The Howard University football team may not have the best group of wide receivers in the nation this season, but it certainly will have one of the tallest.
Richard McEntyre, a 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman, and Elijah Thurmon, a 6-4 senior, top the depth chart, and Coach Steve Wilson said yesterday he plans to occasionally give the Bison even more height by sending in redshirt freshman Donald Clark to play quarterback, and having 6-6 Bobby Townsend, the team's starting quarterback, line up as a third wide receiver.
"There's not many teams that could cover us one-on-one in that situation," Wilson said during the MEAC's annual football luncheon in Arlington.
In addition to preparing for his chance to replace Ted White, who set numerous MEAC passing records and now is with the Kansas City Chiefs, Townsend played wide receiver last season, catching 11 passes for 154 yards. Although Townsend threw just four passes last season, Wilson said the redshirt junior is ready to take over at quarterback.
"Bobby has spent three years in our system playing behind one of the greatest quarterbacks in I-AA history, and he's a better athlete," Wilson said. "He's got a good passing arm, is very quick and understands our system. He now just has to play."
White's departure is one of the main reasons conference coaches have picked Howard (7-4 last year) to finish sixth in the MEAC this season. Florida A&M was picked to win, followed by two-time defending champion Hampton.
"People expect that when two all-conference players like [defensive lineman] Marques Douglas and Ted White leave that life stops, but it doesn't," Wilson said. "We'll just play that role [of underdog] until we assume another role."
No Funds Available
While the NCAA has talked about increasing funding for some of its smaller member schools, MEAC Commissioner Charles Harris said he doesn't expect the extra help any time soon.
Harris said the money won't be available until the NCAA, which recently paid out a $54 million legal settlement, eventually renegotiates its men's basketball tournament television contract with CBS. That contract expires in three years.
"Most of us as commissioners have taken a look at the NCAA books, and it doesn't look like there's a lot more money to distribute right now," Harris said.
In the meantime, Harris said the conference has worked diligently to upgrade its television package in an effort to make the conference more attractive to corporate sponsors. This season, conference games will be televised in 33 markets, compared to less than a dozen last season.
In the Washington area, MEAC games will be shown on Home Team Sports. Eight games are scheduled to be shown--one in September, and then one per week from the beginning of October through the end of the season. . . .
With its stadium renovation plans delayed, Morgan State, with the exception of one mid-September game, will be forced to spend its entire season away from home.