Facing giants

Ferris looks to kick off the season with a win against the Bison

Ferris State football is here, and the road to a championship starts with the daunting task of facing one of the NCAA’s best.

Ferris ended the 2012 season with a 7-4 overall record, and are preparing to add a few more notches in the win column. With a solid group of returning players and one of, if not the best recruiting classes in Division II football. The Bulldogs have a shot at a championship.

This season marks the second year Ferris has been led by head coach Tony Annese, and with astounding offseason recruitment and the addition of new defensive coordinator Lou Esposito, the Bulldogs look to be taking the next step towards building a championship team.

“[Esposito] has brought a lot of intensity to our defense,” Ferris junior wide receiver A.J. McEwen said. “Scheme wise they will be much more aggressive to increase the number of forced fumbles. The defense has taken the same intensity that coach Esposito coaches with.”

The season will not be a stroll in the park though, as Ferris will start the 2013 season pitted against the defending NCAA Division I FCS champions, North Dakota State.

The Bison are coming off a 14-1 season where they took home Football Subdivision Championship crown. The Bulldogs, though, have are not known to back down from a fight.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity to show the world that we won’t back down from anyone,” Ferris senior running back Korey Ringer said. “The offseason has been great; we have a lot more players buying into the system who are committed to winning.”

Another sight to look forward to is the much anticipated return of last year’s explosive signal caller, Jason Vander Laan, who led the team in passing yards and rushing yards just a year ago.

With the return of veterans and also new additions, the Bulldogs will hopefully give the Bison a solid competition.

“We’re not going to sneak up on anyone the way we may have in certain games,” head coach Tony Annese said at media day. “I think we’re at least a team that will have to be more reckoned with.”

With the season nearly here, coaches and players alike have all bought into the winning attitude needed to become champions. The opening game against NDSU should be a great barometer of what is to come.

When asked what kind of team we will see come the opener, Ferris junior running back Jamaal Jackson said, “You will see a very explosive, fundamentally sound offense that scores a lot of points, and you will see a lock-down defense that forces a lot of turnovers. We play football for big games like this.”