THE COACH

DONOVAN ROSE

Fifth year (21-22, all at Hampton)

It seems that Rose has spent as much time in the big office swatting flies and overcoming hurdles as he has actual coaching — NCAA penalties, staff departures, player defections, academic oversight. He may finally have turned the corner with this group. He has a staff with which he is comfortable, players who are committed and the resources to succeed. The former Hampton Institute star and ex-NFL defensive back has reached a comfort level running the program. What must come now is winning. A sub-.500 record for a program that was the MEAC's flagship in the mid-to-late 1990s and the mid-2000s won't cut it for very long. He is adaptable enough to change the offensive focus at mid-season, based on personnel, and to alter practice schedules to benefit players. He is confident enough, or desperate enough, to insert a true freshman walk-on at quarterback when it became apparent that the young man could be effective. Comfort and confidence aside, this is an important season for Rose and his tenure.

THE STANDOUTS

DELBERT TYLER

SR | 5-11 | 225 | LB

The senior middle linebacker was one of HU's most consistent defenders last season and is expected to continue that and be one of the leaders this year. He was second on the team with 80 tackles, including 14 against MEAC champ Bethune-Cookman.

CARVIN JOHNSON

SR | 6-2 | 205 | S

New Orleans native and Michigan transfer established himself as one of HU's top defenders almost immediately last season. Fourth on the team in tackles (57) and second in pass breakups (5), despite missing a game. One of the leaders of a deep, athletic secondary.

JAMAL WILSON

SR | 6-5 |320 | LG

Entering his third year as a starter, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native was preseason all-conference. Last year, helped pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Jeremiah Schwartz. This year, leads a group that's expected to play fast, create space for running backs and protect the quarterbacks in HU's no-huddle attack.

THE SCHEDULE

Aug. 29 | at Western Illinois | 7 p.m.

The Leathernecks changed coaches after a 3-8 season in which they lost their final six games and averaged just 9.7 points per game. Western Ill., was picked ninth in the 10-team MoVo football conference.

Sept. 7 | at William and Mary | 7 p.m.

The first game of a home-and-home series between the area schools. They've played twice in the regular season and once in the playoffs, with W&M winning all three.

Sept. 14 | Tennessee Tech | 6 p.m.