At Banneker Stadium in the 2500 block of Georgia Avenue across from Howard University, the Bison football team is being granted no reprieve from the heat. The 95 players out for the team will put on pads today and continue to practice twice a day through Monday.
One of the primary tasks second-year Coach Willie Jeffries will face is choosing a starting secondary before Howard opens its season Sept. 7 at Maine.
A year ago, Jeffries and defensive backfield coach Earl Humes had only seven defensive backs from whom to choose. This year, they have 21, including four starters from last year's 2-8 team.
Strong safety Earl Kinney, free safety Doug Dickerson, and cornerbacks Conrad Austin and Frankie Hall return. Although Kinney had five interceptions and Austin, a graduate of DeMatha High School, had four, the unit allowed 16 touchdown passes and 1,440 passing yards.
Which means 11 other scholarship players and six walk-ons will have the opportunity to earn a starting position.
"Right now, it's wide open," said Humes. "We know it's an area that needs to be strengthened. That was in our minds during the recruiting season, but we feel we have a pretty good nucleus."
Navy: Two-a-day practices in full pads begin Saturday. Coach Gary Tranquill will have his eyes on the defensive line, which might undergo restructuring. Two returning nose guards, Dave Pimpo and Dirk MacFarlane, were injured during spring practice. Both or either could be moved to tackle in Navy's 5-2 defense if junior Eber Verhovsek continues to play well.
Virginia: Freshmen aren't expected to report until Sunday. Returning players report Aug. 23. Tickets for the Virginia Tech game Oct. 19 are sold out, but season tickets, which include the Virginia Tech game, are available. Tickets for the opening game against Virginia Military Institute Sept. 14 in Charlottesville also remain.