Upgrading a football program can be an arduous process. And the first step in that process usually involves spending more money to recruit better players from longer distances.

Bob Westermann, the first-year coach at Gallaudet, has another theory: Play as many games as possible.

The Bison will play 10 games this year, their most ever. "It's a philosophy of mine that if you want to develop a program, you've got to play as many games as possible against the best possible competition," Westermann said. "It makes no sense to me to play five or six games, and just when you're hitting midseason form, you have to quit."

Gallaudet's midseason form has been shapeless. The Bison have not had a winning season since 1930. "We don't talk about that here," said Westermann, who coached Model School for the Deaf for eight years.

Being a nonscholarship Division III program, Gallaudet has no recruiting budget. "We've spent the last four or five months trying to find the better hearing-impaired students around the country to make them aware of Gallaudet College," Westermann said. "We found a lot of students in a mainstream program that didn't know they had an option to come here."

Linebacker Todd Silvestri and running back Pat Hutson are freshmen who have impressed. Noteworthy players returning from last year's team are offensive tackle David Call and defensive tackle Bobo Taylor.