Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University, which has advanced to the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals each of the past two seasons and ranks as Michigan's winningest program over the past six years, will officially start preparations for its 2018 gridiron campaign as the Bulldogs open spring football drills March 16 in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs will begin their 110th season of varsity competition this coming fall with their sights set on making a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs after reaching the final eight of the NCAA Playoffs each of the past two years, including a national semifinal berth in 2016.
Head coach Tony Annese, who is a 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 14, at FSU's Top Taggart Field. Opening kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. (ET).
The Bulldogs' first practice of the spring will take place at Top Taggart Field this week 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 16 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 reached the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals in 2017 for the second consecutive year. The Bulldogs made their fourth-straight trip to the D2 Playoffs and posted an 11-2 record, marking the first time in school history in which FSU has won 11 games or more in four-straight seasons. This past summer, Hero Sports picked FSU as Michigan's Best College Football program regardless of division.
Over the last four seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 45-7 overall record and made four consecutive NCAA Playoff appearances, claimed two conference championships, posted two unbeaten regular-seasons, twice made the national quarterfinals, 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 six postseason games.
In the six seasons under Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 60-14 overall mark in the last six years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) since his arrival. Twice he's been tabbed as the Super Region Coach of the Year at Ferris State.
Overall, Annese has won 83% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 285 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.
2018 Spring Practice Schedule (UPDATED):
Practice #1 - Friday, March 16, 3-5:30 p.m.
Practice #2 - Saturday, March 17, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #3 - Sunday, March 18, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #4 - Wednesday, March 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #5 - Friday, March 23, 3-5:30 p.m.
Practice #6 - Sunday, March 25, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #7 - Wednesday, March 28, 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Practice #8 - Thursday, March 29, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Practice #9 - Monday, April 2, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #10 - Wednesday, April 4 - 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #11 - Friday, April 6, 3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Practice #12 - Sunday, April 8, 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Practice #13 - Wednesday, April 11 - 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #14 - Friday, April 13, 3-5:30 p.m.
Practice #15 - Saturday, April 14, 12 p.m. (Crimson & Gold Spring Game)
NOTE -- All Eastern (ET) start times and locations are subject to change.