Key Renegade Players to Watch for at XFL Training Camp

The XFL Dallas Renegades go into training camp as one of the favorites to win the league title with head coach Bob Stoops leading the way, and quarterback Landry Jones commanding the offense. The team has talent on both sides of the football and plenty of speed. With all the talent the team has assembled, training camp will be a time for Stoops and his staff to try to figure out who will be stars on the team and who will be their playmakers.

Here is a list of players Renegade fans should look out for at XFL training camp in Houston.

Landry Jones, Quarterback

This is kind of a no-brainer as he was the first XFL player to join the league, and is the leader of this team. He has had months to work with Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Hal Mumme to learn the offense, and help the others catch up and learn from him. He showed great sharpness in his play at minicamp and displayed strong arm strength when throwing it down the field. Players on the team will look at him to carry the team as they get used to the offensive system and Stoops will challenge him to take the next step in his development as a professional player. Jones should be an early preseason candidate for MVP and could take the league by storm, thanks to his high football IQ and his speedy wide receivers.

Lance Dunbar, Running Back

He’s been out of football for a few years after dealing with lingering injuries, but now he’s back in North Texas to become one of the team’s most important weapons. He’s known for being a strong third down back with great hands and enough speed to run outside the tackles. He won’t put up huge stats in the running game, but he could lead the team in total scrimmage yards with running the ball and catching. He’s a great weapon for Mumme to move around whether that be lining him up in the backfield or flexing him in the slot. He provides plenty of professional experience and skills to be used in the offense.

Jeff Badet, Wide Receiver

Badet is just one of the many, many receivers with plenty of speed, and has already built good chemistry with Landry Jones. Badet was shown playing in the slot plenty of times during mini camps and was able to call all the balls thrown his way. While the receiving group is talented, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the starting lineup from game one with his familiarity with Bob Stoops and what he is looking for in his offense.

Frank Alexander, Defensive End

Another former Bob Stoops player that should use his veteran leadership and experience to help the defense grow. Alexander was well known for his pass rushing skills in college, and with the Carolina Panthers. He displayed his skills of being able to fight off blocks and get to the quarterback. Defensive coordinator Chris Woods will ask Alexander to help the younger defensive linemen learn the defense and lead by example. Expect him to be either a starter on defense, or be a key factor in the defensive line rotation for this season.

Jonathan Massaquoi, Linebacker

His NFL experience helps make him a valuable asset to this defense. With Chris Woods running a 3-4 defense, Massaquoi had a chance to run in that defense with the Atlanta Falcons where he recorded six sacks and 70 tackles in his NFL career. He spent time with the Birmingham Iron where he sacked the quarterback three times in eight games. He has a lot of speed and will be a good pass rusher off the outside from a defensive end or linebacker position. Being one of the older players on the team, Massaquoi will be able to help this defense learn fast and go hard on defense.

Derron Smith, Safety

The hard-hitting, ball-hawking safety should be one of the most important parts of the defense. He displayed plenty of skills while playing for the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF last year after recording three interceptions. His coverage skills are strong and make him one of the best in the XFL. He will be looked at as one of the leaders on a talented secondary, and should help make the defense one of the best in the league.

Austin MacGinnis, Kicker

MacGinnis had a successful college career with knocking in 79% of his field goals at Kentucky. After not making the Chicago Bears and not getting signed to the Dallas Cowboys this past season, he found success with the Memphis Express of the AAF where he hit 9-11 field goals. He’s got good range from long distance and has been consistently accurate in his career. Another success run in a professional setting could help him take the next step.

Others to Watch

Cameron Artis-Payne (RB), Stacy Coley (WR), Treston Decoud (CB), Willie Beavers (OL), Alex Balducci (C), Greer Martini (LB)

Dallas Renegades Adds Three Players, Cuts One

James Quick-Christian Kuntz-Derrick Puni
James Quick / Christian Kuntz / Derrick Puni

The Dallas Renegades join in with many teams in making roster changes on Thursday when they added three more players to their roster and made the decision to cut safety Jalen Harvey. Harvey was going to have a tough time finding playing time as the safety position was deep with Derron Smith leading the way. With the recent roster moves, the team was able to get to 70 before training camp gets underway on Saturday in Houston. Here are the newest members of the team.

James Quick, WR, Louisville

James Quick has some height to him at 6 foot 2 inches which makes him one of the tallest receivers on the team. While he won’t be the fastest receivers on the team, he will make with sure hands. He had a successful college career at Louisville where he caught 126 receptions for 2,032 yards and 14 touchdowns. After spending time with the Washington Redskins and stepping away from the game for two years, he joined the Atlanta Legend of the Alliance of American Football where he caught 10 passes for 98 yards.

He will be brought in to compete for a starting job as an outside receiver in Hal Mumme’s offense. While the competition will be stiff with the deep receiving core, Quick should be able to find his place in the offense and use his height to help him earn a spot on the roster.

Christian Kuntz, LB, Duquesne

Christian Kuntz was a team captain and a star defensive player at Duquesne where he recorded 136 tackles, 21.5 sacks, four interceptions, and five forced fumbles in two seasons there. He got a chance to compete in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s also developed into a long snapper and could compete with Owen Gilbert for the long snapping job. He should fit in with the linebacking core with a ton of speed and athleticism and may be asked on to move into a defensive end role to pass rush from the outside.

Derrick Puni, OT, Central Missouri

Hal Mumme’s offense requires athleticism from his offensive lineman and that’s exactly what he will be getting with Derrick Puni. During his time at Division II’s Central Missouri, Puni was able to earn AFCA 1st Team All American and D2Football 1st Team All American. He played both left and right tackle during his time in college before getting on the Dallas Cowboys as he competed for a job in the NFL. His experience in the shotgun style offense should help give him an advantage in competing for a spot on the roster.

Meeting the Dallas Renegades Coaching Staff

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.

Breaking Down the XFL’s First Trades

The past few months have been filled with historical events from the league announcing its return to announcing team names to its first draft. Thursday was different though. We saw our first trades in the league’s history.

This week, news came out about the LA Wildcats making some cuts to its roster so this week seems to be the first round of roster moves made by all eight teams. We got a taste of the first trades by four of the franchises.

LA Wildcats Trade DT Leon Orr to the Tampa Bay Vipers for DT Trevon Sanders (December 11th)

This trade was actually made on December 11th, but not announced until Thursday so this is the official first trade in XFL history. Both the Wildcats and the Vipers decided to swap defensive tackles in Leon Orr and Trevon Sanders.

Orr heads back to his home state of Florida where he played at the University of Florida. He proved to be a force in the middle of the defensive line against the run while also showing he can get to the quarterback as he recorded 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in four seasons. He bounced around between NFL teams with the Raiders and the Dolphins. Earlier this year, he joined Steve Spurrier in Orlando with the Apollos in the Alliance of American Football where he recorded ten tackles in eight games. Orr will have to compete with Ricky Walker, Giorgio Newberry, and Josh Banks in training camp for roster spots.

Trevon Sanders was dominate during his time in college with Troy where he recorded over 100 tackles, 16 of them for a loss and six sacks from the defensive tackle position. Sanders was on the New York Jets in the NFL before getting drafted by the Vipers in the XFL Draft. He was expected to be competing for a starting job over in Tampa, but with the roster changes the Wildcats have been making, he might have a chance to make an impact on the defensive line. Under the leadership of a defensive-minded coach like Winston Moss could help him develop through training camp.

Tampa Bay Vipers Trade CB Arrion Springs to the LA Wildcats for CB Jalen Collins (December 17th)

CB Jalen Collins to @XFLVipers; CB Arrion Springs to @XFLWildcatsThey must have enjoyed their first trade so much that they decided to work together again on another trade involving their defenses. This time both teams wanted to make a move in their secondary.

Despite not known for being a ballhawk, Arrion Springs possess great coverage skills as he was a strong tackler at Oregon where he recorded 137 tackles, two interceptions, 44 pass deflections, three force fumbles and one fumble recovery. Springs has NFL experience as he bounced around between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers. He will be another new defender who should benefit from Moss and will compete with what is a young cornerback room.

Jalen Collins is another example of a surprise roster move by the Wildcats as he was predicted by many to be the veteran leader of the defense with his experience in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons where he saw playing time during the 2016 season with two interceptions in eight games played and led the team in tackles in their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots. He is one of the most experienced players in the league and shouldn’t have any trouble making the Vipers roster. He does have character issues as he was suspended four times during his NFL season. This could be his chance to prove his worth and be one of the best pass defenders in the XFL.

Dallas Renegades Trade WR Keith Mumphery for St. Louis BattleHawks LB Markus Jones (December 18th)

WR Keith Mumphrey to @XFLBattleHawks; LB Markus Jones to @XFLRenegadesThe Renegades have one of the deepest receiving cores in the league and with so much speed and talent on the roster, it’s no surprise Dallas decided to take advantage of their deep depth chart and find ways to improve other parts of their roster.

The rich keep getting richer for the BattleHawks as they add to their own deep receiving core that includes NFL veterans Quinton Patton and Terrance Williams. Mumphrey is known for his great play at Michigan State where he caught 88 balls for 1348 yards and seven touchdowns in his college career. He has great speed and looked good during mini-camp as he was able to get good separation from corners during one-on-one coverage. He could fill in at the slot for St. Louis if he was able to win a roster spot. His speed also makes him an asset on special teams with returning experience with the Houston Texans as that could be his ticket to make the team.

Markus Jones is no slouch player as he was one of the best defensive players in Division II football Angelo State where he was named National Defensive Player of the Year as he recorded a school record 17.5 sacks and had a career mark of 37 sacks. He was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens before making his appearance in the XFL. He’ll be a perfect fit in Chris Woods’ 3-4 defense as he has a ton of speed that can be utilized on the outside pass rush. He has a knack for hitting the quarterback and can play defensive end or linebacker so I expect him to be able to alternate between the two positions. This was a win-win trade for both teams.

Dallas Renegades Mini-Camp Observations

The Dallas Renegades hosted an open practice meet and greet event on Saturday as it gave fans their first glimpse into what the team is going to look like for the upcoming season. This is also a time for players to take advantage of the time together to not only learn their new systems in offensive coordinator Hal Mumme’s air raid offense and defensive coordinator Chris Woods’ 3-4 scheme, but a chance for them to build chemistry together. Fans saw first hand how much speed and talent is on the offensive side of the ball, and how strong the secondary is looking, after watching seven-on-seven drills. Despite not having the pads on quite yet, there were several tell-tale signs that things are looking up for Bob Stoops’ team.


Strong QB Situation

This is the quarterback situation that has the least amount of drama as it is clear cut that Landry Jones will be the starter, and Philip Nelson will be his backup. One thing that fans can tell: both of them look capable of running the air raid offense. Both quarterbacks displayed beautiful deep balls thanks in part to the speed of the wide receivers, but both quarterbacks threw perfect spiral passes and the placements of those passes were put in perfect spots. It’s the working relationship between the two that have helped in their development early.

“Landry’s been teaching me a lot,” Nelson said. “I really just kind of follow him around and try to learn as best as I can. Obviously, he has experience in the NFL and I’m just somebody who, it doesn’t matter who you are, I always like to learn from somebody. I can humble myself and anything that I like, I learn from you. Landry’s been a big help for me so far in this offense, especially because he got signed way back, and they have been working on this offense for a little bit, so he’s been teaching me everything so it’s been really good.”

Jones has gone as far as impressing Bob Stoops with his play on the field as well. “Landry in just a week and a half is got the offense down signal and everything,” Stoops said. “He could go out and play a game right now.”

It wasn’t all perfect though, as Jones missed an open Steven Dunbar in the back of the end zone during seven-on-seven when they were near the goal line and Nelson missed on some fade routes in the end zone, but they show pose in the pocket, and understand the system well. The chemistry that they have with their talented receivers were clear from practice and could be scary for opposing defenses once it is developed through training camp next month in Houston.

Deep, Fast Receiving Core

Oh boy, is this receiving core fast! There is so much speed around all their receivers as they displayed it well in all their deep routes they ran during practice. Jeff Badet and Stacy Coley were standouts during practice as they were able to effectively get open and have sure hands. They weren’t the only ones that were impressive in front of the fans.

Flynn Nagel, Joshua Crockett, and Jazz Ferguson stood out with me as both had really good practices on Saturday. Nagel’s 5-11 stature makes him a perfect slot receiver and showed really good hands. He reminded me of a young Wes Welker. If he keeps it up, I could see him compete for one of the two starting slot receiver positions when they run four receiver sets. Crockett is taller and would be more effective on the outside, but ran really good routes and was tough to cover on streak routes. With him being the second tallest receiver in the group, he will need to take advantage of that, and try to make the team by utilizing his height. Another tall receiver that showed good talent: Ferguson. He’s their tallest receiver at 6-5 and showed great ability in adjusting to the ball as he made an impressive over the shoulder catch during practice that impress his teammates and the crowd.

Running Back By Committee

Cameron Artis-Payne was taking first team snaps along with Dimitri Flowers as his fullback/halfback. Artis-Payne showed he’s going to be their inside runner as he has a ton of strength to him, but also showed that he has good hands out of the backfield. He looks to be the favorite to lead the running game.

We also got to see plenty of Dallas Cowboys fan favorite Lance Dunbar, Austin Walter, and Darnell Holland. Dunbar continued to show his main strength, which is to help in the passing game. I can see him being utilized on third down as another pass catcher. The North Texas product had 647 receiving yards in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams, but hasn’t played since the 2017 season. For Dunbar though, it’s a second chance to step on the field and strap on the helmet once again.

“I just want to get the opportunity to play,” Dunbar said. “Injuries has been my problem in the past and you know I’m healthy. Been healthy for two years and wanna play football.”

Walter and Holland may both either get spots on the roster or both will have to compete for the number three running back spot on the depth chart.

3-4 Defensive Knowledge

Chris Woods is known for running his 3-4 defense when he was a defensive coordinator at Texas State. He will be implementing that same system into his new defense as he will be looking for speed in the secondary and his outside linebackers as pass rushers. One of those speedy linebackers they brought in was former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi. He played in the NFL from 2012 until 2016 before rejoining pro football in the Alliance with Tim Lewis’ Birmingham Iron team that saw him with a successful run recording three sacks and ten quarterback hits. Without pads on, this mini-camp for the younger players on defense is about learning and adjusting to the new system.

“That’s been a great process for me being a vet and helping these guys come along and seeing them out there making plays,” Massaquoi. “We’re all going to need to come together and win championships and win games together. I’m just happy to be apart of this team and contribute any of my skill set as possible.”

While there is much to be learned, Stoops was confident in where his defense needs to be at this point of the season. “We’re right where we want to be,” Stoops told reporters at the meet and greet. “Coach Woods and our staff there defensively, we’ve got everything in, guys are making checks on the line, and really very few hiccups so it’s been solid.”

Strong Secondary Play

These mini-camps are hard to judge on the defense since there is not much hitting without the pads on, but there was plenty to see with the secondary having to cover all that speed with the receivers. The corners looked good during practice as they showed to have speed of their own. Most had the majority of their practice dealing with one-on-one coverage.

Stand outs in the secondary included Dashaun Phillips and Treston Decoud who will be competing for starting jobs on the team. Both played coverage well in their one-on-one drills and were able to make a play on the ball when they were working. They should be the ones to look like along with AAF standout Derron Smith and NFL veteran Josh Hawkins.

Bob Stoops’ Leadership

For Stoops, he’s familiar with most of the players on the team as he had the chance to recruit most, if not all of them at one point in his college career. Four players on the team are former Stoops players, while the rest are new to working under him. Most of the players on the team are new with Stoops, but he’s given his players a strong first impression through mini-camp as well as the rest of the coaching staff.

“He’s a great player’s coach,” Dunbar said. “The guys are right behind him. Still learning, still getting to know him, still early so we’re still getting to know him, but he’s a great coach.”

“He’s a very good coach obviously,” Nelson said. “He has a lot of accolades. So far it’s been really good.”

“Coach Woods is amazing and Bob Stoops is great,” Massaquoi said. ‘The whole staff is just pristine, pristine all the way around.”

Dallas Renegades Receiver Ryan Broyles Retires

The first day of Dallas Renegades’ mini-camp opened up with one of its most recognizable players retiring before stepping on the field for the first XFL game of the season.

Dallas Morning News Sports Reporter Joseph Hoyt tweeted on Thursday that a team spokesman told him that former University of Oklahoma wide receiver and Dallas Renegades draft pick Ryan Broyles has retired from football. The team will have the right of first refusal on Broyles if he would decide to return to football and play in the XFL.


He was going to have tough competition with a deep Renegades receiving core, but was going to be looked at as the veteran presence on offense to help groom some of the younger receivers on the team. His chemistry with quarterback Landry Jones and relationship with head coach Bob Stoops from their time with OU was going to be seen as a strength for them when he was drafted.

Broyles was drafted by the Renegades in Phase Five of the XFL Draft back in October where he was expected to team up with Jones after he helped Broyles earn two All-American honors in 2010 and 2011.

The 31-year-old receiver was a former second round pick of the Detroit Lions who played just three seasons with his last season playing football back in 2014.

Flashing Renegades Black and Blue: Dallas Renegades Uniform Review

The XFL took their next major step to reach their 2020 season with players reporting to mini-camps for the first time Tuesday. Not only that, but the XFL revealed uniforms for all eight of their teams. Teams slowly unrevealed their uniforms in front of players, coaches, and media. One of the first teams that showed off their new threads was the Dallas Renegades.

New quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Jeff Badet came out on stage to remove the cloths from the models of their new uniforms. Those in attendance got to see that Jones will be wearing his signature number 12 while we saw that Badet will be wearing his number 13 jersey for the Renegades this season.

Let’s break down and examine the looks of the uniforms and how it lived up to and exceeded fan’s expectations.

Home Uniform

Let’s first examine the look of the home uniform as the first thing that fans can notice is the XFL decided to go with black as the main color for the body. This is mixed in with the light blue on the shoulders, the sleeves, and the sides of the jersey. The red stripe can be found on the side of the shoulders. The numbers are outlined in white with the main color being light blue and the name of the player on the back of the jersey will be black.

A big thing to note with the jersey is the name of the Renegades, players names, and numbers are all embroidered which has been popular with fans.

The pants for the home uniforms also showcases a black body that included light blue sides and red on the sides as well. The XFL logo has the X outline being light blue and the “XFL” letters being in red.

Away Uniform

The away uniform shows off a mostly white body. The shoulders are filled with black shoulders and red stripes while a black line going down the side of the body of the jersey. There are also light blur cuffs on the jersey as well.

As for the names and the numbers on the jersey, the Renegades name logo found in the front of the jersey is shaded in black. The numbers have a black outline and blue as the main color on the inside. The names on the back are in light blue.

The pants are a solid white that have a black and light blur stripe on the side of the pants. The XFL logo has the big X outlined with black and the inside black. The “XFL” letters are similar to what the home uniforms had with the color being red.

Another key factor to include with both uniforms is that they were manufactured by Custom Outfitters.

Helmet

The helmets are from Riddell that shows fans that the design of it was inspired by their logo. The main color of the logo is their light blue that includes a black facemask. The logo blends in perfectly with the side of the helmets. You can see the big stripe going around the top of the helmet with a thin red stripe going in between the black. The Renegades name logo in the front of the helmet was in a light blue color.

Overall Impression

This demonstrates to me, as well as with the other uniforms, that the league didn’t want to be over the top with the designs, but have something subtle in those uniforms that gets fans excited. I love the fact that they would use the black as their main color for the home jerseys as I would have done the same thing. The black looks slick while the nice blend of the light blue and the small red stripes on both the home and away uniforms really helps with them too.

Nothing would have made more sense than to have light blue as the main color for the helmet as it works with the black and white jerseys. The black and red stripes on the helmets makes a ton of sense and looks good on the helmet. I’m glad the league decided to use Riddell for their helmets are they are one of the best in the business in helmet equipment.

You can find the replica home jerseys on sale for $79.99 at Shop.XFL.com. Authentic jerseys with the number 20 will be on sale for $225 and will be available to buy on December 17th. If you want to customize the jerseys, they will be available at the stadiums during XFL games.

Mini-camps will officially get underway for teams on December 5th and run through the 18th before breaking for the holidays.

Bob Stoops Squashes Florida State, College Rumors

All that we have been hearing in the past few weeks was the rumor that Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops was going to bolt from the team and head to Tallahassee to coach the Florida State Seminoles football team after they fired Willie Taggart with only a season and a half under his belt.

After Taggart’s firing, the rumors grew like a wildfire when Stoops was found in early November at a Dan Marino Foundation event held in Florida. There were even journalistw based in Florida that were convinced that he was going to agree on a deal with Florida State to be the head coach. Stoops took this chance to shut down the rumors by telling ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit that he was not a candidate for the job.

This week, XFL coaches and team presidents are at the league’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut as they discuss the upcoming season. Stoops gave fans more of a reinsurance when he commented on why he came out of retirement to coach the Renegades by saying, “I believe in this league. I believe in our leadership. I believe in these head coaches, that we’re gonna put a good product out there. That’s going to be exciting, and fun to watch, and fun to be a part of.”

He also made an appearance on ESPN Central Texas Wednesday where he answered a question about his future in coaching college. ““Well you never know what the Lord is going to bring you,” Stoops said. “Everybody wants you to define your life at every age. At 50, they wanted me to know what I was going to do the rest of my life. And at 55, and now at 59, everyone thinks you gotta, you know, who knows what I’ll be doing next year or the year after. You don’t know what you’re going to be doing next year. And the good Lord is the only one who knows. We’ll see where things end up for me.”

This isn’t new to Stoops as his name was brought up for the Auburn job last season when Gus Malzahn was on the hot seat before keeping his job. Fans should expect this to not be the end of the rumors as well as his name has also been brought up for the USC job should that be open.

He will always be at the top of every college head coaching job as he’s one of the most decorated coaches in college football in the past two decades and in history. Renegade fans can rest assure that Stoops seems to be staying for at least this upcoming season.

Fans can watch Bob Stoops and the Renegades kick off their season at their new home in Globe Life Park when they take on the St. Louis Battlehawks Sunday, February 9th at 4:00 pm central time.

Analyzing the Dallas Renegades 2020 XFL Season

Dallas Renegades Schedule

The next step in progressing the XFL season took place Tuesday when they release team schedules for the upcoming 2020 season. The Dallas Renegades are one of the most highly anticipated teams of the season simply due to Bob Stoops coming out of retirement to coach the team while also teaming up with his former Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.

We will examine the Renegades’ ten game season and see which of the games to watch out for and how their home games stack up to their road games.

Week 1: St. Louis BattleHawks (Home, Sunday, February 9th at 4:00 pm CT on ESPN)

One of the most anticipated games of the season comes in week one where Globe Life Park will, for the first time, not be a baseball stadium and we get a first look at how Stoops, Landry Jones, and the high-flying offense operates. BattleHawks’ offense will test Chris Woods’ crew early with Jordan Ta’amu’s mobility and strong backfield. BattleHawks safety Kenny Robinson from West Virginia may give Jones some issues as he debuts as the first college player to leave school for the XFL.

Week 2: LA Wildcats (Away, Sunday, February 16th at 2:00 pm CT on ABC)

First road challenge for the Renegades as their defense has to play good pass defense against Norm Chow’s offense. Should be interesting to see how they do playing an earlier game on the west coast, especially for those younger players who may not be as experienced with it as some of the NFL vets like Jones and Lance Dunbar.

Week 3: Seattle Dragons (Away, Saturday, February 22nd at 4:00 pm CT on Fox)

Brandon Silvers really impressed in the last few weeks of the Alliance season with the Memphis Express which could cause some problems for the Renegades’ secondary. Another road test for the Renegades on the west coast and on a shorter week should show us how good the Renegades are. CenturyLink Field is one of the toughest, loudest places to play in the NFL and the crowd noise could play a factor in how the Renegades’ offense plays out.

Week 4: Houston Roughnecks (Home, Sunday, March 1st at 3:00 pm CT on FS1)

The only in-state rivalry in the XFL should have the state of Texas excited for the XFL’s version of the Lonestar Showdown. Also a great showdown between two great former college coaches in Stoops and June Jones. Dallas’s rush defense will have to be on full display as they could be facing one of the best backs in the league in Andre Williams. Hopefully by this week, Landry Jones and the offense is comfortable enough to be going full speed.

Week 5: New York Guardians (Home, Saturday, March 7th at 4:00 pm CT on Fox)

Matt McGloin leads an offense that has plenty of talent at the receiver position with DeAngelo Yancey and Mekale McKay. Back-to-back home games should help the team play well behind their home crowd.

Week 6: DC Defenders (Away, Sunday, March 15th at 3:00 pm CT on FS1)

Cardale Jones plays in front of his home crowd as this team is loaded with talent on offense and defense. This may be their toughest challenges of the season being on the road and having to deal with Pep Hamilton’s offense.

Week 7: Tampa Bay Vipers (Away, Saturday, March 21st at 1:00 pm CT on ABC)

Tampa Bay has a great-looking running game with De’Veon Smith and defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville’s crew looks tough from top to bottom. Traveling back-to-back weeks on the east coast, this game may be a trap game for the Renegades as we dive deeper into the second half of the season.

Week 8: Seattle Dragons (Home, Sunday, March 29th at 5:00 pm CT on FS1)

The Dragons will make their debut in Dallas as things start to get interesting in terms of the playoffs picture as both teams have been fans’ choices to be the two best teams in the west.

Week 9: Houston Roughnecks (Away, Thursday, April 2nd at 7:00 pm CT on Fox)

The first of two straight weeks playing in prime time on Thursday has the rematch of the Lonestar Showdown from a month prior. Getting closer to the playoffs should make this game a must-win for the Renegades to fight or secure a spot in the playoffs. A short week will makes things interesting and show which coach is up for the task of getting their teams ready for the game.

Week 10: LA Wildcats (Home, Thursday, April 9th at 7:00 pm CT on Fox)

Both teams look good enough on paper that this game could determine who goes to the playoffs or who stays at home. It could even be a preview of the Western Finals game the next week. Either way, both offenses will be putting up a lot of yards so should be a fun game for fans to watch on the Renegades’ second straight prime time game on Thursday.

Conclusion

The early west coast road trips could cause a hiccup or two for the Renegades early, but their home games should be in favor of them. Week 9 could present a challenge with a short week, but they got to love the fact that they could be on prime time the last two weeks of the season for all fans to see. This shows the league understands that the Renegades have two of the biggest names in the league (Stoops and Jones) and they want them on national television as much as they can. The expectations are high as many have picked the Renegades to either win the XFL title or make the title game. If they lose both of their first two road games of the year, it could smell trouble for their season. The best part about a ten game season? Every game counts.

LA Wildcats XFL Draft Recap

LA Wildcats head coach/GM Winston Moss has proven to be one of the more vocal coaches on social media as he has already won over the city with his attitude and approach to coaching. He hired long time NFL/college offensive coordinator and former Hawaii head coach Norm Chow to run the offense with the intent to throw the ball far and often. Defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson will take what he learned from Bill Belichick with the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns as a player and New England Patriots as an assistant coach to his style of defense which will be speed off the edge from his defensive ends and linebackers (a position he thrived in for 13 seasons). Here is a look at who they were able to draft to represent Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Quarterback Assignment: Luis Perez, Texas A&M Commerce

New Wildcats quarterback Luis Perez had an incredible college career in Division II where his Texas A&M Commerce team won the school’s second national title in 2017 as well as took home the Harlon Hill Trophy (Division II’s Heisman Trophy) after throwing for over 5,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. In his two seasons playing at Texas A&M Commerce, he threw for over 8,300 yards with 78 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Perez made a fan out of Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay after playing well with the team in the 2018 preseason leading to him making the practice squad for a short time. He made the leap to the Alliance of American Football where he was selected in the first round of the quarterback draft by the Birmingham Iron. After being named the starter, he led the Trent Richardson-led Iron to a 5-3 record, throwing for over 1,400 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions.

Don’t let the stats deceive you as Perez had two games that saw him throw for two picks in each of those games. He came on strong once he got comfortable with the ball and played smart football. Richardson stole the show with eleven touchdowns with most consisting of short yardage runs. He was known more for being a good game manager, but Perez thrives the most when he is let loose to throw the ball around. Iron’s offense was more balanced with power running, but expect his numbers to look a lot like his college days in Chow’s pass-happy offense.

Phase One: Skill Players

  1. Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina
  2. Rashad Ross, WR, Arizona State
  3. Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado
  4. Brandon Barnes, TE, Alabama State
  5. Larry Rose, RB, New Mexico State
  6. KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
  7. Martez Carter, RB, Grambling State
  8. Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa
  9. Scott Orndoff, TE, Pittsburgh
  10. Donteea Dye, WR, Heidelberg

The receiving core highlights a strong start for the Wildcats in Phase One as their second and third round picks were among the best receivers in the Alliance. Rashad Ross has blazing speed and reliable hands that resulted in him being leading the league in touchdown catches (7) and top three in catches and yards (36 catches and 583 yards) in eight games while playing with the Arizona Hotshots. Spruce was second in the league in catches (38) and proved to be a reliable target for the San Diego Fleet throughout their season. KD Cannon is also a name college fans will recognize as two of his three seasons at Baylor consisted of at least 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has great speed, but needs more professional experience after jumping around between teams in the NFL.

As for the running game, it will be led by North Carolina star Elijah Hood and New Mexico State star Larry Rose. Hood is better running between the tackles being the bigger, stronger back. Watch out for Rose to be the faster, more elusive back who has great hands. They should make for a great 1-2 punch between the two.

Looking at the tight ends they drafted, expect Scott Orndoff to be more of the receiving tight end as he put up good numbers in the passing game catching ten touchdowns in his last two seasons attending Pittsburgh. Orndoff also caught 7 balls for 130 yards and a touchdown while playing for the Orlando Apollos in the Alliance. Brandon Barnes also appeared in the Alliance where he recorded 9 receptions for 75 yards with the Memphis Express. Expect the two to battle it out for the starting tight end job.

Phase Two: Offensive Linemen

  1. Storm Norton, T, Toledo
  2. Fred Lauina, G, Oregon State
  3. Ryan Pope, T, San Diego State
  4. Jaelin Robinson, T, Temple
  5. Damien Mama, G, USC
  6. Nico Siragusa, G, San Diego State
  7. Ryan Cummings, G, Wyoming
  8. Lene Maiava, T, Arizona
  9. Tyler Roemer, T, San Diego State
  10. Anthony Morris, T, Tennessee State

Norm Chow and his offensive staff put a lot of emphasis on pass protection and making sure to have young, strong tackles on each side of Perez. With the first overall pick of Phase Two, Storm Norton joins the Wildcats after having experience with the Lions, Cardinals, and the Vikings in the NFL. Standing at 6 ft 7 in, expect him and fellow tackle Ryan Pope to be handling each end of the line. Second round pick Fred Lauina also comes in with NFL experience with the Browns and should help with pass protect and give the line some versatility.

Phase Three: Defensive Front Seven

  1. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
  2. Eric Pinkins, LB, San Diego State
  3. Latarius Brady, DT, Memphis
  4. Willie Mays, DE, Tiffin
  5. Tre’ Williams, LB, Auburn
  6. Leon Orr, DT, Florida
  7. Reggie Howard, DT, Toledo
  8. Corey Vereen, DE, Tennessee
  9. Adrian Hubbard, DE, Alabama
  10. Owen Roberts, DT, San Jose State

Anthony Johnson leads the pack in Phase Three has the biggest name on the list from his days as a run stopper and pass rusher in college including 22 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Johnson also has four years of NFL experience and played well with the Memphis Express in the Alliance recording two sacks. Latarius Brady will be able to move around on the defensive line and play at the end or nose tackle. Brady does an exceptional job making plays against the run.

Eric Pinkins played well in the Alliance with the San Diego Fleet averaging about 3-4 tackles per game and proved to be a good open field tackler. Willie Mays is a versatile weapon that can play both defensive end and linebacker. Tre’ Williams made big plays at outside linebacker at Auburn after being named second team all-SEC. He should be another linebacker that can come off the edge quickly.

Phase Four: Secondary

  1. Jack Tocho, CB, North Carolina State
  2. Jaylen Dunlap, CB, Illinois
  3. C.J. Moore, CB, North Carolina Central
  4. Roman Tatum, CB, Southern Illinois
  5. Jordan Powell, S, Widner
  6. Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor
  7. Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
  8. Jerome Couplin, S, William & Mary
  9. Mike Stevens, CB, North Carolina State
  10. Bryce Cheek, CB, Akron

Jack Tocho played well with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance under former Iron head coach and current St. Louis BattleHawks defensive back coach Tim Lewis where he deflected six passes and grabbed one interception. Playing under another defensive-minded head coach should take him to the next level in his development. Jaylen Dunlap played great coverage at Illinois recording 11 pass deflections in his junior year, but needs more playing time on the professional level.

Ahmad Dixon had a successful career as a safety in Baylor and was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He should compete for a safety role as he proved to be good in coverage and is a highly active tackler for being in the secondary. Jerome Couplin has the most NFL experience in the secondary as he played for about 3 years in the league and last played in the Alliance with the Orlando Apollos. Expect him to be the veteran presence to help the younger players. C.J. Moore and Roman Tatum both played well in college and will get a chance to show their coverage skills on the big stage.

Phase Five: Open

  1. Taryn Christion, QB, South Dakota State
  2. Marsean Diggs, S, UAB
  3. Winston Dimel, RB, UTEP
  4. Nico Evans, RB, Wyoming
  5. Alex Fuches, LB, California
  6. Quentin Gause, LB, Rutgers
  7. Jalen Greene, WR, Utah State
  8. DeQuan Hampton, WR, USC
  9. Tyree Holder, CB, Ball State
  10. Joshua Jenkins, CB, Army
  11. Adonis Jennings, WR, Temple
  12. Taiwan Jones, LB, Michigan State
  13. Jalan McClendon, QB, Baylor
  14. Cordon Moog, TE, Baylor
  15. Ryan Navarro, LS, Oregon State
  16. Dame Ndiaye, DE, Portland State
  17. Nick Novak, K, Maryland
  18. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
  19. Damian Prince, T, Maryland
  20. Cedric Reed, DE, Texas
  21. Colton Schmidt, P, California-Davis
  22. Jerimiah Spicer, LB, No College
  23. Micah St. Andrew, G, Fresno State
  24. Johnny Stanton, TE, UNLV
  25. Andrew Stelter, DT, Minnesota
  26. Patrick Vahe, G, Texas
  27. Jaleel Wadood, S, UCLA
  28. Kermmit Whitfield, WR, Florida State
  29. LaDarius Wiley, S, Vanderbilt
  30. Andrew Williams, DT, Auburn

The biggest name on this final phase list no doubt was Shawn Oakman. It was an initial surprise for many XFL fans to see him still available after day one, but Oakman is a monster on the line who has plenty of strength to get off blocks and be nightmares for quarterbacks. I can see him start or be apart of the defensive line rotation. Love his motor and should be a fan favorite when teams start practicing.

Nico Evans is a player we got to examine on this very website as he showed great vision and really hard to take down after first contact. After rushing for over 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns at Wyoming last year, he was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles for a short time before being let go. He’ll compete for a roster spot and might get a chance to join in the running back rotation.

On behalf of all former Alliance fans, I was glad to see Taiwan Jones drafted as he was signed to the Memphis Express 24 hours before the league officially folded. Now, him and Alex Fuches I expect to compete as they were great tacklers with high football IQs playing in Division One football. Punter Colton Schmitt and kicker Nick Novak are NFL veterans that add to a reliable special teams unit. I think the two are the best, most experienced duo in the XFL.

Conclusion

Norm Chow knows he’s got a young quarterback who is still in the early stages of his professional career, but this was a best case scenario for Perez as he fits better with Chow’s offense. His receiving core is strong with players mixed with great speed and hands. Fits perfectly with an offense that will pass as much as the Dallas Renegades will.

Defensively, this should be a solid unit with Pepper Johnson’s background in defense and work with two of the smartest minds in NFL history with Belichick and Bill Parcells. Oakman will be viewed as a player fans want to see play often and could make a major impact early. Anthony Johnson is another defensive lineman that will make an immediate impact. This could be one of the strongest defensive lines in the league.

Moss will have to get used to being a first time head coach, but with his strong coaching staff and talent on both sides of the ball, the secondary will be the focal point as to if those young players are ready to shut down the strong passing games that are in the West with the Renegades (Landry Jones) and Seattle Dragons (Brandon Silvers).