By all reports, the Tampa Bay Vipers were making an extraordinary effort to prepare for the planned shortened play clock that will be ever present when the league kicks off next month.
By incorporating a “big red 25-second play clock” that was counting down during the team’s practice, players and coaches were able to become more accustomed to the shortened play clock, and the XFL’s fast-paced brand of football was tested.
Players are discovering they have to make an effort to keep pace and quickly prepare for the next play.
“We gotta make sure everybody’s aligned… that’s the biggest thing,” tight end Nick Truesdell said. “If somebody’s way down the field and they’ve got to run back, we gotta be aware of that because we’ve got a short amount of time.”
Truesdell also pointed out that the XFL’s innovative in-helmet coach-to-player communications will assist the offense to get ready for the next play.
“We’re not getting in the huddle, so we got to make sure we hear everything and get lined up quick,” he said.
The shortened time between plays is also effecting the coaches, as Vipers offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo pointed out.
“There’s no doubt that the play clock is a concern. You have to, as a playcaller, go through a number of different scenarios. Where the ball’s at, the down and distance, we’re in field goal range, and all those things have to be processed rather quickly. You have to be two or three steps ahead of the game.”
The shortened play clock is one of the most exciting changes the XFL has made for their upcoming season. We can’t wait to see how this effects the quality and pace of the game.