WMU Begins Spring Drills

The Western Michigan University football team begins preparations for the 2003 campaign with the opening of spring practice, which begins Tuesday, March 18 and runs through Saturday, April 12 with the Brown & Gold Game. The Broncos will conduct 12 practices and three scrimmages over the next month, in hopes of addressing several issues.

"Without question, the focus is going to be on ‘team'. We will make sure everyone understands that there is no star system. We're going to have some guys with all-star credentials, but it's going to come about in a team concept," says head coach Gary Darnell.

"Offensively, we want to reestablish a personality and tie in our running game with the passing game. On defense, we want to maintain the confidence that helped us become the No. 1 rated unit in the conference last year. There will be a lot of competition in the secondary, and because of injuries, we need to identify guys at linebacker."

The Broncos return five starters on offense and six on defense, along with 36 letterwinners. Feature players this spring include All-American defensive end Jason Babin, reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the Mid-American Conference. Team MVP Jason Feldpaush returns at weak safety, while 1,000-yard rusher Philip Reed anchors the backfield. At quarterback, Darnell points to Chad Munson and Jon Drach as the focal points, along with developing arms in Blayne Baggett and Robbie Haas.

"Chad and Jon will be the lead horses, but we have a lot of confidence in Blayne Baggett and Robbie Haas. We'll make a decision on how we run our offense based on what we see from our quarterbacks."

All practice sessions are tentatively scheduled to take place at Waldo Stadium. Should inclement weather occur, workouts will be moved indoors to the Seelye Athletic Center. Practices held inside Waldo are open to the public; workouts at the Seelye Center will be closed to the public as construction continues on site.

Media wishing to attend practice sessions are encouraged to contact the WMU Athletic Media Relations Office at (269) 387-4122 to confirm times and locations.

SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE

Tues., March 18 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Wed., March 19 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Fri., March 21 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Sat., March 22 10:00-12:30 p.m.
Tues., March 25 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Wed., March 26 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Fri., March 28 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Sat., March 29 10:00-12:30 p.m.
Tues., April 1 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Wed., April 2 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Fri., April 4 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Sat., April 5 10:00-12:30 p.m.
Tues., April 8 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Wed., April 9 3:15-6:15 p.m.
Sat., April 12 1:00 p.m. SPRING GAME

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