With spring weather just around the corner, Maryland, Howard and Navy are looking forward to spring football practice.
Howard University opens practice next week, the day depending on the weather, and one of Coach Floyd Keith's problems is underlined by the signing of four 1979 players with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
Tailback Beeman Veasley, tight end Fitz Fowler, split end Greg Scott and quarterback Brian Thomas will play for the alumni against the Howard varsity on April 26, then report to the Argonauts' training camp on May 25.
The University of Maryland will begin spring practice on March 24 and conclude with the annual Red-White intrasquad game on April 19. Navy begins on March 20 and will have its Blue-Gold intrasquad game also on April 19.
Coach Keith of Howard doesn't want to waste any days by risking bad weather because the Bison face new challenges in the autumn.
Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman will be in the Mid-East Athletic Conference and Howard opens its season against Alcorn State, though the site has not been set.
Howard had a 5-6 record in 1979, tying for third in the conference. Offsetting some of the graduations, there will be the return of 27 lettermen.
Keith says, "We expect to do better; we will have some junior college transfers." He is expecting help from fullback Reginald Ennis, who became available when Maryland-Eastern Shore dropped football.
Among the holdovers are quarterback Ronald Wilson, tailback Greg Banes, fullback Cornelius Quarles, guard Johnny Dilberry and offensive tackle Ralph Grimes.
Also back will be linebacker Kenneth Pimpton, who made the conference all-academic team; defensive end Larry Hamilton; nose guard Corky McCorkle, and linebacker Darryl Bearden.
Besides losing all-conference tight end Fowler and the three other players to Toronto, Howard will graduate two other all-MEAC selections, linebacker Scott Facyson and defensive end Thomas Clark.
Maryland, which finished 7-4 last season overall and 4-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for a second-place tie, will graduate 12 lettermen but will return all quarterbacks and running backs, five at the latter position.
Among them are the three "Ws" -- tailbacks Charlie Wysocki, who rushed for 1140 yards; Wayne Wingfield, who gained 360 before suffering an injury, and Tim Whittle.
Good news is the fact that tight end Eric Sievers, middle guard Marlin Van Horn and defensive back Lloyd Burrus are recovered from injuries and available.
They were preseason all-ACC selections before being injured. Quarterback Mike Tice, who had a 48.7 completion average, and Bob Milkovich will be operating behind a whole new line on offense. Their targets will be receivers Jan Carinci, Gary Ellis and Mike Lewis.
Navy is awash with running backs -- Eddie Meyers, who rushed for 278 yards in the 31-7 victory over Army; Duane Flowers, Mike Sherlock, Kevin Tolbert and Steve Calilahan, who will be shifted to wide receiver.
Graduating from the team that had a 7-4 record are quarterback Bob Powers, tight end Carl Hendershot, and fullback Larry Klawinski.
Holdovers on defense are linebackers Mike Kronzer, All-East selection, and Ted Dumbauld, plus tackle Steve Chambers and middle guard Terry Huxel.
The University of Virginia will have an almost intact offense, except for receivers, when spring practice opens March 22, ending with a game against the alumni April 19.
Returning from the team that had an overall record of 6-5 and was 2-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference are quarterback Todd Kirtley and running backs Tom Vigorito, an all-conference selection, and Greg Taylor, who rushed for 933 yards.
Center Brian Musselman, who is being boosted by the Cavaliers for All-American consideration, heads up a veteran offensive line, with only tight end Mike Newhall being lost to graduation.
Returning on defense are three standouts -- nose guard Stuart Anderson, who led the team in tackles; Jim Hyson, the top linebacker, and safety Pat Chester. Wayne Morrison, who set several school records as a freshman, is back as the placekicker.