Bobby Frazier speaks of the 6-2 bubble and the 3-4 shade as if he were a professor of astrophysics. But that couldn't be; the University of the District of Columbia doesn't have an astrophysics department.

Instead, Frazier, UDC's second-year football coach, is discussing defensive alignments. That, too, might seem odd. Last year, the Firebirds' defense gave up more than 50 points on two occasions and opponents averaged 327.4 yards of offense.

But the 6-2 bubble and the 3-4 shade, along with 3-4 hawk and other defensive esoterica are how Frazier plans to make the District of Columbia tough defensively. "These are the kind of things we're going to do to offset offenses," said Frazier.

The defensive sets are designed to maximize the number of Firebirds linebackers -- the position at which the team is deepest and most talented. In the 6-2, Frazier will use only two down linemen. "We plan to load up with our experienced linebackers," he said.

Of the talented lot, Marcus Doakes, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, and Derrick Marshall, a 6-foot, 200-pounder, both from Houston, are the best. Last year, Doakes made 28 tackles and assisted on 23; Marshall made 40 tackles and assisted on 33. Keith Young, a junior defensive back who made 67 tackles last year, also will be a mainstay in the secondary.

Offensively, Frazier may use any one of four quarterbacks, although he likes the way Kelly Thompson directs "the multiple-type offense."