Maurice Haynes has gleaned something from each of the three head football coaches who have instructed him at Howard University in the last three years. Considering the Bison have compiled a 9-22 record while Haynes has been there, perhaps he has made the best of the situation.
And perhaps Haynes' collected knowledge and experience is why the Howard coaching staff has made him the team's captain.
"It's been upsetting having three different coaches," said Haynes, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound tight end from Takoma Park and a graduate of Montgomery Blair High School. "But I like the situation I'm in now. I've learned a lot from the coaching changes."
With 44 freshmen, 29 sophomores, 12 juniors and five seniors on Howard's team this year, Haynes probably will be sharing some of his wisdom with his younger teammates.
He dealt with one problem -- the team might not be able to play its home games at Howard because of delays in installing a new artificial surface -- succinctly. "We're not concentrating on that," he said yesterday.
Head Coach Willie Jeffries said the school had decided to go ahead with the turf installation and that it might be ready by early October.
But what Haynes is concentrating on is making the receiving corps the best it can be.
Last year, he had 28 of the team's 86 receptions, including a school-record 11 for 113 yards against Maine. This year, with the addition of Derrick Faison, a 6-4, 190-pound, 17-year-old freshman from Lake City, S.C., Howard's passing game might be formidable. In high school, Faison long jumped 22 1/2 feet, high jumped and ran the 100 and the 220, in addition to playing football,
Also returning is Curtis Chappel, a sophomore from Miami who caught 14 passes last year and runs the 40 in 4.4. "He's shown a lot of improvement," said Jeffries. "Curtis had to start as a freshman and he dropped a few passes, but I think this year he has shown a great amount of concentration."
But the most important ingredient might be sophomore quarterback Leon Brown. Without him, the mixture of experience and talent that Jeffries and quarterback/receiver coach Kermit Blount believe the Bison receivers have might be for naught.
As a freshman, Brown threw 147 passes and, although he completed only 39.4 percent of them, he finished with a flourish. In his last three games, he completed 34 of 62 for 662 yards and three touchdowns.
Last year Jeffries called passes only 15 percent of the time, which he described as "bad." Although he plans to stay with the I-formation trap option he used successfully as head coach of Wichita State in 1979-83, he would like pass 10 percent more.
"You can pass more the older a team gets," he said. "When you have a young team, you need to run safe plays. We played it close to the vest last year. We'll loosen according to the degree of experience."