- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 67-mile stretch separates two of the best Division 2 programs in the country.
“It just happens to be two great programs fighting it out, and we just happen to be 60 miles of each other,” said Ferris State Head Coach Tony Annese.
Pulling up to a Ferris State practice, you’ll find Annese in his element, but you won’t find him at Saturday’s game.
“Technically speaking I can be at the game. Just got to buy my own ticket. So I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”
After winning back-to-back national titles, Annese was suspended for one postseason game after two players lit cigars in a smoke-free locker room.
“When people said, ‘Why would they suspend you for your first playoff game? I said, ‘Well, that’s because they’re going to put us against Grand Valley. That was in March!'” Annese remarked.
As his players get ready to make the trip south, they’ll notice a quieter sideline.
“(I’ll miss Annese’s) yelling, his ‘Go go go go!'” imitated wide receiver Xavier Wade.
“(I’ll miss) hearing his voice, ‘Come on, defense, get a sack! Come on, Lere!'” added defensive lineman Olalere Oladipo.
His team won’t hear him during the game, as Annese is barred from communicating with them. Instead, he’s trying to focus on getting his team ready for Saturday.
“When I stopped feeling sorry for myself and start to put it into perspective, I know my team will be fighting for me on the sidelines,” said Annese.
So while he won’t make that drive south, he’s focusing on the road to a national title.
“Self pity’s the greatest form of self-destruction, so I just gotta suck it up, and be a big boy,” Annese said.