Howard University, which allowed a school record 383 yards rushing in its 38-15 opening loss at Maine last week, will make at least one defensive change for Saturday's game against Cheyney State at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
Coach Floyd Keith and his defensive coordinator, Joe Taylor, said Jeff Tisdale would probably replace Matt Jordan at middle linebacker.
"Matt will still play a lot," Taylor said. "He just didn't play that well against Maine."
Although neither coach would confirm any other changes, it's possible the team might try a new defensive end.
Taylor tried four players there--Jeff Wise, Charles Scott, Calvin Epps and Ben Tynes--but none was effective.
"That wing-T gave us a lot of trouble," said Wise, a senior. "Their men in motion mesmerized us and we kept getting chopped at the knees. I wouldn't have thought it possible for any team to do that to us. It was a shock. Eleven plays and they (Maine) had three touchdowns. I didn't believe it.
"Maybe we were too enthusiastic, too pumped up. We just choked up. But we have to forget about the Maine game and get things together against Cheyney (State). I promise you a different Howard will be on the field Saturday."
Despite giving up 476 yards in the opener, Howard will stay with the Texas A&M spread 4-3 defense.
"It was the first time we'd tried this defense and from looking at the films, we were in the right places. We just didn't do what we were supposed to do," Taylor said.
"The reason we switched from a 50 defense to the 4-3 this year was because we don't have the three big people you need up front to make it (50) work. We'll stay with the 4-3 because we think it's a good defense for us. Last week, we just did a poor job of shedding our blocks and keeping the runners inside the ends."
Cheyney State's offense is familiar to the Bison players because they have seen shadows of it on their own practice field.
"They run a basic offense," Wise said. "They don't use a lot of motion. I don't like the wing-T. We have to have a good effort this week because things are going to get a lot tougher the next three after that."
Keith says he is positive that Howard will play well Saturday.
"We made Maine look a lot better than they were," he said . . . I was satisfied with our offense because we had some good, long drives and only a few penalties."
Last season, Howard scored three touchdowns in the first period against Division II Cheyney and went on to win, 33-23. But Cheyney had one score called back and turned the ball over twice after driving deep into Bison territory.
"This game suddenly is very important to us," Keith said. "We have to go after this one. We've worked hard for 29 practices and have to stop making mistakes and execute. Cheyney State is big, beefy and will play us hard."