KENNEWICK -- Chris Williams left the West Texas Roughnecks after last season and became the head coach for the New Mexico Stars.
But while the Stars are considered an expansion team in the Indoor Football League, their roster has a lot of IFL experience.
"About half the roster played for me last year," Williams said.
The Stars will host the Tri-Cities Fever at 6:05 p.m. today at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, N.M., and Williams said some of his guys want redemption against Tri-Cities.
"To be honest, our added incentive is that half our roster was part of the West Texas playoff team that lost to the Fever last year," Williams said.
The Fever beat West Texas 61-49 in the first round and eventually reached the title game.
Fever coach Adam Shackleford doesn't expect anything less than the best from a Williams-coached team.
"I know Chris Williams is a good football coach," Shackleford said. "I've gone up against him for years. Nothing we do is going to surprise him. We're gonna get everybody's best. We don't sneak up on anybody anymore."
Shackleford said his team must hold New Mexico under 35 points.
"If we can do that, we win," he said.
But quarterback Arkelon Hall -- who at one time played at Washington State University -- is capable of putting up points.
Williams is worried, however, because he's missing two of his three starting offensive linemen -- one to injury and one to a team suspension.
"Defensively, I see a bunch of good athletes for the Fever," Williams said. "I see an athletic defensive front, so I'm really concerned with that based on our protection."
He also is worried about Fever quarterback Houston Lillard.
"We have to contain him," Williams said. "He gets better every season, every game. He's just a whole lot better at quarterback each time he plays."
Shackleford would agree.
"With all of the penalties and all of the distractions last week against Wyoming, I almost forgot Houston was 14-for-19 passing," Shackleford said. "I'm proud of the way he's playing. He's very steady, very composed."
By the numbers
The Fever is ranked second in the IFL in scoring at 57.6 points, while the Stars are 15th out of 16 teams at 32.7. ... The Stars have the top defense, surrendering just 38.3 points a game. Tri-Cities is tied for third at 41.2. ... Fever RB Dennis Kennedy is third in the IFL in all-purpose yardage at 565 yards. WR Steven Whitehead is fifth at 558. ... Lillard is third in QB rating (115.6) and in TD passes (21). ... Kennedy is second in rushing with 209 yards, while Lillard is fifth at 193. ... Whitehead is tied with Wyoming's Dante Dudley for the league lead in receptions with 38. ... LB Tray Hardaway leads New Mexico's defense with 29 tackles in three games. ... Fever DB Lionell Singleton still is No. 1 in the league in interceptions with six. ... Singleton is tops with pass breakups at six, while teammate Marquise Liverpool and the Stars' Hardaway are tied for second with four.
Shackleford signed DB DeLeon Gause last week, and he could play tonight. Gause comes out of Boston College and spent a little time in camp with the Miami Dolphins. ... Shackleford put OL Lance Evbuomwan on short-term injured reserve, while DL Darian Barnes was activated. OL Will Falakiseni should miss tonight's game after being ejected last week against the Cavalry. ... Fever WR Giovanni Stanley will be a game-day decision. What looked like a problem with his knee is more like a bruise that has moved into his calf. ... The Colorado Ice signed WR Larrone Moore earlier this week. Moore started the season with the Fever, but he was released last month when Shackleford signed WR Tre Young. ... The league's leading tackler is former Fever LB Ameer Ismail, who has 56 tackles in four games for the Bloomington Edge.