Football team and fans alike excited for Mitch-a-Palooza

GVL Archive / Brian Sevald
Football Head Coach Matt Mitchell

GVL Archive / Brian Sevald Football Head Coach Matt Mitchell

Brady Fredericksen

The 2011 football season may be five months away, but Friday’s Mitch-A-Palooza at the Laker Turf Building will give Grand Valley State University fans a chance to catch their Lakers in action sooner rather than later.

The event, which begins at 11:45 p.m. Friday, will give fans a chance to see the team in a fun and different atmosphere similar to the basketball program’s Tip-Off Madness.

“The event is a great way for fans to get their ‘football fix’ while also previewing our 2011 team,” said second-year GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell, for whom the event is named.

Fan involvement will be a big part of the Mitch-A-Palooza festivities as the athletic department will offer t-shirt tosses and other activities throughout the hour-long practice. Organizers will also be keeping fans up to date on what is going on by introducing the fans to the team through interviews with coaches and players during the practice.

Fans will also be provided with food thanks to the involvement of Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Food and fun aside, fans like junior Ray Callahan, who attended all of the Lakers’ home games last season, are excited to see the new-look team in action.

“I’m looking forward to going just to see what the team looks like early, given the change at quarterback,” he said. “These are fellow students that we have classes with, so it is fun to see guys that you know from class.”

The team finished last season on a disappointing note in its 38-6 playoff loss to Augustana College, but the Friday’s Mitch-A-Palooza represents the first organized practice for the team since season’s end. Not only will the Lakers introduce fans to a new group of players competing for the starting quarterback job, but also to an array of other position battles throughout the roster.

“I think this is great for our students and fans to be able to get up close and personal with our players and coaches,” said Tim Selgo, athletic director. “This is a chance for them to get to know the Lakers a little bit and have some fun as we kick off our spring football practice.”

Mitchell said the football portion of the event will be just like a normal practice starting at midnight.

“(Mitch-A-Palooza) promotes a great atmosphere that helps our team get emotionally ready to play,” he said. “I think it helps make the first practice more exciting than it would normally be.”

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