WMU News

Football team prepares for Sept. 3 season opener

August 12, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's football team began its 1998 fall practice schedule on Aug. 8 with the arrival of incoming freshmen. Upperclassmen reported Aug. 12, and the first day of full equipment practice is Friday, Aug. 14.

The Broncos open the 1998 campaign on Thursday, Sept. 3, with a 7:30 p.m. contest against Mid-American Conference opponent Northern Illinois. The night game will feature annual "CommUniverCity" activities.

"We'll want to acclimate our incoming players to our system as quickly as possible besides previewing some new punters and kickers and determining which of our new defensive backs have a chance to fit in," said second-year coach Gary Darnell.

Darnell directed the 1997 Broncos to an 8-3 record and recognition as the nation's most-improved NCAA Division I-A team.

Once the upperclassmen report, the main emphasis will be to solidify two spots in both the offensive line and defensive secondary, compensating for graduation losses. The kicking game will also be emphasized.

The coaching staff also wants to determine which of two quarterback, sophomore Jeff Welsh (Oak Forest, Ill.) or freshman Jeff Fraser (Bay City, Mich.) to protect through a red-shirt year this fall. Welsh saw 1997 action behind incumbent Tim Lester (Wheaton, Ill.) while Fraser took part in spring drills.

Media contact: John Beatty; 616 387-4138; john.beatty@wmich.edu


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