Coach: John Organ Last year's record: 5-5 Strengths: Only two starters graduated. Junior running back Mike Jordan, the Bulldogs' leading rusher last year with 394 yards, should get good protection from senior tackles Joe Mills and Carey O'Casio. On defense, nose guard Lenny Barfield and cornerback Danny Hayes return. Weaknesses: The team has no quarterback, and lacks depth in the offensive backfield and at linebacker. Projection: In only their third year, the Bulldogs' offense is weak, and the team will have trouble matching last year's record. Catholic Coach
Joel Pascale Last year's record: 1-8 Strengths: The returning defensive line of Ralph Fucillo, John Burke, Walter D'Augustino and Jack Phillips averages 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. Sophomore Scott Rumer, who started at quarterback the last half of the year, will be challenged by freshman Tony Pinsonault, who was all-state in New Jersey. Former starting quarterback Bob Delea has been shifted to wide receiver. Weaknesses: Many players at linebacker and in the defensive secondary graduated, so inexperience in those areas will be a problem. Tight end and the offensive backfield are suspect. Projection: Depth won't be a problem, but the inexperienced offense is almost certain to keep the Cardinals from winning more than four games. Gallaudet Coach: Ricky Suitter Last year's record: 2-3 Strengths: Thirty-five players return, including all but two starters. The offense will center on quarterback Billy Lange and wide receiver Pat Kurren, who combined for 18 touchdowns last year. The defense will be led by Joey Manning, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end, and 6-foot-2, 195-pound linebacker Jay Conley. Weaknesses: The team is very inexperienced. The expanded, six-game schedule also includes tough games with Georgetown and Stevens Tech. Projection: In only its second year, the program is still small, and Gallaudet would do well to finish at 3-3. Georgetown Coach: Scotty Glacken Last year's record: 5-3 Strengths: The defensive line, led by nose guard Roger Daly (6-foot-2, 222 pounds) and tackle Jeff Leach (6-foot, 210) is the heart of the team. Junior quarterback Mike Boland will throw often to flankers Dave Ficca and Joel Greenzaid. The defensive secondary is also strong. Weaknesses: The offensive backfield is weak and tight end is a question mark. The Hoyas lost both their starting linebackers and the left side of the defensive line to graduation. Projection: Georgetown has too many holes to fill to equal last year's performance. Howard Coach: Floyd Keith Last year's record: 2-3 in MEAC, 6-4 overall Strengths: Receiver Tracy Singleton is one of the best in the nation. Quarterback Sandy Nichols, the conference's leading quarterback a year ago, and tailback Melvin Sutton are fine runners. Linebackers Martin Brown and Robert Sellars, the top tacklers, and the entire secondary return. Weaknesses: Both lines need improvement. The Bison defense was awful last year, finishing last in rushing defense and next to last in overall defense, allowing 24.5 points per game. And the team had virtually no running game because of extensive injuries to the line. Projections: Eight victories are within reach if Singleton and Nichols get the necessary help up front and the defensive line improves. Maryland Coach: Bobby Ross, 1st year Last year's record: 4-6-1 overall, 4-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference strengths. Rushing defense was fourth-best in the nation last year. Defense lineman Gurnest Brown, Mark Duda, Mike Corvino and Frank Kolencik play the run better than anybody else in the ACC. Pass rush, led by Brown and Corvino with 21 sacks last year, is also strong. Quarterback Norman (Boomer) Esiason has a strong arm and three capable receivers in Mike Lewis, Russell Davis and tight end Mike Tice. New offense will make better use of their talents. Offensive backfield is durable, if not spectacular, with John Nash, Willie Joyner, Tim Whittie and Vernon Carter. Lots of experience with 22 seniors and 10 three-year lettermen. Weaknesses: The sixth most difficult schedule in the nation and a horrendous pass defense. The offensive line returns only two starters. More outside speed would help. Punting situation is very unstable. No depth to speak of. Projection: Terrapins should finish third in the conference, behind North Carolina and Clemson. Maryland could improve greatly over last year and still finish 5-6 because of its schedule. A 4-2 record in the league is probable. Indiana State is the only sure victory among nonconference games. Montgomery-Rockville Coach: Phil Martin Last year's record: 6-4 Strengths: Quarterback Vaugh Riffe and all-county freshman Mark Starner from Wheaton can both pass, and starting running backs Pat Sullivan, Billy Brunet and Frank Oliver all return. George Ralli will lead the offensive line. On defense, cornerbacks Tim Allen and Steve Bykowski and linebacker Marcus Barnes are dependable. Weaknesses: The Knights lost eight players, including two starters, due to academic ineligibility and the team lacks experience. The defensive line is shallow. Projection: Martin is under pressure as he replaces Steve Wilson, who was accused of overzealous recruiting and fired, a move that has divided the team. The Knights will have difficulty repeating their No. 11 national ranking; competition in the Coastal Conference is tough. Navy Coach: Gary Tranquill Last year's record: 7-4-1 Strengths: Linebacker Andy Ponseigo set school record of 152 tackles last year. Defensive ends Travis Wallington and Hamp Oberle promise strong pass rush. Veteran quarterbacks Marco Pagnanelli and Tom Tarquinio can run and throw. Sophomore tailbacks Napoleon McCallum and Rich Clouse, good as freshmen, should be even better. Weaknesses: Secondary lacks depth and experience. Receivers are untested. Punting and place-kicking are questionable. Projection: Despite coaching change and addition to schedule of Arkansas and South Carolina, fifth straight winning season is likely. UDC Coach: Ted Vactor Last year's record: 3-7 Strengths: The Firebirds return 32 lettermen, including nine members of their eighth-ranked defense, which allowed only 12 points per game. Six-foot-2, 225-pound junior lineman Alonzo Hart and sophomores David Driggers (6-foot-3, 210) and Barry Bailey (6-foot-4, 265) will be essential to the defense. The secondary, which ranked third in the nation in pass defense, will be led by seniors Vincent Cox and Steven Pettus. Weaknesses: The lethargic offense (10 points per game) must be improved to take the pressure off the defense. Three sophomores will contend for quarterback. Projection: The Firebirds enjoyed a fine recruiting year. If the offense responds and the defense repeats last year's performance, the team could easily finish above .500. Virginia Coach: George Welsh Last year's record: 1-10, 0-6 in Atlantic Coast Conference Strengths: Twenty of top 22 offensive players return, including 10 starters. Depth at quarterback, with transfer Harry Schuchts highly rated. Place-kicker Wayne Morrison, punter Jeff Walker solid in key roles. Good running backs among freshman recruits. Weaknesses: Defense lacks experience and depth, with a number of linebackers having graduated. Fumbles, interceptions were costly a year ago and new system could result in more mistakes, at least in early games. Projection: Despite writers' last-place forecast, Cavaliers should beat a couple of ACC opponents this year. A winning season, although unlikely, is a reasonable goal.