Head coach Brian Kelly has been impressed with the attitude his club has exhibited since kicking off spring drills on Friday, March 18.
"Our players understand there is a sense of urgency this spring and although there is no Indiana, Penn State or Toledo to play, they understand each day is important," Kelly said. "I continue to remind our players that we have lost out on two weeks of practice that Northern Illinois and Toledo had in getting ready for a bowl game. So, every day we go out there in spring practice, their needs to be a sense of urgency and we have seen that with our football team."
Central Michigan spent the first two days in practice without pads, which gave the coaching staff a good idea of where the team stood heading into the spring season.
"First and foremost, we learned there has been a lot of continuity from year one to year two with our systems," Kelly said. "Secondly, we found that a lot of the good habits that were formed last season, relative to practice, carried over. So, from that standpoint, we were able to put in more and more of our offensive and defensive system. Our kids know what to expect in practice. During those two days a lot of programs might be just running around and getting acclimated, but we really got a lot of good work done."
The Chippewas strapped on the pads on Tuesday morning and wasted little time getting after it.
"We competed hard on Tuesday," Kelly said. "I want competitive guys, guys who love to compete. There is no room to hide in our program, relative to that term, and if you don't compete, you won't be on the field. We saw guys competing hard on Tuesday, so that was good to see."
CMU's two returning All-Mid-American Conference players, defensive end Daniel Bazuin and running back Jerry Seymour, are two of the players that have left the biggest impression on the coaching staff during the last week.
"Dan and Jerry are two of the guys who have truly stood out during the first few days of drills," said Kelly. "Dan is going to be a dominating player for us and he has continued to show that even in the three days of practice. With Jerry, everything you hear about him is true. He works hard and has gotten faster and stronger during the offseason."
A player who has switched positions during the offseason and made an immediate impact on the coaching staff is safety Marlin Maxwell.
"Marlin really showed the kind of play at safety we sorely missed last season," Kelly said. "He is aggressive, can tackle and covers a lot of space on the field. There is nobody right now like Marlin in our secondary, and he clearly showed that during the first few days."
The Chippewas conclude spring drills on April 16 when they play their spring game. The game is set for noon in Kelly/Shorts Stadium with an autograph session and barbeque to follow.
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