The Merrimack College football team officially began its 2018 season with the opening of preseason camp on Thursday, representing the first athletic department program to return to campus for the start of the 2018-19 academic year.
Nearly 100 different student-athletes filed into North Andover for the start of the 2018 campaign; Thursday’s itinerary included check-in at the Merrimack Athletics Complex, moving into dorms and apartments; team meetings, strength and conditioning sessions and — finally — culminated with with the first practice of the preseason under the lights at Merrimack Stadium.
Preseason camp spans a stretch of nearly three weeks, as the team eyes the season opener at Bloomsburg University. Classes begin the following week.
Merrimack finished the 2017 season off with a 4-5 record in Northeast-10 Conference play and nearly upset Division I Bryant (49-41) early in the season. The Warriors won three of their last five games in convincing fashion and could be primed for a breakout season in 2018. Merrimack returns 15 total starters from a team that boasted an offense that ranked No. 2 in the NE10 in both total offense and first downs per game, as well as the top-ranked rushing defense and third-ranked defense (yards/allowed) in the league.
The Warriors, under the guidance of sixth-year head coach Dan Currran, were picked sixth in the 2018 NE10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Thursday. After their season opener on the road at Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) member Bloomsburg on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 2 p.m., Merrimack will host defending league champion Assumption a week later (Sept. 8) at 6 p.m. in its home opener.