Its officially game week. The Nebraska Danger and Salt Lake Screaming Eagles will open the 2017 Indoor Football League season on Thursday, while the Iowa Barnstormers kick off Saturday.
After two weeks of training camp, a preseason game, and one week of official practices; Iowa will be pitted against the Wichita Falls Nighthawks. Although the team has not had a ton of practices, they’re energy levels are in mid-season form.
Dixie Wooten, Iowa Barnstormers Building Chemistry
“It’s exciting to see guys jumping around this early into camp,” defensive back Jamie Bender said after a training camp practice. “That only says the future is going to be bright around here.”
The increase in energy is something that new Barnstormers head coach Dixie Wooten has brought to the table as he tries to build a culture in Des Moines, IA.
“We’re out here having fun,” Wooten said. “We only get two hours of work in so when we’re out here we are running around, enjoying each other, and enjoying playing football.”
According to linebacker Javicz Jones, it’s paying off.
“It’s crazy how much of the chemistry we have right off the bat,” Jones said. “This is practice, and all of us are just running around like we’ve been playing two years together.”
The Barnstormers’ defense will need to look like they’ve been playing together for two years on Saturday. Wichita Falls holds not only the IFL’s best offense, but also the league’s top quarterback in Charles McCullum.
“Coach Wooten is doing a great job with the guys,” Bender said. “Everything so far has been great from a defensive stand point.”
Wooten commented on the progress the team had made so far as well.
“We’re just getting better every day,” Wooten said. “It’s training camp so we are going to come in and not understand a lot of stuff, but these guys are coming in focused and getting better every day.”
Iowa’s game against the Nighthawks will kick off at 7:05 p.m. and can be live-streamed for free on YouTube.
Photo by Connor Ferguson copyright Last Word on Sports, all rights reserved.