The University of the District of Columbia football team's 0-10 record last season included losses of 69-8, 51-0, 56-6 and 55-6. "It was worse than a nightmare," remembered Coach Bobby Frazier, last year's offensive coordinator.
Things haven't changed for Frazier, who became UDC's third head coach in three years when he replaced Charles Moore. His Firebirds are 0-4-1, have 97 net rushing yards and are yielding more than 300 yards a game.
The Firebirds, an independent Division II team, have not won in 16 games, since Nov. 3, 1982, when they beat Fayetteville State, 30-6.
Moore, who doubled as athletic director in 1983, was fired and Sidney Hall, an administrator in athletics at Howard University, replaced him. He made some immediate changes, dropping those Division I-AA schools that beat the Firebirds so badly. But for next season, the Firebirds are adding a Division I-AA opponent, Howard, according to sources who have been negotiating the contract.
That game will be Oct. 5 at Howard Stadium. This season, UDC and Howard have played one common rival -- Hampton Institute. UDC tied Hampton, 7-7; Howard lost, 14-7.
Sidney Hall, athletic director at UDC, confirmed that the two schools plan to play next season, but cautioned, "It's not official until the contract has been signed. At that time we will make an announcement."
Leo Miles, Howard's athletic director, refused to comment. "I'm not getting into that. I don't have any thoughts on that," he said.
Frazier was not reluctant to comment. "We want to play Howard," he said. "It will be a real fight. It's going to draw a lot of attention because we're both here."
Despite the move to add I-AA Howard, some suggest the answer for UDC might be to drop down to Division III.
"I think it would be a fantastic thing to do," said Frazier, who was 23-13-1 as coach at Bethune-Cookman in 1979-82. "If you look at our schedule, you would think that we were playing over our heads, although I think the scores have been much closer this year."
Hall wants UDC to stay Division II.
"We are rebuilding," he said. "It takes time. Our position is that we are Division II and we will gear ourselves to that. Last year there was a rush to play Division I, but we had to draw back from that."
UDC is a commuter school and Frazier blames the football program's troubles on lack of housing: "How can I attract kids when they ask me: 'Coach, how are the dormitories?' If we are given the opportunity to have something to sell, then we can get the kids. Then, we can play our (current) schedule."
His philosophy is simple. "If you're going to deal with oranges, you have to have all oranges. You can't do it with apples."
Hall, UDC's third athletic director in three years, worries about the housing. "It does put us at a disadvantage," he said. "Parents want their kids, I know, to have good housing when they go off to school. However, we have to operate on the premise that whatever is done for the athletes is being done for everyone."
UDC has problems more related to performance as well. Its rushing leader, Chuckie Matthews, has gained 76 yards on 48 attempts. The team's net rushing total is 97 yards on 146 carries. Quarterback John Dangerfield's numbers are slightly more encouraging: 40 completions in 77 passes for 420 yards. He has, however, thrown five interceptions and only two scoring passes.
Frazier attributes the offensive malaise to injuries on the line. The Firebirds lost three offensive linemen against Hampton two weeks ago. Frazier was forced to use a backup tight end as a guard by game's end. "Their defensive tackle was 6-4 and 270, and he wrecked us," Frazier said. "We're losing because of the interior people being hurt."
In addition, the Firebirds have a different sort of numbers problem. The team dressed 47 players against Towson State last week; Towson dressed 92. Frazier has four part-time assistants; Towson has 11 coaches. "We don't have enough people," Frazier complained. "If someone gets banged up, we have no one to step in."
This Saturday will be homecoming and UDC's opponent, West Virginia State College, won last year, 27-12.
"I'll never say that we don't have a chance to win," Frazier said. "Having not won, it gives the kids doubts about winning. They don't know how to win. If we can win one, we may not lose for seven years."