"It is an exciting time for our program," second-year head coach Brian Kelly said. "From our standpoint, this is just another step in the process of rebuilding this program. We now move to stage two where we look closely at the strengths and weaknesses of the team and our players."
The Chippewas will have 80 players participate in spring drills, including 28 redshirt freshmen who sat out last season. The Maroon and Gold also welcome back 16 starters and 38 letterwinners from a year ago.
"Our charge to the team was to make great strides in the offseason," Kelly said. "I thought we had a great offseason with our strength and condition program. It will be nice to integrate our redshirt freshmen into the program and see how they fit into things. We do have a couple positions to fill, so we want to leave spring drills knowing who we can count on in certain situations."
Elusive back Jerry Seymour also returns after earning first team All-MAC laurels last season.
With five Mid-American Conference teams making bowl appearances and getting an extra month of practice, Coach Kelly emphasized how important it is that Central Michigan picks right up where the Chippewas left off last season.
"Getting that extra practice time gave those teams a significant advantage, so it is crucial we take full advantage of spring practice," Kelly said. "We can not afford to have a bad practice. I think our solid offseason conditioning program has set the tone, but it is important we capitalize on this opportunity."
One of the biggest differences from last season is that last year's spring practice was the first time Kelly and his staff could work with the squad as a whole. Now, they have a year with the squad and a better understanding of the team.
"This year we have such a better knowledge of what to expect from our players mentally and physical," Kelly said. "You will always have a period of installation when you begin drills, but now we can get more specific in our preparations. Part of spring is creating competitive situations with individuals and seeing how they respond. I am excited to see what happens."
This Friday and Saturday's sessions are without pads. The team will hold its spring game on Saturday, April 16, at noon.
Spring Practice Schedule
Practice #1 - Friday, March 18, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. (Non-pads)
Practice #2 - Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Non-pads)
Practice #3 - Tuesday, March 22, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #4 - Thursday, March 24, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #5 - Friday, March 25, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #6 - Tuesday, March 29, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #7 - Thursday, March 31, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #8 - Saturday, April 2, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Practice #9 - Tuesday, April 5, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #10 - Thursday, April 7, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #11 - Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Women's Institute)
Practice #12 - Monday, April 11, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. (Non-pads)
Practice #13 - Tuesday, April 12, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #14 - Thursday, April 14, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Practice #15 - Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Spring Game and Barbeque)
Spring Practice Kicks Off Today for CMU Football
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