National Semifinalist Ferris State Opens 2017 Spring Football Practice Tuesday

National Semifinalist Ferris State Opens 2017 Spring Football Practice Tuesday

Big Rapids, Mich. - Reigning national semifinalist Ferris State will officially start preparations for its 2017 gridiron campaign as the Bulldogs open spring football drills this Tuesday, March 21, in Big Rapids.

The Bulldogs will begin their 109th season of varsity competition this coming fall with their sights set on making a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs after reaching the national semifinals this past fall.

Head coach Tony Annese, who is the two-time Football Gazette Regional Coach of the Year, and his Bulldog staff will have the NCAA-allotted total of 15 practices, which will include the annual Crimson and Gold Spring Game on Saturday, April 22, at FSU's Top Taggart Field. Opening kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. (ET).

The Bulldogs' first practice of the spring will take place at Top Taggart Field on Tuesday starting at 11 a.m. (ET) and FSU will generally work out two to three times per week throughout the spring session.  

FSU will conduct a varied spring practice schedule that runs over the course of five weeks from March 21 leading up to the spring game. The spring schedule is subject to change depending on the weather and most practices are slated to take place at Top Taggart Field.

Practices times will also vary with sessions both during the morning, afternoon and evening depending on the day of the week and various class schedules.

Ferris State is coming off another historic campaign as the Bulldogs posted a 12-3 overall record in 2016 while advancing to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals for only the second time in school history. In 2016, the Bulldogs also posted a school-record tying 12 victories. Ferris State received the program's third-straight NCAA Football Playoff berth and captured the Super Region Four Championship by beating archrival Grand Valley State during a memorable postseason run. The 15-week campaign, which included three postseason playoff wins, was the school's longest in 108 years of Bulldog Football.

Over the last three seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 34-5 overall record and claimed two conference championships, posted two unbeaten regular-seasons, captured a regional title and reached the national semifinals. Ferris State has also accumulated two Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student-athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won four postseason games.

In the five seasons under Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 49-12 overall mark in the last five years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival.

Overall, Annese has won 83% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 274 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.
Ferris State will return nearly 60 letterwinners for the 2017 campaign, including nearly 18 starters.

2016 Spring Practice Schedule:

Practice #1 - Tuesday, March 21, 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Practice #2 - Friday, March 24, 3-5:30 p.m. 
Practice #3 - Saturday, March 25, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #4 - Tuesday, March 28, 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Practice #5 - Friday, March 31, 3-5:30 p.m. 
Practice #6 - Saturday, April 1, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #7 - Tuesday, April 4, 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Practice #8 - Friday, April 7, 3-5:30 p.m. 
Practice #9 - Sunday, April 9, 1-2:30 p.m.
Practice #10 - Tuesday, April 11, 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Practice #11 - Wednesday, April 12, Evening Practice TBA
Practice #12 - Thursday, April 13, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Practice #13 - Tuesday, April 18, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #14 - Friday, April 21, 3-5:30 p.m.
Practice #15 - Saturday, April 22, 1 p.m. (Crimson & Gold Spring Game) 

NOTE -- All Eastern (ET) start times and locations are subject to change.