The trademark fedora is not yet there, but Steve Wilson is running his Howard football team with all the professionalism of the Tom Landry-led Dallas Cowboys teams he played for nine years ago.

Wilson's Bison insist their coach is just as serious as Landry and even has the same impeccable taste in sideline attire as Denver Broncos Coach Dan Reeves, who coached Wilson from 1982 through the end of his career three years ago.

"I've tried to bring a certain businesslike professionalism to Howard," said Wilson, who arrived last year with no coaching experience and was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference coach of the year after the Bison went 8-3. "Each coach must carve his own niche, but I say and do a lot of things that those two guys did."

Three of Wilson's six assistants have NFL experience, including former Broncos' teammates Rubin Carter and Jeremiah Castille. And the team's professional image took a new turn yesterday when offensive line coach Fred Dean -- an original member of the Washington Redskins' Hogs -- outfitted his charges with construction hard hats and dubbed them "Dean's Dozers."

"I'm the type of guy that would rather plow up the mountain than go around it," Wilson said. "We've turned the corner. Where we go remains to be seen. . . . Many people may have better athletes or whatever, but when it comes down to it, it's what you do with what you've got."