CMU to Open Grid Drills

MOUNT PLEASANT - A total of 105 football players will be on hand Wednesday, Aug. 11, when new Central Michigan University head coach Brian Kelly and his staff begin drills for the 2004 season.

The Chippewas will launch the new campaign with a pair of Big Ten road games at Indiana (Sept. 4) and at Michigan State (Sept. 11) before playing in Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Sept. 18 against Southeast Missouri State.

Central Michigan was picked to finish sixth in the Mid-American Conference's West Division by the media although Kelly takes little stock in that prediction.

"I'm more interested in how things stack up at the end of the season than in August," said Kelly, who led his Grand Valley State teams to back-to-back Division II national titles in 2002 and '03.

Kelly, coach at Grand Valley for the past 13 seasons, said his team will start every season with the same goals.

"We want to win our opener, win the battle of Michigan in our games with Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan and win our home games," he said. "If we do these things, we'll have a chance to win the MAC every year."

The Chippewas will practice once a day for the first five days as part of the NCAA's "climitization" policy to allow the athletes to get used to practicing in the heat.

"We'll use those days to install the offense and defense," Kelly said. "Plus, we'll spend a lot of time on special teams and film study."

Tackling is not allowed until Sunday and the Chippewas are going to jump right into it with a scrimmage on the new FieldTurf at Kelly/Shorts Stadium at 10 a.m.

The annual press day is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 17, in Kelly/Shorts at 1 p.m.

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