Coach: Stanley Mitchell (1st season)
Last year: 1-10
Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic
Radio: WEAA (88.9 FM)
Stadium: Hughes Stadium (5,000)
Top returning players: QB Willie McGirt, RB Ali Culpepper, DB Warner Herndon, WR Marc Lester, LB Justin Patton, DT Carlos Mitchell.
Top Newcomers: DE Damien Mallory, OG Joseph Wright, LB Kirk Williams, OT Jason Moore.
Strengths: The Bears should have some talent. Senior quarterback McGirt struggled for most of last season, but expects to flourish as the only starter after platooning for the past two seasons. Running back Culpepper was averaging nearly 5 yards a carry before suffering an injury in the second game of the season. There are four returning starters on the defensive line, and the secondary is bigger than it was last season, with only cornerback Jerome Daniels shorter than 6 feet. With K.C. Vasquez, the Bears should have a competent kicking game.
Weaknesses: At left tackle will be a true freshman, Wright, who is part of a unit that is possibly the team's biggest question mark. The Bears are still trying to figure out who can play fullback and tight end, positions Mitchell values. The shortness of the coach's recruiting season could be revealed in a lack of depth. This could come into play if injuries remain a problem, as they have been during fall practice.
Strongest Opponent: Though Florida A&M; advanced farther in the Division I-AA playoffs, Hampton won the league last year and is expected to do the same this year. The Pirates finished off a tired Morgan State team, 55-0, in the final game of 1998.
Key game: South Carolina State. The game will be the Bears' third, but it will also be the team's last at Hughes Stadium before it is renovated.
Schedule, Date, Opponent, Time
Sept. 4, at Bucknell , 12: 30
Sept. 12, at Bethune-Cookman, Noon
Sept. 18, South Carolina State-a, 1: 30
Sept. 25, at Rhode Island, Noon
Oct. 2, at Florida A&M;, 7
Oct. 9, Towson-b, 8
Oct. 16, North Carolina A&T-c;, 3: 30
Oct. 23, at Delaware State, 1
Nov. 6, at Norfolk State, 1: 30
Nov. 13, at Howard, 1
Nov. 20, at Hampton, 1
a-at Hughes Stadium
b-at Homewood Field
c-at PSINet Stadium