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Wild's first opponent full of familiar faces

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 7, 2011, at 12:04 a.m.

A familiar face will likely be under center for the opposition when the Wichita Wild opens the Indoor Football League season tonight at the Nebraska Danger, an expansion team based in Grand Island.

Veteran Dixie Wooten, who led the Wild to the conference championship last season, is expected to start for Nebraska at quarterback.

Wooten had some accuracy problems last season, and Wild coach Ken Matous had been critical of the QB for holding the ball too long.

However, Wooten is dangerous because of his experience, and he's capable of scrambling and using his size and strength to bull ahead for yardage.

"We've got to get a lot of pressure on him and hope the secondary's coverage keeps him from getting the ball off fast," Matous said. "If he gets it off fast, we could be in trouble."

Wooten is being pressed by Willie Tuitama, who holds several University of Arizona passing records and was the Holiday Bowl MVP in 2007.

More ties — Mike McCoy, former general manager for the Wild, is the GM of the Danger.

McCoy hired former Wichita Stealth coach Sean Ponder, but he left the team in December for personal reasons, according to the Danger. Mike Davis, who led the Omaha Beef to a 10-5 record last season, took over.

Starters — As expected, Clinton Solomon, Edgar Givens and Brandon Walker emerged from a deep group of wide receivers to win starting jobs. Center Fred Hicks, Calvin Collazo and Andrew Dietrich are expected to start on the offensive line. Darius Fudge is at running back and Alex Rouse is at quarterback.

On defense, James McCartney, Marques Walton (NG) and Derek Lannigan will start on the line. Defensive backs will be Byron Garvin, Rashad Washington, Randy Kelly and Brandon Kaufman. Chris Patterson is at linebacker.

Matchup to watch — Walton (6-foot-4, 295 pounds) is expected to make an immediate impact on the defensive line for the Wild. Tonight, he will match up with Nebraska center James Poynter (6-2, 310), one of the best in the IFL.

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