Ready for fall practice

MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University welcomes back its football players for fall camp beginning Thursday in preparation for the season that opens in just over three weeks.

The Wildcats begin at home in the Superior Dome against Northwood University at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6.

NMU’s first fall practice will run from 3:10 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, either inside the dome or outside on the NMU practice fields, depending on weather, which will help determine where other practices are also held.

The team practices each day through Saturday, Aug. 23, with the exception of Aug. 22, and has two practice times on Aug. 19, 21 and 23.

The team will hold a scrimmage in the evening of Aug. 19 or 21 and also a full scrimmage from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. on Aug. 23.

“Training camp is always an exciting time for all players and coaches,” said third-year head coach Chris Ostrowsky. “I believe our team is ready to take the next step in the process in becoming a brand we all will be proud of as Wildcats.

“There’s a lot of pride in the locker room and I’m excited to lead this group of young men.”

Practices will be held afternoons at about the same time as Thursday except for the two-a-days, which will run from around 8:30 to 10:45 a.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

On Tuesday, the GLIAC media day, NMU was picked to finish seventh in the North Division in the annual GLIAC Preseason Football Coaches Poll.

The Wildcats received 12 points in voting done by the coaches in the eight-team division after their 3-7 record last year tied them for sixth place.

This year, however, Northern faces just four teams that had a winning record in 2013.

Season-opening opponent Northwood was just 2-9 last year and it won’t be until the Wildcats’ next home game in the fourth week of the season that they will face an opponent with a winning record in 2013. That will be Michigan Tech for Homecoming at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Grand Valley, an NCAA Division II national semifinalist in 2013, was tops in the poll’s North balloting with 49 points, followed by Ferris State with 42, 2013 North regular-season champion Saginaw Valley State 35 and MTU 30.

The rest of the votes included Hillsdale with 26, Wayne State with 21 and Northwood with nine.

In the seven-team South Division, ’13 division champ Ohio Dominican made the top of the list with 36 points, followed by Findlay with 30, Ashland 27, Lake Erie and Walsh tied with 16 each, Tiffin 14 and Malone eight.

GVSU and Ohio Dominican received all possible first-place votes as coaches voted for teams within their division except for their own squad.

Season and single-game tickets are now on sale for the NMU football season. For more information, call the NMU Ticket Office at 227-1032 or by visiting the website www.nmu.edu/tickets.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee.