SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- When the USFL San Antonio Gunslingers and the Oakland Invaders walk off the field after their Saturday meeting at Alamo Stadium, at least one team will have accomplished something new this year: a victory.
The Invaders, 0-4, have scored only one rushing touchdown this season -- a short, two-yard jaunt by Otis Brown in last week's 28-7 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Stars.
New head coach Chuck Hutchison, in his second game with the Invaders, hopes things will get better in San Antonio.
'I expect us to play better this week against the Gunslingers now that we've had more time to work together after the coaching changes,' Hutchison said. 'Raymond Chester and MaCarthur Lane I hope will be pretty much caught up with the system.'
Chester, the tight end coach, and Lane, running back coach, were both named to their respective positions last week. Lane in particular has his work cut out for him.
The team's leading rusher is Arthur Whittington, who was rushed for only 139 yards on 35 carries for a 4.0-yard average. Next is Louis Jackson, who has piled up 35 yards on 22 carries for a 1.6-yard average.
In four games, the Invaders produced only 571 net offensive yards, while giving up 1,460. Oakland quarterbacks have been sacked 25 times for a loss of 182 yards. The defense has only three sacks for 22 yards.
But Gunslingers coach Gil Steinke said the Invaders' defense is still capable of 'getting after someone.'
After watching films from the Stars' game, he said 'the (Oakland) defense is better than I thought it would be.'
A bright spot for the Gunslingers, 0-4, is the probable return of quarterback Rick Neuheisel, who broke his hand March 5 against the Houston Gamblers.
'Rick is in good shape. That hand will be protected,' Steinke said.
Except for the rushing of Scott Stamper, the Gunslingers' offense has been ineffective under the direction of quarterback Karl Douglas, who replaced injured second-stringer Mike Ford.
'Our ground game was more effective last week than it has been, and I give Stamper credit for it,' Steinke said. 'I Thought Douglas could do it, but he didn't have a good day.'
Steinke said the decision on whether to start Neuhiesel is not an easy one.
'We've had 10 or more turnovers since Neuhisel was injured,' he said. 'Do you take the chance on hurting him? Having him in good health is more important.'