The biggest challenge that all eight teams in the XFL had was building their coaching staffs and rosters from scratch. That can also be the most exciting part of being a part of a new league and a new team as you can bring in people who make the most sense for your franchise. Bob Stoops was one of those head coaches/general managers who had the heavy task of first, building his coaching staff and then add the right players for their systems.
Stoops made it clear to have plenty of college coaches leading the players that include offensive coordinator Hal Mumme and defensive coordinator Chris Woods. This is a staff that has plenty of experience with developing young players to make the leap to the NFL. Now, they will have to deal with professional athletes looking for a second chance at playing pro football.
Here are the coaches that will be leading the team in Arlington in February.
Head Coach/General Manager: Bob Stoops
There’s no secret to the success that Bob Stoops has had in his career: 10 Big 12 titles, six time Big 12 Coach of the Year, two-time Walter Camp Coach of the Year, AP Coach of the Year, The Home Depot Coach of the Year, and a national champion. That’s what he was able to accomplish in 18 years as the Oklahoma Sooners head coach.
Prior to joining Oklahoma, he hopped around as an assistant for several colleges until he got promoted to Co-Defensive Coordinator for Kansas State with legendary head coach Bill Snyder from 1991 until 1995. In 1996, he started his first of three seasons as Steve Spurrier’s Defensive Coordinator at Florida, helping the Gators win the national title in 1997. His success at Kansas State and Florida made him a hot name for head coaching jobs around the country.
Oklahoma hired him in 1999 when he led them to seven wins in his first season, and then in season two he brought home a national title to Norman as that became the beginning of a historical career. Fourteen of his eighteen years as head coach, the team won ten or more games and never had a losing record in any season. Stoops is the only head coach in the BCS era to have won the Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Rose Bowl. His last season was 2016 where he retired prior to the 2017 season when current head coach Lincoln Riley took over has head coach.
Stoops spent plenty of time in Dallas as OU, and Texas had plenty of meetings at the Cotton Bowl for their rivalry so it makes sense for him to take over the Dallas Renegades. He was the league’s first hire and it sent the sports world a strong message that this league is going to be legit and different from the last time around. It was a strong hire that should be able to develop these players to take the next step in their pro careers.
Offensive Coordinator: Hal Mumme
Hal Mumme created the now “Air Raid” offense that he created during his early high school/college coaching career back in the late 70’s-early 80’s. He scored his first major Division 1 head coaching job in the mid-90’s as he coached Kentucky from 1997 until 2000. During that time, he helped his quarterback Tim Couch become a Heisman candidate and get him drafted number one overall to the Cleveland Browns in the 1999 NFL Draft. Mumme recorded a 20-26 record in four seasons and two bowl appearances. Mumme would jump around different head coaching jobs that include Southeastern Louisiana, New Mexico State, McMurry, and Belhaven. He was also offensive coordinator during that time for SMU and Jackson State.
His offense is predicated on having a strong passing game with a quarterback that can throw the ball down the field, fast receivers on the outside, and running backs who are versatile in catching passes out of the backfield. The players they have drafted sure fits with that mold. Lance Dunbar is known for being a top target on third down to throw it to if there isn’t a receiver open down the field. Jeff Badet, Stacy Coley, and the rest of the receivers can all run a 4.3-4.4 40-yard dash so their receivers should have no trouble getting open on deep passes. Landry Jones has already picked up the offense quickly and should be able to help teach the others as they continue their education in training camp in January.
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Woods
Woods is no stranger to Bob Stoops as he served as a defensive specialist coach from 2015 to 2017. Prior to that, he jumped around as a head coach for Mansfield and Stonehill, and an assistant coach for Harvard, Bryant, Columbia, and Holmes Community College. After his stint at Oklahoma, he was hired on as defensive coordinator for Texas State in 2018, and finished his only year there as the interim head coach of the team.
Woods runs a 3-4 defense that depends on having speed from their outside linebackers to be able to put pressure on the quarterbacks. He needs defensive ends and their outside linebackers to be versatile and be able to switch between both positions. The defense also needs tons of speed, which can be found in all three phases of their defense. Ray Ray Davison, Jonathan Massaquoi, James Folston, Johnathan Calvin, and recently acquired Markus Jones are among those who know Woods’ system well.
Offensive Line Coach: Jeff Jagodzinski
Jeff Jagodzinski has had an interesting journey as a coach as he has both college and professional experience. In 2007 after his time as offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, he was hired to take over the Boston College Eagles. In his two seasons at the helm, he led the team to 20-8 winning one of their two bowl appearances. He is known for coaching Matt Ryan and Gosder Cherilus who became first round picks. After taking an interview with the New York Jets for their head coaching opening, Boston College fired Jagodzinski after only two seasons. He failed to win the job over Rex Ryan and was eventually hired as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator, but never coached a regular season game for them as he was fired before the last preseason game.
Jagodzinski is familiar with coaching in start-up leagues as he was the head coach for the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL as he only coached for one season before being let go. He would go on to be an assistant coach for Ave Maria, Georgia State, and Notre Dame High School in Tennessee. He has plenty of experience in the both the pros and college which should make him a valuable asset to the offense. He’ll have the responsibility in developing his linemen to have good pass blocks and be athletic on outside runs with the speed they have in the backfield.
Running Back Coach: Bobby Blizzard
Bobby Blizzard and Hal Mumme have familiarity with each other as Blizzard was an assistant coach under Mumme at McMurry and Belhaven between 2012 and 2016. Blizzard would get his first taste of professional coaching with the Memphis Express in the former Alliance of American Football, first as a Wide Receivers Coach, and then as the Offensive Coordinator in week 1 onward. Blizzard has what can be seen as a tough task (in a good way) with picking between Cameron Artis-Payne, Lance Dunbar, Austin Walter, Darnell Holland, and Marquis Young to be the lead back. Knowing Mumme’s offense makes Blizzard a key component in the offense and helping the other players develop in the Air Raid offense.
Wide Receiver Coach: Jarrail Jackson
Jarrail Jackson is a former Bob Stoops player as he was a receiver at OU when Stoops was first hired as their head coach. After a successful senior season under Stoops, he played two seasons with the Buffalo Bills and would play several more years in arena football. Jackson would go on to be an assistant coach for several schools including a six year run at Dartmouth, Davidson College, Mississippi State, and Central Oklahoma. He also was the director of player relations for Washington. Another coach who knows the Air Raid offense having played in it under Stoops and Mike Leach at OU. He’ll get to coach a speedy, talented receiving core posed to make big plays this season.
Quality Control/Tight Ends Coach: Scott Spurrier
As the son of legendary college head coach Steve Spurrier, Scott has experience as an assistant coach as he worked under his father at South Carolina for eight seasons. Scott Spurrier was previously the tight ends coach with his father in the Alliance of American Football for the Orlando Apollos. With familiarity between Stoops and Scott, he should have an easy time working with the tight ends to get them up to speed on the offense.
Defensive Line Coach: Jim Jeffcoat
Jim Jeffcoat should be a familiar name for Dallas Cowboy fans as he had a successful 14-year NFL career winning two Super Bowls with the Cowboys and was their defensive line coach from 1998 until 2004. He would go on to coach defensive lines for Houston, San Jose State, Colorado, and the Orlando Apollos. Led by Frank Alexander, Jeffcoat will have a ton of versatility on the line to move around and play with some speed.
Cornerbacks Coach: Marvin Sanders
Marvin Sanders has a long college coaching career that started in 1992 at Nebraska Wesleyan that led to defensive coordinator jobs at Nebraska-Omaha, North Carolina, Florida Atlantic, and recently Coastal Carolina. Sanders will have the chance to coach a talented group that includes Treston Decoud, Josh Hawkins, Dashaun Phillips, and Jamal Peters.
Safeties Coach: Kenny Perry
Local Dallas high school followers should know Kenny Perry as he was a head coach at Sam Houston High School, Haltom High School, and Arlington Bowie. After his head coaching career in high school, Perry transitioned to assistant coaching roles at TCU and Kansas. Marwin Evans and AAF standout Derron Smith headline a veteran safety crew for Perry to coach.
Defensive Quality Control/Outside Linebackers Coach: Mickey Matthews
Longtime coach Mickey Matthews has plenty of experience that includes defensive coordinator jobs at Texas State, Marshall, and Coastal Carolina. Not to mention that he is more well known for his career as a head coach for James Madison from 1999-2013 that includes a Division I-AA National Title in 2004. He compiled a 109-71 record with six playoff appearances, two conference titles, and only two losing records in his career. Stoops pulled Matthews out of retirement to coach the outside linebackers. He has a deep group with plenty of experience in the 3-4 defense and a ton of speed.
As a former morning sports anchor at KGNC 710 AM in Amarillo, TX and a former TV news reporter at KFDX in Wichita Falls, TX and KXII in Sherman, TX, I have a passion for all things sports (specifically football and basketball). The new look XFL got my attention as a spring football league that can work. I look forward to writing about all things XFL Dallas and covering it for the upcoming 2020 season.