Each developmental football team is its own unique situation. Some teams have a core of guys that have played together for several years, while others have less consistency and more turnover. Then there are a handful of unique situations like the Otero Desert Dawgs.
“We’re 60 percent active military,” Desert Dawgs head coach Kyle Haynie told Developmental Football USA. “We’ve also got a lot of retired military guys. These guys are good, not only on the field, but off the field as well. That’s something we take a lot of pride in.”
With stations being changed and new assignments and deployments being given, a disadvantage for the Desert Dawgs is that their roster can be a revolving door at times. However, a major advantage for them is the general fact that military men are tough, committed and most of them love football.
“It’s always like coaching a brand new team being 60 percent military,” Haynie said. “I’ve got like 10 returning guys, a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. We’re a small community, so we like to get as many people out here as we can and make sure we play as a team.”
With so many unknowns and so much transition every year, the Dawgs are level-headed about their situation, so you won’t see them making a statement that they’re going to win the Rio Grande Football League, like other teams have.
“We just want to compete,” Haynie said. “I’m not really into the whole saying we’re going to do this or do that. We like to do our talking when it comes to the pads on game day. We pretty much focus on playing as a team, more than just individuals. It’s not a ‘next-man-up,’ it’s when you get here you’re expected to work.”
Right now, every team in the RGFL is 0-0 in league play and with the Sun City Reapers closing doors, a new champion will be crowned at season’s end. While there’s a lot of talk that the league champion will come from among the Las Cruces Kings, El Paso Armor, West Texas Drillers and West Texas Scorpions, Haynie believes the playing field is a bit more even.
“I can honestly tell you the league is a toss-up,” Haynie said. “I would say the best traveling team is the team that’s in contention until the end. I just try to focus in house. There are a lot of new teams and a lot of new opponents. A couple of teams dropped out from the El Paso area.
“I’ve seen teams go from not winning one game the year before, then the next year they’re in the championship contention. Our goal is to compete, challenge ourselves, challenge our opponents and show up on game day well-prepared.”
The Desert Dawgs kick off their season at home – Cloudcroft Football Field – against the West Texas Scorpions on March 4. Kickoff is set for 3p.m.
Look for more Otero Desert Dawgs news at DFUSA.