Chattanooga has switched from a veer formation to a wishbone. Junior Fullback Danny Westfall will not have to adjust. He transferred from Alabama just a season ago. The Moccasins have the home advantage for the Sept. 25 game with Furman; it should decide the conference.
CITADEL NIGHT FEVER: Noseguard Jim Ettari has squared up his wilder years as a teen-ager in Brentwood, Long Island with the regimen of The Citadel. A tattoo on his left biceps reads SATURDAY NIGHT IS ALL RIGHT FOR FIGHTING; a more recent tattoo on his right biceps says DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR.
McNeese lost the Southland title to Texas-Arlington by a single point (21-20) in 1981. It won't happen again. Seventeen Cowboys are back, including the two top players in the conference: Quarterback Stephen Starring (488 yards rushing, 1,218 passing) and Tailback Buford Jordan, a 6'2", 220-pound junior whose 18 touchdowns put him No. 4 in scoring in Division I-A.
"The whole world gets to find out on Oct. 2 in Birmingham which of the two coaches from the Fordyce, Ark. area is best—Bear Bryant or me." So says Arkansas State Coach Larry Lacewell, who hopes his brainy quarterback can stem the Tide. Tim Langford, a premed student with a 3.92 grade-point average, will run the offense that had the country's fewest passing yards (41.3 a game) and the second-highest rushing-attempt average (62 per game; 'Bama had 64) and, according to Lacewell, kept the defense on the field for fewer snaps than any other team in the nation.
FORM 1040A (REVISED, NOTE NEW SCHEDULES): The Southland traded Louisianas in the off-season. Southwestern Louisiana, the alma mater of Rafael Septien, Ron Guidry and Andrew Toney, dropped out of the conference so as to remain in Division I-A, while the rest of the conference went to I-AA. Northeast Louisiana and North Texas State, meanwhile, joined up.
Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson, 63, is three wins away from No. 300. His record is 297-98-13 for his 40 years at Grambling, but last season (6-4-1) was the Tigers' worst since 1969. Count on a dose of Trumaine poisoning to return Grambling to form. A certain first-round pro draft pick, Wingback Trumaine Johnson, who does the 40 in 4.3, had a 17.9-yard average on 43 receptions last fall, despite a regular diet of 'double coverage from teams that had seen him in action the year before (13 touchdown receptions). "He's a game-breaker," says Robinson. "You don't need to be Phi Beta Kappa to know that."
Alcorn State lost four of its first five games, then came back to win four of the last five. Returning are star linebackers Marlon Expose and Darnell Toy, Quarterback James McFarland and Halfback Gregory Jones.
Jackson State won the SWAC title on the strength of Division I-AA's No. 3 rushing and overall defense. The heart of that unit—linebackers Calvin January and Mario Kirksey—returns, but the Tigers lost seven starters from the offense.