The Billings Wolves are ready to have some fun.
The franchise begins its second year in the Indoor Football League Saturday by hosting five-time defending league champion Sioux Falls at 7:05 p.m. at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
While it is Billings' second season in the IFL, those who follow the team will hear a lot about the number one.
"One day at a time," said second-year coach Chris Dixon, who starred at quarterback for the now-defunct Billings Outlaws and Sioux Falls Storm before becoming coach of the Wolves. "The visual this year is one step, one day, one play, one quarter, one game, at a time. We focus on 'one' and ourselves and won't get ahead of ourselves."
Miami native Michael Green, 24, was the defensive rookie of the year in the IFL last season. The defensive back played college football at NCAA Division II Lenoir-Rhyne in North Carolina. Last year, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Green had seven interceptions, two sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries to go with 114 tackles.
This season, Green can't wait to pile up more statistics and help the Wolves score some victories.
"It's very fun to me," Green said of the indoor game. "Being a safety in college, my defensive backs coach was strict on being physical. If we weren't the fastest or strongest, we'd be physical. And in this league you have to be physical."
Dak Britt, 24, of Battle Creek, Mich., returns for his second season as quarterback. Britt, who played college football at Westminster College (Pa.), passed for 33 touchdowns with only six interceptions.
He is appreciative of Billings' fans and said their support "makes our job easier."
"The guys we've added and the guys we brought back can provide a spark and provide a winning product," Britt said. "There are loyal fans. It's an exciting time in Billings. Hopefully we can make people happy and proud."
In their first year, the Wolves went 5-9 and missed the playoffs. Billings started 1-8, but won four of its final five games. Of the losses, three were in overtime and five were decided by seven points or less. In Billings' last game, the Wolves downed eventual league runner-up Nebraska 60-50.
Green said the team can use those experiences from last year to its benefit this season.
"Knowing we have me, Norris (Wrenn III) and Omar (Cook) coming back on defense, we played one year and got our feet wet and understand the game," Green said. "We are the veterans on defense. We'll build on that for sure."
Dixon said 11 players return from last season, including six starters on offense and five on defense.
"What we want to do is get off to a better start," said Dixon, noting two of the Wolves' first four games are at home before a bye week. "We were playing with our backs to the wall (last year) and couldn't get out of the sand."
The Wolves added wide receiver Troy Evans, formerly of the Nebraska Danger. Last year, Evans led his team in receptions and receiving yards. He is a former IFL all-purpose yards leader.
"It definitely makes things easier to have weapons like Troy Evans, Austin Coleman, Julian Laing and Ricardo Miller," Britt said. "It makes my job easier having playmakers around me."
Last year, Laing rushed for 12 scores for Billings and added three more receiving touchdowns.
Sioux Falls is led by the league's coach of the year, Kurtiss Riggs, who enters his 14th season. Riggs has led the Storm to nine league championships.
Dixon said the game will be a "true test of who we are early in the season."
Led by quarterback Lorenzo Brown, Sioux Falls went 16-0. Brown is back under center for his sixth season. Last year, he passed for 39 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 17 scores. Receiver Brandon Johnson-Farrell, who had a 49-yard kickoff return in last year's title game that earned him United Bowl MVP honors, also returns.
"They present a few problems," Green said. "They are very disciplined and run their offense to perfection. ... We have to be mentally focused and remember our checks at the line of scrimmage. We have to be at our best game for this team."
"Sioux Falls is definitely an opponent that brings a lot to the table," Britt said. "They have a winning tradition. They won't beat themselves."