Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football program officially opened fall camp today (Aug. 13) as the squad's newcomers and returning veterans reported for the start of FSU's 105th varsity campaign in Big Rapids.
Tuesday's opening day slate includes new player physicals, residence hall check-ins, a Bulldog Council lunch with head coach Tony Annese followed by team meetings, a picnic and position groups later this evening.
The Bulldogs will continue the fall orientation activities on Wednesday in preparation for the official start of the first practice on Thursday afternoon at Top Taggart Field. Players will check-in with trainers and the equipment room in the morning with team photos and NCAA compliance meetings scheduled for Wednesday afternoon prior to a team dinner and team rules session.
FSU's second practice will take place on Friday and the Bulldogs will continue single practice sessions on the turf until the first two-a-day workouts are allowed. Based on the NCAA's acclimation period, all players must wear helmets only the first two practices followed by two days of half-pads work with the first day in full gear coming on Monday.
Ferris' three-week training camp period will not only feature practices and scrimmages, but also meetings, lifting, conditioning, testing, orientation sessions and more leading up to the season opener.
The Bulldogs return more than 40 letterwinners and 17 starters from a year ago when they finished with a 7-4 overall record in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) during Annese's debut campaign.
Among the returnees for the Bulldogs this campaign are five returning all-conference honorees in quarterback Jason Vander Laan, offensive linemen Carlin Landingham and Adam Bennett, defensive lineman Corey Stone along with wide receiver Jake Lampman. They are among nearly 80 returnees expected back from last season's roster to go with more than 50 newcomers.
Ferris State begins its 105th season of varsity competition by facing a North Dakota State on Sept. 7 at Gate City Bank Field inside the Fargodome at Fargo, N.D. The Bison are the two-time defending Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Champions and the preseason number one team in the country. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (ET) and the contest will be televised live by ESPN3.
The week one test will kickoff an 11-game Bulldog football slate in 2013 that features five home contests at Top Taggart Field and a 10-game GLIAC schedule. FSU will play its home opener the following week on Sept. 14 as the Bulldogs open league action in Big Rapids against the Lake Erie Storm starting at 7 p.m. (ET).
Expectations are high at Ferris State in year two under Annese. The Bulldogs posted a 7-4 overall mark in his debut season last fall (2012) and FSU ranked among the nation's top 10 teams in both rushing offense and total offense.
The Bulldogs recorded several impressive wins under Annese's direction a year ago, including beating archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic for the first time since 1999, snapping a 10-year losing streak to Michigan Tech and topping defending national runner-up Wayne State for the first time in five years. FSU also managed to win seven games for only the second time in the past decade despite facing one of the nation's two toughest schedules in Division II football during the regular-season, according to the Massey Ratings.
Besides putting together an impressive debut season with the Bulldogs, Annese and his staff also inked what is considered to be the nation's top incoming recruiting class in Division II football, according to FootballScoop.com.
Both season and individual game tickets for all 2013 home contests are now on sale and can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (231) 591-2888 or online at StarTickets.com. For more information, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.