backs could say while covering Chisley, who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. In one game Chisley caught four touchdown passes; in another he had three, and two more were called back.
Chisley said that his knowledge of how defensive backs cover receivers under certain circumstances, how far away they are and on what side of the receiver, helped him break some short catches for long gains.
"I was not a tackle-breaker, necessarily," said Chisley in understatment. He played as a 148-pounder last year. A weight program -- partly imposed by the UDC coaching staff to strengthen shoulders that have been separated three times in street games -- now has Chisley up to 160 pounds.
Chisley promises to bring his 40-yard time to 4.4 when time tests are given later this week. That should indicate his full recovery from torn ligaments in his right calf.Chisley suffered the injury warming up for a game.
This will be Chisley's second season with the Firebirds after he transferred from Texas Christian. The Ballou High School graduate was given a track scholarship to TCU, where he found little to his liking.
"The coach at TCU did not take me to away meets, despite the fact I was six seconds faster in the half-mile than his other half-miler," Chisley recalled. "There were very few blacks out there and they all were treated badly. I don't know exactly what it was that this coach had against me. Maybe it was because I spoke my mind about injustices while the other blacks on the track team bowed down to him."
Chisley also was forbidden by the coach to play football, a sport he had also played at Ballou. After one year, he came home.
After Chisley returned, he chose UDC because he would not have to sit out a year, since UDC is a Division III school. Chisley twice came to football practice and each time left within a few days.
"The TCU experience messed up my mind," Chisley said. "For a while, I couldn't even look my parents in the face. It ruined my attitude toward college in general,"
But UDC Coach Ted Vactor phoned Chisley, "told me I was the best they had," and persuaded him to return and remain on the Firebird squad.