CMU Football Reports For Preseason Camp

MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan University football program officially began the defense of its 2006 Mid-American Conference championship Sunday.

The Chippewas reported to campus Sunday afternoon for the beginning of preseason camp.

"Obviously this is the time of year where everyone is very excited and very anxious, and we're looking forward to getting things going," said first-year head coach Butch Jones.

The itinerary for the opening day of the preseason is relatively light. The only mandatory activities for the team Sunday are dinner and the first full team meeting of the season early Sunday evening. Central Michigan takes the practice field for the first time Monday afternoon.

"I'm really looking forward to that first practice," Jones said. "I'm very anxious to see what types of leaders we had emerge during the summer workouts, and I'm eager to see how our passion and intensity level is when we take the field.

"From the time practice starts until the time practice ends," he added, "we need to become a better football team. We must improve every time we take the field."

Per NCAA regulations, every team in the country must go through an acclimatization period to open camp. Part of that process mandates that players can only work out in helmets and shorts for most of the first week of preseason drills.

"Since we're only in shorts and helmets, that obviously limits your contact," Jones said. "We're going to work very hard on the overall fundamentals and techniques of each position and all of our special teams during the first few practices."

Jones and his staff will be looking for answers to a few specific questions during the early part of camp as well.

"We still have a lot of unknowns here," Jones said. "We had 19 surgeries during the offseason from last fall, and 13 of those individuals were not with us during the spring, so we need to find out how well a lot of those guys have healed. I'm anxious to see where we are as a team, where we are in terms of health and where we are mentally."

The Chippewas are scheduled to practice once during the afternoon Monday-Friday. The first double-session of camp is slated for Saturday.

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