LAST SEASON: 6-4, 5-2 in CIAA.
COACH: Mike Lynn (first season). When the Bulldogs Have the Ball
Mike Lynn, who replaces Henry Frazier as the Bulldogs' coach, is ditching Bowie State's Wing-T offense for a West Coast passing game. Lynn, the offensive line coach at Morgan State the past two seasons, plans on using two quarterbacks: sophomore Lamar Manigo and senior Jabali Smith.
"We're looking not only to use our talented running backs, but we also plan on throwing the ball a lot more than they have in the past," Lynn said. "We want to be more balanced."
The Bulldogs return three proven runners -- fullback Caleb Cranke (516 rushing yards in 2003) and tailbacks Kelvin Collins (445 yards) and Julius Jordan (413). Freshman Isaac Redman, a former Temple signee, also will get a lot of carries, Lynn said. Redman ran for 5,255 yards and scored 93 touchdowns at Paulsboro (N.J.) High School in 2003.
Only one starter is back on Bowie State's offensive line -- senior left tackle Phillip Scott. The Bulldogs will need some help at wide receiver after junior Alonzo Corbett was moved to cornerback, and Bakari Brown (team-high 28 catches for 415 yards and three touchdowns in 2003) graduated. Freshman Yeahmu Kyne (6-3, 225) is a big target.
When Opponents Have the Ball
Lynn inherits seven returning starters from a defense that led Division II in scoring defense (15 touchdowns in 10 games, 11.2 points per game) and was second in total defense (226.3 yards per game) in 2003. Under former Towson State defensive coordinator Donald Zimmerman, Lynn said the Bulldogs could be even more aggressive on defense.
"It's the same 4-3 scheme, but we've very aggressive," Lynn said. "We'll be in a lot of eight-man fronts."
The defensive line is the strength of the Bulldogs' defense. Defensive tackle Bruce Banks has lost 20 pounds and is a lot quicker at 325. Antoine Basden, a transfer from Howard, and junior Tyreve Smith will probably start at defensive end.
Weak-side linebacker Christopher Glass was second on the team in tackles with 56 last season, and Sterling Green, who played in 10 games at Georgia Tech in 2001 but was academically ineligible the past two seasons, will start at strong-side linebacker. Strong safety Atcheson Conway led the team with 78 tackles and 81/2 tackles for loss last season and is catching the attention of NFL scouts.