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Ferris State Football Prepares for 2021 Season

BIG RAPIDS — When the Ferris State Bulldogs kickoff the 2021 season on September 2nd, it will be their first game action since December of 2019.

The 2019 season ended with a loss to West Florida in the NCAA Division II National Semifinals. West Florida went on to win the national championship.

The Bulldogs did not get to play in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but Covid-19 eligibility rules give Ferris State a roster loaded with veteran players.

“We’ve got our top three running backs back. We’ve got our top two receivers back and we’ve got six, count them, six sixth-year offensive lineman,” head coach Tony Annese said. “It’s pretty crazy the experience we’ve got.”

Running back Marvin Campbell is entering his seventh year with the Bulldogs.

“I know when I first figured out that I would have a seventh year I wasn’t so high on it. I’m like ‘oh man, seven years?'” Campbell said. “But now that I’m here and I look back at it, I appreciate with everything that happened, I’m glad to just have another year to compete for a championship.”

Ferris State will open the season at home against the University of Findlay. Unlike Ferris State, Findlay was able to play last season. The Oilers played a six game season in the spring, finishing 4-2.

Coach Annese feels his Bulldogs will actually have the advantage because they have been able to solely focus on practice and their own schemes for so long.

“You don’t get better as a football team playing games,” Annese said. “Sometimes when you’re playing games you’re spending so much time in game preparation with what your defense and offense installs and all that stuff and what the opponent is doing. We’ve just focused on Ferris State and on us.”

However, Annese did joke that after the long layoff it feels like he’s almost starting over as a football coach.

“I’m scared to death, first off,” Annese said. “I feel like I haven’t coached football in my whole life. That’s how I feel right now it’s like ‘Dang! It’s been a long time!'”