It is a turbulent time to become the head coach of the Milaca Wolves, but Cory Anderson seems to be taking it in stride. The long-time assistant to Randy Johnson, who had been the head football coach since 2002, recently took over and not only has to contend with the usual coaching duties, but also a possible change in scheduling.
The Minnesota State High School League announced last week that the state will be divided into 18 districts to start in the 2015 season. The move, which pushes Milaca into a district with most of their Granite Ridge Conference foes as well as the Wright County Conference and others, was implemented to help teams with scheduling issues. Anderson believes it probably won’t change much for Milaca.
“It doesn’t really effect us too much, so I’m fine with what they did,” Anderson said.
However, he does believe the division into sub-districts will bring a new opponent or two onto their schedule.
“It will be interesting to see what they do with the sub-districts, because that will, in essence, be our conference,” Anderson said.
Anderson said that leaders are contemplating three basic options as to how to divide the district. One would be a geographical approach. This would likely put Milaca with Albany, Foley, Little Falls, Annandale, Cathedral, Becker and Zimmerman. Another option is to go by school size. In that case Milaca would likely be grouped with Cathedral, Foley, Annandale, Holy Family Catholic, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Watertown-Mayer and New London-Spicer. The final option would be a north/south split, which would likely keep the Granite Ridge mostly intact with Becker traveling south and one southern team perhaps New London-Spicer, Watertown Mayer or Annandale moving up into the north. Anderson is not too worried though about what happens.
“We’ll play whoever we get assigned to, we’re not going to run from anybody,” Anderson said.
As far as the regular offseason duties for Anderson they have been fast and furious.
“I feel like I’ve been cramming five months of offseason work into one months time,” Anderson said. “It’s been kind of a whirlwind. I spend an hour or two on football a day right now, and it will only increase.”
It makes Anderson focus toward next fall and getting the players back onto the field.
“I’m just looking forward to coaching football again, and less of the CEO stuff,” Anderson said. “It’s always fun getting back with Friday nights under the lights.”
His 17th season under those lights will be his first as head coach, and he returns a number of players with experience.
“We’ve got 23 kids that were juniors last year, and assuming they all return that will be a good core,” Anderson said. “We have three starting wide receivers back, two quarterbacks back and four of the five starting lineman back.”
“We know we need to work on some running back spots and defense, but we have a lot of kids coming back, and I think we can score some points,” Anderson added.
The spread, zone-read offense will remain for the season, but the defense will have a new look.
“I decided I’m going to keep running that until it doesn’t make sense to run it anymore,” Anderson said about the offense. “I was ready to kind of move on, but I was looking at the kind of players we’re going to have back and this is the offense built for those kind of kids.” “
On defense we will keep the same shell, but it will look and be run differently,” Anderson added.
Though he wished to make more changes, he also did not want to heave an entirely new system on to the kids’ backs.
“I didn’t want to upset the whole apple cart on the kids, so we’ll change the defense this year, and just tweak the offense,” Anderson said.
Jeremy Mikla will be the defensive coordinator. He is also a long time assistant for the Wolves. The biggest thing that Anderson hopes to do as head coach is change the attitude both on the field and in the stands when it comes to Milaca football.
“I want to brand Milaca football,” Anderson said. “When people talk about us, I want us to have an identity, and I want to re-establish that, and we’re calling that the Wolves way.”
That begins right away this season.
“One mantra that we’ll have is that nobody will work harder than us,” Anderson said. “I want teams to call us relentless, and just that they wouldn’t give up, that’s the name that I want.”
“I’ll know then the boys will leave the program better football players and stronger men,” Anderson added.
Milaca was 2-7 last season, but lost a close 15-12 game to Cathedral in the quarterfinals of the section playoffs.