Ryan Lingenfelder spent the past two football seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Tri-Cities Fever.
Tonight, as head coach of the Wyoming Cavalry, he will be figuring out how to beat the Fever when the two teams meet at 6:05 p.m. in an Indoor Football League contest at the Casper Events Center.
Fever coach Adam Shackleford will focused on trying to beat his young protégé.
Yet for both of them, to-night’s meeting won’t be weird.
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“They’re a faceless opponent to me,” said Lingenfelder, whose Cavalry is 0-4. “They’ll be wearing a uniform I’m familiar with.”
Shackleford, whose team has struggled out of the gate with a 1-3 record, isn’t into happy reunions.
“My sole focus is to win the football game,” he said.
To do that, he’ll need a better performance from his offense than he got last week in a 54-43 loss to the visiting Texas Revolution. In that loss, Tri-Cities had just 75 yards of total offense.
“(Wyoming has) given up a good amount of points so far this season,” Shackleford said. “My hope is we can keep them under 30 points and we can score more than that. To me, that means being consistent on offense.”
To that effect, Shackleford hasn’t publicly named a starting quarterback yet. Regular starter Kasey Peters and backup Dante Warren shared reps with the offense during practice this week.
“You might be seeing both out there during the game,” Shackleford said. “I don’t like using both quarterbacks during a game. But I don’t like losing football games either. I’m willing to change my philosophy in order to win games.”
Lingenfelder doesn’t like losing games either. But he was brought in after the Cavalry failed to make the postseason last year for the first time since 2004.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle just starting over,” he said. “I’ve got one guy on the roster from last year’s team. I’ve got about 18 rookies on the team. I don’t think our 0-4 record indicates how we’ve been playing. We’re getting better on offense and defense, as our young guys are trying to understand the game.”
Lingenfelder knows the Fever will be tough in this first of four meetings this season between these two teams.
“Obviously, their record doesn’t portray the type of team they are,” he said. “I see a very experienced group of defensive players. I see a very stout offensive line.”
And Shackleford sees an opponent who is going to be no pushover.
“A team that hasn’t won a football game is always hungry for a win, so we need to maintain the momentum,” he said.
Notes: Lingenfelder has a volunteer assistant coach who handles the offensive and defensive line chores for him. He takes care of being the offensive coordinator, the defensive coordinator and the special teams coordinator. It has meant 16 to 18 hour days Saturdays through Tuesdays before he gets to scale it back on Wednesday’s and Thursdays. ... The Fever left the Toyota Center at 8 p.m. Wednesday on a bus, and arrived in Casper at noon local time on Thursday. .. The Fever ranks sixth in scoring at 40.5 points a game, while the Cavalry is last at 22.5. ... Tri-Cities is seventh in defense, surrendering 41.8 points. Wyoming is last at 59.3 points. ... Fever DB Lionell Singleton is third in the IFL with three interceptions.