By Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
CSN Insider - Bowl Day 1
NASSAU, Bahamas – The Central Michigan football team arrived here Saturday to begin on-site preparation for the inaugural Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve against Western Kentucky.
First order of business: Taking a long look and drinking in the accommodations at the magnificent Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and the first official team event of the week, the outdoor welcome dinner.
The event featured plenty of Popeyes signature southern fare along with live bands, including the Bahamas Junkanoo Tradition, complete with garish costumes.
“I’m impressed with how they’ve started this thing off with the welcoming dinner and entertainment and everything,” said CMU offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Morris Watts, who will coach in the 15th bowl game in a career that covers more than five decades.
“First of all it starts with the place they’ve chosen,” added Watts, whose lengthy resume includes some of the most prestigious bowls out there, such as the Rose, the Aloha, and Citrus, among many others. “How about this weather? It’s almost Christmas and we’re all sitting out here in shorts and short-sleeved shirts. It’s absolutely beautiful and it’s 8 o’clock at night. It’s top-notch. I’ve got to believe it’s a heck of a thing for the kids to have a chance to be involved in it.”
The CMU traveling party, numbering about 230, arrived at the resort Saturday afternoon after a direct flight from Capital Region International Airport in Lansing.
Most were awed by their surroundings and the weather, which is comparable to mid-summer in Michigan.
“It’s been a blast,” senior right tackle Kevin Henry said. “The people have been really welcoming, the food’s been great, the music’s great. It’s just an all-around a great experience.
“This is just a surreal place. Even on the plane ride over I was feeling like I was dreaming. To spend a week in the Bahamas and then play my last college game ever in the Bahamas, it’s just kind of surreal feeling. I’m looking forward to doing all the cool things, swimming with the dolphins, all that stuff.”
The Chippewas are scheduled to practice for the first time Sunday morning at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium. The Team Beach Bash and Dinner is scheduled for later Sunday.
After Monday morning practice, some of the Chippewas are slated to partake in the youth football leadership clinic.
For the Chippewas seniors, the goal is to make the most of their final days in a CMU uniform.
One of those seniors, Titus Davis, said he is most looking forward to “just experiencing the whole thing, taking it all in and getting to do all the activities they have around here. Getting to spend my last couple days as a Chippewa with my buddies.”