Sanders Shiver isn't worried.
His Bowie State football team plays its next five games on the road, in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's version of Tobacco Road. There are fewer than 30 lettermen on the Bulldogs' roster, and one of the best, Robert Anderson, a linebacker from Lake Clifton High, will miss most of that road trip with a slight tibia fracture.
The quarterback is a senior, but Jason Herold, a product of Northeast, took the first snaps of his collegiate career last Saturday, guiding the Bulldogs to a 17-14 victory over Hampton. Herold would have quarterbacked the opener but for a foot bruise. If he goes down with an injury, the Bulldogs' punting game goes with him.
Only one-third of last year's 18 first-year lettermen returned, and on defense Shiver is starting four freshmen.
"We brought in 30 freshmen this year," Shiver said, "and I'm real pleased with that group."
One of the best is Marcus Roberson, but the running back from Great Mills in St. Mary's is done for the year after breaking an ankle last week.
Rookies from other programs impressed in their first college games.
In Johns Hopkins' 19-19 tie against Lebanon Valley, Gary Campbell, a wide receiver from Berwick, Pa., had five catches for 59 yards, and Jelani Tucker, a defensive lineman from Poly, was the third-leading tackler. Towson State lost 10-8 to Boston University, but not because of Mike Arbutina, a linebacker from Bowie, and Brian McCarty, a tailback from Reading, Pa.
* Navy begins its cross country season Saturday (11:45 a.m.) against La Salle on the Middies' golf course. At 9 a.m., a memorial plaque honoring the four Navy runners killed in an auto accident two years ago will be dedicated.
The Towson State Invitational will be held tomorrow (4:30) at Camp Milldale in Reisterstown. Maryland and UMBC are favored among the men, and the Terp women also loom large.
Catonsville Community College is the lone two-year school competing. John Hecox went to the national junior college championships a year ago, but he's currently running behind two freshmen, Lansdowne's Jason Cox and Meade's Ray Burleson. Cox was 26th in the Lebanon Valley Invitational last week, which was won by Salisbury State's Tim Smith, a sophomore from North Carroll.
* Drexel is no longer in the East Coast Conference, but beating the Dragons still means a lot to Towson State, the two-time ECC champion. The Tigers' goalie is sophomore Rich Pellegrini, and Mike Pellegrini is Drexel's top player. The brothers' last collegiate meeting is Saturday (1 p.m.) in Philadelphia.
Drexel, by the way, is no longer under the direction of Johnson Bowie. The native Baltimorean is now the Dragons' athletic director, retiring from coaching with a 127-89-15 record, four ECC titles and two Philadelphia Soccer Seven championships.
* Amy Mallon is following her basketball coach from Richmond to St. Joseph's. Stephanie Gaitley was named the new St. Joe's coach in June, and Mallon, the former Mount Hebron High star, transferred there from Richmond, where she was a Colonial Athletic Association all-star last season. She'll sit out this season and be eligible for 1992-93.
* Mount St. Mary's lacrosse opener next March 4 is in Emmitsburg, but the opponent is defending NCAA champion North Carolina . . . With her basketball eligibility used up, Regina Nolan is helping the volleyball team at Coppin State . . . Essex resumes its biggest soccer rivalry tomorrow (3:30) at home, when the Knights play Montgomery-Rockville.