TRAVERSE CITY — Are you ready for some football?
After months of training, the Traverse City Wolves will open the 2010 season on the road today in Lansing against the Capital City Stealth.
This is the second season for the Wolves, who went 8-4 in their inaugural campaign last year in the North American Football League.
Plenty of changes have occurred for Traverse City since last season. The team will have a new home at Thirlby Field and will welcome a new coach in Brad Haney, who replaces team owner Daniel Skibbe on the sideline. Haney previously coached the Grand Rapids Thunder to a United States Football Alliance league title last year.
Record-Eagle sports reporter Mike Eckert recently caught up with Haney to discuss the new season.
R-E: How different is Traverse City and the NAFL to your former Grand Rapids team?
BH: They're completely different styles. Down there, it's speed and finesse. We're power and discipline. It's a different style, but it's refreshing.
R-E: Last year's team had a lot of success in their first season. How do you take that and build from it?
BH: I always accept a challenge, so it was good for me to come into an organization that was already winning. I'm excited that they had a good season and I'm expecting an even better season this year.
R-E: So how much have you changed?
BH: The offense is completely revamped and that's one thing I talked about when I sat down with (owner Daniel) Skibbe. He loved his defense, but (changing the offense) was our focus. Stick with the defense, but bring in a different style offense. That's what we have with a spread. Once these guys start running it more at game speed, our offense will really start moving in the right direction like we want it to.
R-E: You mentioned Skibbe, how much has it helped you to work for an owner that spent last season in your shoes?
BH: It's great. He wants to win just as bad as I do. He knows what he went through as far as being coach, so he goes above and beyond so I don't go through the struggles he went through. As a coach, whenever you have an owner that backs you up and really helps you out, it's always a blessing. That's what he's done for me so far.
R-E: Going into the season opener, what would you say is the strength of the team?
BH: Attitudes. I think they really understand what we have here. And their work ethic is phenomenal. So I think with their attitude and work ethic, we are going to be a phenomenal team. Because the talent is here. Whenever you have the attitude, talent and work ethic these guys have, it's only a matter of timing and repetitions that will make us the team we want to be.
R-E: You lost your preseason game to the Detroit Seminoles, 21-3. Obviously it didn't go as well as you wanted, but what did you learn from it?
BH: It helped us a lot. The win and loss, as a coach and for the organization, wasn't top on our priorities for the preseason game, because it did nothing for our season and nothing for our goal. We went in to find out what our strengths and weaknesses were, and as a coaching staff we walked out of there knowing what our strengths and weaknesses were.
It was a very successful as far as a team aspect. I talked to a couple of captains from last year and they said they didn't face a team like that this early, so when they got into the middle of the season and they faced a team like that, they weren't ready for them. That was one of the things we were excited to bring a good, quality team up here to say to them 'look, this is what it's going to take to get a championship.'
First time playing together, first time coaching together, I thought we did really well.
R-E: The Racine Raiders knocked the Wolves out of the playoffs last year. Besides wanting to beat them because they beat you, how much are they the measuring stick for where you want to be as an organization?
BH: That's one of the reasons that brought me to the NAFL were teams like Racine or the Indianapolis Tornados. They have the same goals as the Traverse City Wolves do. They've got a great organization and they run it like it should be ran. It's a breath of fresh air to go to organizations and have quality teams that have won championships and be able to compete with them.
When you do end up beating them, it will be even more of an achievement as an organization. Because 'hey, we just took on one of the best organizations, and we knocked them off.' We want the Indianapolis Tornados and we want the Racines. I think the (Detroit) Seminoles was the perfect team to help us prepare for them.
R-E: What would you say is your team's theme for this season?
BH: We had shirts made and we all understand it. It's 'one mission.' It's the championship. Anything less will be unsatisfied. We're working at it, we're preparing for it. It's 'one mission.' That's what everybody keeps saying. That's all that needs to be said. It's the two words we all say, we understand it and it's what we're working for.
R-E: How much excitement is there around the team to play at Thirlby this year?
BH: You don't ever want to look too far ahead, but understanding what it is here and understanding the tradition, it gives me goosebumps talking about it. I know the players mention it once in awhile, like 'I can't wait to open Thirlby,' or 'I can't wait to play in front of these fans.' Of course Thirlby is on our minds for the season home opener, but first we've got to beat these first two teams and really get prepared to put on a show for our fans on July 31.
New coach talks football before today's opener
TRAVERSE CITY — Are you ready for some football?
Wolves fall to Detroit
The Traverse City Wolves fell to 2-1 with a 33-13 home setback against the Detroit Ravens.Continued ...
Wolves crushed in season opener
Things started pretty well for the Traverse City Wolves. It all went downhill from there.Continued ...
Traverse City Wolves play Saturday
There'll be a lot of familiar faces on the field Saturday when the Traverse City Wolves open up their 2013 season against the Muskegon Mustangs.Continued ...
Traverse City Wolves 2013 roster
2013 roster for the Traverse City Wolves football team:Continued ...
Traverse City Wolves tryouts Saturday
Open tryouts for the Traverse City Wolves will be held Saturday.Continued ...
- Monday, April 1, 2013
Snowmobile crash victim remembered for his humor
Jeff Gross' distinguishable laugh could be heard across Long Lake, where he lived with his family. He'd spent his free time around the lake, visiting buddies or driving his boat.Continued ...
- Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Sports in Brief: 02/27/2013
Harman to play in all-star game; Osorio set to sign with Concordia.Continued ...
- Saturday, August 11, 2012
Wolves looking to finish with a victory
It's a little earlier than hoped, but the Traverse City Wolves season ends tonight.Continued ...
- Monday, July 9, 2012
Wolves fall to Gators
The Michigan Gators improved to 4-1 with a 37-13 win over the Traverse City Wolves.Continued ...
- Saturday, June 23, 2012
Liles new owner of TC Wolves
The Traverse City Wolves host the Steel City Patriots tonight at Thirlby Field — with a new owner.Continued ...
- Friday, June 22, 2012
TC Wolves return to Thirlby
Saturday’s Traverse City Wolves game against the Steele City Patriots will be held at Thirlby Field at 7 p.m.Continued ...
- Sunday, June 10, 2012
Wolves fall in home opener
Lakeshore scores fourth-quarter TD for 35-27 winContinued ...
- Saturday, June 9, 2012
Wolves ready for home opener
Every year when the Traverse City Wolves take the field for the first time, the dream of returning to the game of football is realized for plenty of first-year players on the team. Ryan Salisbury and Nick Radamaker were among the first-year Wolves to experience that last weekend.Continued ...
Micham set for 2nd season with Wolves
Head coach Rick Micham recently talked about his team and the season with the Record-Eagle.Continued ...
- Monday, June 4, 2012
Wolves win opener
The Traverse City Wolves opened their Great Midwest Football League season Saturday night with a 28-0 win over the Southeast Michigan Mercenaries.Continued ...
- Sunday, August 14, 2011
Wolves win season finale
A determined Traverse City Wolves finished the regular season with a 38-7 win over the Grand Rapids Thunder Saturday at Thirlby Field. The win gave TC a 5-5 record for the season.Continued ...
- Sunday, August 7, 2011
Tigers beat Wolves; playoff hopes still alive
The Traverse City Wolves dropped a virtual must-win game, but still has a glimmer of hope to make the playoffs. The West Michigan Tigers defeated the Wolves 33-28.Continued ...
- Sunday, July 24, 2011
Winning streak ends for Wolves
The Lakeshore Cougars proved why they’re the top ranked team in the Great Midwest Football League.Continued ...
- Sunday, July 17, 2011
Defense leads Wolves to win
Ray Gidley started the party. Shane Pennington and Michael Stagg joined in while Tim Ohlert finished it. All four starting defensive backs for the Traverse City Wolves came up with an interception Saturday as the Wolves picked up a 25-6 win over the Southeast Michigan Mercenaries at Thirlby Field.Continued ...
- Friday, July 15, 2011
New quarterback has Wolves in Hunt
Family brought Florida native Trevor Hunt to Traverse City.Continued ...
Here, he's found another family with the Traverse City Wolves.
- Monday, July 11, 2011
Wolves beat London on Bocardo OT FG
Pablo Bocardo kicked an overtime field goal to give the Traverse City Wolves a 32-29 win over the London Silverbacks.Continued ...
- Sunday, June 26, 2011
Wolves hang on for victory
Ryan Brown returned from an injury and led the Traverse City Wolves to a Great Midwest Football League win over host Grand Rapids on Saturday. Brown was the standout on defense for the Wolves, including being in on the game-saving tackle.Continued ...
- Sunday, June 19, 2011
Wolves fall to Tigers
The Traverse City Wolves dropped a 20-3 decision to the West Michigan Tigers.Continued ...
- Thursday, June 16, 2011
Elk Rapids grad takes reins for Wolves
Imagine the scenario.Continued ...
In the first quarter of Rick Micham's first game as head coach of the TC Wolves, the team's first two quarterbacks are knocked out with injuries and Micham has to turn to his All-Star kicker to go take snaps.
For most coaches, the situation may have come with a lot of stress. But most coaches don't have Pablo Bocardo.
"We would have very easily put him at that starting (quarterback) role, but as valuable as he is kicking the ball, that's huge for us," Micham said.
The Wolves play Saturday at Thirlby Field against the West Michigan Tigers.
- Sunday, June 12, 2011
Wolves punish Punishers
The Traverse City Wolves posted their first win of the season on Saturday with a 32-0 victory over the host Southwest Michigan Punishers.Continued ...
- Wolves fall to Detroit