After several months of preparation and practice, the Garland Wranglers will get their first taste of live action in 2017 on Sunday in their pre-season game against the DFW Hawks, before kicking off their Mesquite Indoor Football League schedule in two weeks.
“We want to see how well they can adjust and that’s part of their developing process, putting them in the arena, letting them play and see how well they make adjustments,” Wranglers owner Alan Montgomery told Developmental Football USA. “We’re expecting a good crowd tomorrow.”
Sunday’s game, which is a benefit game for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, will give the Wranglers a good idea of where they’re at in their quest to become winners, as the Hawks are a quality team to measure themselves against.
“They played the Marshals last year for their first game of the year in a pre-season game and they beat the Marshals, so they’re a pretty good team,” Montgomery said. “It’s a good test for us, to see how many of my guys can stand up for us against some guys that have got pro experience.”
Saturday morning, Garland had walkthroughs at 8 a.m. to put the finishing touches on their game preparation.
“We look pretty good, we’re promising,” Montgomery said. “We’ve been practicing outdoors unlike a lot of the other teams, some of them have been fortunate enough to practice in soccer facilities but we haven’t.
“For us to be practicing strictly outdoors and having two rookie quarterbacks and a lot of rookies on defense, they look good today. We got a few compliments from some people. I’m just kind of anxious to see what they look like tomorrow since it’ll be their first contact with another team since they’ve been together.”
While the outcome of tomorrow’s game won’t count for anything, the result of each play will give the Wranglers coaching staff a good idea of who their breadwinners are going to be this season and that certainly does count for something.
“I’m using tomorrow’s game as a gauge to see who’s going to develop faster than others, and those are the guys I’m going to focus on this year to help them out and get seen,” Montgomery said.
“I have a pretty good idea of some of the guys that are going to step up. Defensively, I believe, the defensive side of the ball, I feel confident in saying the defensive line and the linebackers are going to be the strongest part of that defense. We have a six man rotation on that defensive line and all six of them are good enough to start for someone, and a lot of them go both ways.”
Following Sunday’s game, the Wranglers will have two more weeks to prepare for their MIFL kickoff against the Arlington Longhorns on Feb. 26 at 11:30.
“Overall I think we’re going to be ok,” Montgomery said. “It depends how well we gel together as a unit. We try to teach them that one man’s mistake on offense is a reflection of the entire offense and one man’s mistake on defense is a reflection of the entire defense and that’s how we teach them to work together and teach them to be winners. They don’t wake up one day a winner, we have to teach them how to be a winner and they have to work at it every day to become a winner.”