Three University of Alabama linebackers, including starter Miguel Merritt, were suspended and will miss the team's season opener against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Chris Horne, Merritt's backup at outside linebacker, and reserve middle linebacker Canary Knight were suspended Friday for a violation of team rules, Coach Mike DuBose said.

DuBose would not say what the three did, but the Tuscaloosa News reported yesterday they were suspended for missing classes last year. The matter is being resolved now.

Knight also was suspended one game last year for skipping classes.

* TERPS CAPTAINS: Maryland wide receiver Jermaine Arrington, offensive linemen Brad Messina and Jamie Wu, and defensive linemen Peter Timmins and Delbert Cowsette were named team captains yesterday. All five are seniors. The Terrapins open their 1999 season Thursday at Temple at 6 p.m.

* BENNETT DIES: Nancy Bennett, wife of Kansas State defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, died yesterday of injuries suffered when she was struck by lightning more than two weeks ago while jogging during a violent thunderstorm. She was 41. Bennett had been in intensive care at Mercy Hospital since she was injured Aug. 11 and never regained consciousness.

Beside her husband, she leaves two young children, Sam, 11, and Maddie, 8.