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.

Dallas Renegades XFL Draft Recap

What a week it has been for the Dallas Renegades as not only did they complete their first ever XFL Draft, but they introduced the renderings of Globe Life Park once it’s officially a multi-purpose field for football and soccer.

The week started with the revealing of the eight quarterbacks assigned to their XFL team and then an additional 70 players were added to the rosters the next two days separating between five different phases with offensive skill players, offensive linemen, defensive front sevens, secondary, and the rest of the pack.

Like I had mentioned earlier in the week in my article recapping day one, Dallas Renegades head coach/general manager Bob Stoops and his staff had a plan already in place. They wanted to add a ton of speed on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Let’s take a look at the decisions made by the Renegades and why many believe they had one of the strongest draft classes of the eight teams.

Quarterback Assignment: Landry Jones, Oklahoma

This was the most predictable move of the young XFL league as many had predicted that this might happen to reunite Bob Stoops with his former quarterback. He was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football history as he threw for over 16,000 yard and 123 touchdowns at Oklahoma.

His professional experience starting with being drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started 5 games while appearing in 18 games throwing for over 1,300 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. After being cut in 2018, he would have short stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders before being cut by both teams.

Jones should come into the season as the clear-cut starting quarterback as he for now will only have to compete with former San Diego Fleet (Alliance of American Football) quarterback Philip Nelson. He knows Stoops very well and is comfortable in offensive coordinator Hal Mumme’s air raid offense so expect Jones to put up big numbers in the air with his strong arm and smart decision making. He should be an early favorite for preseason MVP.

Phase One: Skill Players

  1. Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma
  2. TommyLee Lewis, WR, Northern Illinois
  3. Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn
  4. Stacy Coley, WR, Miami (FL)
  5. Sean Price, TE, South Florida
  6. Kelvin McKnight, WR, Samford
  7. Philip Nelson, QB, East Carolina
  8. Lance Dunbar, RB, North Texas
  9. Donald Parham, TE, Stetson
  10. Dimitri Flowers, RB, Oklahoma

Stoops and Mumme wanted to have a ton of speed come from their receivers and they got that in Jeff Badet, TommyLee Lewis, Stacy Coley, and Kelvin McKnight as they spent 4 of their first six picks on wide receivers. The only concern coming from this group is the lack of height which they would make up for in the final phase of the draft. Sean Price and Donald Parham should make up for the lack of height as they will be good targets for Jones to throw to on short yardage situations and goal line.

NFL veterans Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar make up an experienced and balanced attack coming out of the backfield. I expect to see former Dallas Cowboy Dunbar make a lot of catches out of the backfield on third down as he has one of the best hands on the team with good speed. Artis-Payne should be the muscle as he shines with inside runs while Dunbar will handle outside runs. I expect former Oklahoma fullback Dimitri Flowers to get plenty of carries on fourth and short situations and get some one-yard touchdowns on the goal line as well.

As for the backup quarterback Philip Nelson, the Renegades have one of the best backup quarterback situations in the league by picking up an experienced quarterback. Nelson made a name for himself when he took over for Mike Bercovici as the starting quarterback to Mike Martz’s San Diego Fleet offense. While the numbers can be deceiving as he threw for 513 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in four games, he was considered one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the Alliance. With his experience in a pass-happy offense and being mobile when he needs to be, I would feel comfortable with him playing should Jones get hurt in the season.

Phase Two: Offensive Lineman

  1. Willie Beavers, T, Western Michigan
  2. Pace Murphy, T, Northwestern State
  3. Maurquice Skakir, G, Middle Tennessee State
  4. Darius James, T, Auburn
  5. Alex Balducci, C, Oregon
  6. Josh Allen, G, Louisiana Monroe
  7. Adam Bisnowaty, T, Pittsburgh
  8. Salesi Uhatafe, G, Utah
  9. John Keenoy, G, Western Michigan
  10. Justin Evans, T, South Carolina

Versatility is what Stoops was looking for in his offensive linemen and that’s exactly what he found. Led by former nose tackle Alex Balducci in the middle of the line, his experience snapping balls in shotgun with his former college coach Chip Kelly with the San Francisco 49ers and moving around in pass protection should be a good sign for him to command the calls from the line throughout the season. Willie Beavers, Pace Murphy, and Josh Allen have plenty of NFL experience that should help in the line grow into their own. While Maurquice Skakir doesn’t have as much professional experience as the others, expect him to compete and make an impact from day one in pass protection.

Phase Three: Defensive Front Seven

  1. Hau’oli Kikaha, DE, Washington
  2. Sealver Siliga, DT, Utah
  3. Wilson Craig, DT, Richmond
  4. Ray Ray Davison, LB, California
  5. Greer Martini, LB, Notre Dame
  6. Gelen Robinson, DT, Purdue
  7. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma
  8. Jonathan Massaquoi, LB, Troy
  9. Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana
  10. Izaah Lunsford, DT, Bowling Green

Defensive coordinator Chris Woods ran his 3-4 defense at Texas State and it is expected to be the same when he rolls out his defense in game one. Hau’oli Kikaha and Frank Alexander both have plenty of experience in the NFL and showed great pass-rushing experience. The only concern with Kikaha is he’s had a few ACL injuries in his career, but when healthy, he can make a significant difference on the defensive line. Alexander played with Stoops as well in Oklahoma recording 15.5 sacks in his last two years in school. He has a ton of speed off the edge and is the team’s best pass-rusher.

Utah has produced great nose tackles over the years including the Renegades second round pick Sealver Siliga. He has jumped around several NFL teams and played last year with the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance. His 340 pound built makes him an ideal fit to stuff the line on scrimmage and should be a problem for teams that want to run the ball on the Renegades. The rest of the nose tackles are much smaller than Siliga, but add some speed and versatility that should help in passing downs.

Every linebacker picked in Phase Three has had previous experience in 3-4 defenses and possesses a ton of speed. Jonathan Massaquoi leads the charge as he played several years in the system in his time with the Atlanta Falcons. He will be looked at as the veteran leader of the defense to make an impact right away. Ray Ray Davison, Greer Martini, and Tegray Scales are younger players with experience in the NFL, but all have great speed that will learn well from Massaquoi and become great pass rushers outside the tackle box.

Phase Four: Secondary

  1. Derron Smith, S, Fresno State
  2. Treston Decoud, CB, Oregon State
  3. Dashaun Phillips, CB, Tarleton State
  4. Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State
  5. Josh Hawkins, CB, East Carolina
  6. Montrel Meander, S, Grambling State
  7. John Franklin III, CB, Auburn
  8. Doyin Jibowu, S, Fort Hays State
  9. Donatello Brown, CB, Valdosa State
  10. Ronald Martin, S, LSU

The first five picks with the secondary was a work of perfection for the Renegades. Having the first overall pick of the phase, they made a quick splash with Derron Smith who is a great tackler and straight up a ball hawk at the safety position. He recorded eight pass deflections and three interceptions in eight games with the San Antonio Commanders last season. He should be an impact right away as a starter and should be considered as one of the best coverage safeties in the league. His former counter part with the Commanders Kurtis Drummond also possesses great tackling skills from the safety position and should be a great run stopper when blitzing.

Their top three corners drafted all have played in the NFL who have plenty of years of experience in coverage. Josh Hawkins leads the way in experience as he had significant playing time for the Green Bay Packers and should be a day one starter for them to help be a veteran leader for the corners. Treston Decoud and Deshaun Phillips have bounced around NFL teams, but were great coverage corners in college and proved in preseasons in the past that they can make an impact on receiver’s routes. John Franklin III is an interesting case as he played quarterback in college at Florida State, Auburn, and Florida Atlantic and was one of the stars of the Netflix show “Last Chance U” when he played for East Mississippi. He converted to cornerback and hasn’t had a chance to make an impact since, but the XFL should be a great stop for him to develop.

Phase Five: Open Draft

  1. Tenny Adewusi, CB, Delaware
  2. Romello Brooker, TE, Houston
  3. Asantay Brown, LB, Western Michigan
  4. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
  5. Johnathan Calvin, DE, Mississippi State
  6. Reshard Cliett, LB, South Florida
  7. Joshua Crockett, WR, Central Oklahoma
  8. Steven Dunbar, WR, Houston
  9. Marquis Flowers, LB, Arizona
  10. James Folston, DE, Pittsburgh
  11. Drew Galitz, P, Baylor
  12. Tony Guerad, DT, Central Florida
  13. Jalen Harvey, S, Arizona State
  14. Jerrod Heard, WR, Texas
  15. Colin Holba, LS, Louisville
  16. Darnell Holland, RB, Kennesaw State
  17. Nick James, DT, Mississippi State
  18. Patrick Lawrence, T, Baylor
  19. Austin MacGinnis, K, Kentucky
  20. Keith Mumphrey, WR, Michigan State
  21. Flynn Nagel, WR, Northwestern
  22. Oni Omoile, G, Iowa State
  23. Gerald Rivers, DE, Mississippi
  24. C.J. Smith, CB, North Dakota State
  25. Ray Smith, DT, Boston College
  26. Maea Teuhema, G, Southeastern Louisiana
  27. Tyrell Thompson, DT, Tarleton State
  28. Tre Watson, LB, Maryland
  29. Carl Whitley, WR, Abilene Christian
  30. Marquis Young, RB, Massachusetts

The highlights of the final phase includes what they did at the receiver position. They have put themselves in a difficult spot (in a good way) as they will have to decide who to keep on the roster between the eleven receivers they drafted in total. Ryan Broyles highlights the first of seven that were taken in Phase Five as he was a two-time All American for Stoops at Oklahoma recording over 4,500 yards and 45 touchdowns in four years. His NFL career was not as success after being a second round pick for the Detroit Lions only recording 420 yards and two touchdowns in three years. He hasn’t played in five years which will be a tough battle for him to work through that, but there was no doubt how good he was at Oklahoma and should have instant connection with his former quarterback Landry Jones. Notable drafted receivers that some would recognize from college includes former Houston receiver Steven Dunbar, former Texas quarterback/receiver Jerrod Heard, and former Michigan State receiver Keith Mumphrey.

Top defenders drafted late includes former Mississippi State star Johnathan Calvin who recorded 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his 2016 college season that earned him third-team all SEC honors. Former Ole Miss defensive end Gerald Rivers played several years in the NFL and should compete for a spot on the roster as a veteran. Former NFL linebacker Marquis Flowers saw significant time in his time with the New England Patriots and was effective on defense and played well on special teams recording 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2017. I expect him to also compete for playing time and will be great on special team coverage.

Giving some love to the special teams, kicker Austin MacGinnis played in the Alliance with the Memphis Express as he proved to be a very accurate kicker hitting 9-11 field goals including a 51-yard field goal. New punter Drew Galitz was second in the Big 12 in punting with Baylor averaging 42.1 yards per punt and should be looked at to handle kickoff duties as he did that job in his time in college.

Conclusion

The team Bob Stoops put together was well done as they add a ton of speed on offense and defense. They have one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the league and the Alliance proved that good quarterback play should mean a successful season. Dallas had the deepest receiver core in the league as defenses around the league better be ready for Landry Jones to throw the ball around often.

The defensive line should be able to pressure the quarterback as Kikaha and Alexander should have no trouble getting around tackles and should make one of the best duos in the league. An experience secondary should mean for offenses to be ready for some ball hawks to snap at every pass. The safeties on this team will be able to help on rush defense as well.

With a mix of a lot of former Oklahoma players, experienced quarterback play, and speed on both sides of the ball, I like to see this team as an early favorite to make the playoffs and contend for an XFL title.

The Key D’s for Dallas on Draft Day

The first day of the historical XFL Draft has come to an end with one more day of draft picks coming ahead for the 8 XFL teams on Wednesday. We saw a combination of former college stars, NFL starters, Alliance of American Football stars, and small school unknowns find homes.

Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops and his staff came in with a plan and strategy on who they were going after and it was clear from their first pick in the draft. Here are the important D’s that were seen with their day one draft strategies.

D – Dash

It might be safe to say that Bob Stoops’ new nickname should be “Ricky Bobby” because he made it known that he wants his offense to go fast, fast, fast. There is a ton of speed at the running back and receiver positions.

It was clear this was their vision when three of their first four draft picks were wide receivers including Jeff Badet (4.27 second 40 yard dash), TommyLee Lewis (4.45 second 40 yard dash), and Stacy Coley (4.45 second 40 yard dash). Height was not a factor in Stoops’ decision as well as neither of those three players are taller than 6 foot 1 inches. Renegades offensive coordinator Hal Mumme is known for being the architect of his fast-paced air raid offense so it’s no surprise that they want speed and a lot of it. The height issues could be seen as a negative for the team, but it may not matter if these guys are flying past corners on deep balls. It’s safe to say though that new Renegades quarterback Landry Jones should be leading the league in pass attempts in general and pass attempts of more than 20 yards easily.

New running back Cameron Artis-Payne may not be as fast as he is more of a power back, but his new teammates, Lance Dunbar and Dimitri Flowers, may have other ideas about that. Dunbar being a familiar name for Dallas Cowboys fans know of his skill set as he was a reliable receiver out of the backfield so expect to see him on a lot of third down and long plays. While Flowers has surprising speed for a former fullback (4.45 second 40 yard dash) and will make for a nice complementary back that is more in between what Artis-Payne and Dunbar are.

D – Dependable

What do I mean by dependable? My definition is talking about the players that Stoops can rely on as his former players at Oklahoma. He drafted four of his former players that were impact players during their time in college.

Easily, the biggest name from his old school was his quarterback Landry Jones. Jones threw for over 16,000 yards under Stoops leading to him being drafted by the Steelers in the NFL. Badet, as mentioned before, was more well known for what he did at Kentucky before transferring to OU in his final year of college, but he displayed speed and should be a deep threat early for Jones. Flowers was also mentioned in the previous D as showed off great speed for a fullback and will make an impact in pass blocking for Jones. Defensive end Frank Alexander was dominate for Stoops in his last two years of college as he combined for 15 sacks in the 2010 and 2011 seasons so it would be no surprise that Stoops will look at him to be the leader on the defensive line.

D – Defenders

Apologizes to the DC Defenders for stealing your name, but it is fitting to talk about the draft strategy that was in the minds of Stoops and his defensive coordinator Chris Woods. Woods is known for running a 3-4 defense during his time at Texas State and fans got to see some of that influence in their picks of their front seven. Linebackers Jonathan Massaquoi, Tegray Scales, Greer Martini and Ray Ray Davison all come from backgrounds of being in 3-4 defenses. Davison is a converted defensive lineman to linebacker which is what you typically see in an outside linebacker whose primary responsibility is coming off the edge to get to the quarterback. Massaquoi is an NFL veteran who played several years with the Atlanta Falcons that was known for having a 3-4 defense so he should help with the younger linebacker’s development. Scales and Martini were with the Pittsburgh Steelers this past preseason and the Green Bay Packers in 2018 that also ran 3-4 defenses so they should be able to plug in easily and adapt to the pros.

As for the defensive linemen, they made sure to pick up that were big enough to plug the middle of the line to disrupt any offense’s running game. Look for 324 lbs defensive tackle Sealver Siliga have no problems holding his own in the middle and should have great push off the line of scrimmage. Despite the Renegades getting lighter defensive tackles (the other 3 drafted were under 270 lbs), they did find defensive ends that should bring plenty off the edge. Quarterbacks in the XFL should fear the duo of Frank Alexander and Hau’oli Kikaha.

D – Dropping Back

Stoops and Mumme were looking for offensive linemen who would block their defenders in pass protection since we suspect they will be “dropping back” to pass plenty of times. Lineman like Willie Beavers, Pace Murphy, and Alex Balducci displayed great pass blocking skills and should be evident in all their selections at line. This is one of the deeper lines in the draft and all should compete for starting roles with Balducci looking like the leader in the middle of the line. Expect these linemen to be ready to be pass blocking 60-70% of the time in the air raid offense.

D – Draft Picks

Below is the full list of the day one picks for the Dallas Renegades:

Skill Players

T1 – Landry Jones, QB
1. Jeff Badet, WR
2. TommyLee Lewis, WR
3. Cameron Artis-Payne, RB
4. Stacy Coley, WR
5. Sean Price, TE
6. Kelvin McKnight, WR
7. Philip Nelson, QB
8. Lance Dunbar, RB
9. Donald Parham, TE
10. Dimitri Flowers, RB

Offensive Lineman

1. Willie Beavers, T
2. Pace Murphy, T
3. Maurquice Skakir, G
4. Darius James, T
5. Alex Balducci, C
6. Josh Allen, G
7. Adam Bisnowaty, T
8. Salesi Uhatafe, G
9. John Keenoy, G
10. Justin Evans, T

Front Seven

1. Hau’oli Kikaha, DE
2. Sealver Siliga, DT
3. Wilson Craig, DT
4. Ray Ray Davison, LB
5. Greer Martini, LB
6. Gelen Robinson, DT
7. Frank Alexander, DE
8. Jonathan Massaquoi
9. Tegray Scales, LB
10. Izaah Lunsford, DT

How will the Dallas Renegades win the battle? In the trenches…

It’s a wrap for phase two of the XFL draft and the Renegades roster is beginning to take shape.

In phase one, the Renegades main focus was clear. Speed is what they wanted and speed is what they got. In phase two,  the clear message Stoops and the Renegades are sending is that this team will be fast and  physical.

Where there is thunder, there is lightening.

The line of scrimmage is the “velvet rope” in VIP, the offensive line plays the role of the bouncer, and you will not get past the rope if your name is not on the list. Once you get your quarterback, and the offense is laced with several play makers, you add the muscle. The average weight of the offensive lineman selected in phase two is 312 lbs. Their combined weight is 3,126 lbs. That’s a lot of muscle.

Willie Beavers, offensive tackle from Western Michigan, headlined the first round of phase two. Beavers during his time at Western Michigan was named to the All MAC team twice and helped his running back win all conference honors as well.

Pace Murphy, offensive tackle from Northwestern State University, was the second round pick for the Renegades in phase two. Murphy was also a standout at Northwestern State earning Preseason All American honors and Pre-Season All-Southland Conference honors.

Beavers and Murphy will be the bookend couple at the tackle position that will put a bubble of protection around Landry Jones.

The heartbeat of the running game will consist of Maurquice Shakir (Midd Tenn State), Alex Balducci (Oregon) , and Josh Allen (Louisiana Monroe).

Shakir as a senior played more than 90 snaps in four games, and was an integral part of an offense that produced a 1,000 yard rusher.

Balducci, an converted defensive lineman turned guard will bring the same tenacity he did in the collegiate ranks, after earning All-Pac 12 honors for his efforts on the defensive line for his senior season.

Allen, product of Cedar Hill high school 20 minutes South of Dallas, earned All-Sun Belt honors during his junior season at Louisiana Monroe. He was apart of an offense that produce more than 500 total yards of offense in four of the first five games of the 2012-2013 season.

This offensive line is stacked with big bodies and bullies in the trenches on the offensive side.

In Phase three of the draft, let’s see what type of “war-daddies” Stoops can add to this very promising roster.

#RaisingHell Go Renegades!

Renegades #RaisingHell in XFL Draft Phase One

Phase 1 of the XFL draft is in the books and the Renegades made the most out of their selections.

The Renegades constructed an offensive coaching staff based around the ideal concepts of the Air Raid offense by hiring Bob Stoops and naming Hal Mumme the offensive coordinator. Now they have the on-field personnel to boot.

The Renegades will have a loaded running backs room with selections of running backs Cameron Artis-Payne, Dimitri Flowers and Lance Dunbar. All three running backs possess the ability to catch the ball, avoid tackles in open space, and breakaway speed.

With the selections of wide receivers Jeff Badet, return specialist TommyLee Lewis, Kelvin McKnight, and Stacy Coley, the Renegades will not lack in the yards after catch department.

The Renegades also doubled up on tight ends by selecting Sean Price and Donald Parham.

With Landry Jones at helm as the franchise quarterback, I am sure Stoops and his coaching staff are thrilled to see what this core can bring to their football club once training camp opens.

The most intriguing selection in my opinion was their selection of quarterback Phillip Nelson in the 7th round. It is clear the Renegades would like to add a level of depth to their offense and quarterback room. It is never a bad thing to have a back up who can come in take over while the offense never skips a beat.

In my opinion, the Renegades have accomplished the main goal of phase one, lock down the franchise guy, cater to the scheme, and provide depth at the most important position.

Now as phase two of the draft approaches, it’s time for the Renegades to go out and get some bullies on the offensive line to give their franchise quarterback time to deliver strikes, provide running room for this talented group of running backs, and to keep Jones upright. This is just the beginning.

Go Renegades! #RaisingHell

The eyes of Texas are upon the XFL

Jerrod Heard – TexasSports.com

Saturday at 12 o’clock central standard time, the Longhorns and Sooners will battle for bragging rights and the golden hat, but mostly for bragging rights.

I emphasize “bragging rights” because that’s truly what the Red River Showdown is all about.

Even after players finish their collegiate careers at their respective universities, the rivalry continues to live on when former Sooners and Longhorns come together.

The likelihood of seeing this during next week’s XFL draft is highly likely.

In honor of the Red River Showdown, I want to highlight two former players from both universities and their success during this historical match-up, who are hoping to hear their name called come draft day.

JERROD HEARD

In 2015, Jerrod Heard stepped on the “40 acres” as a two time Texas state champion from Denton Guyer where he broke several records and was one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

Prior to the season starting, Heard lost the quarterback competition against Tyrone Swoopes.  Only to replace Swoopes after a lopsided loss to Notre Dame to start the season.

Heard, continued to utilize his dual threat style of play against the Rice Owls and again against the Cal Golden Bears accounting for 527 yards of total offense, breaking former Texas quarterback Vince Young single game record in a 45-44 loss.

For his fourth career start, Heard had to face the #10 Oklahoma Sooners. Heard and the Texas Longhorns entered that game as underdogs, and head coach Charlie Strong was under immense pressure to win against their bitter rivals after losing two consecutive games.

With pressure at its highest, the freshman quarterback answered the call.

Heard only attempted 11 passes but threw a touchdown, and was able to utilize his running ability again being one of two Longhorns to run for over 100 yards, in their 24-17 victory over the 10th ranked Sooners.

The Longhorns finished that season with a 5-7 record. The Longhorns fired Strong and hired the hot commodity in coaching, Tom Herman.

Heard went on to finish his collegiate career at Texas as a wide receiver totaling 45 receptions 425 and 4 touchdowns.

RYAN BROYLES

Ryan Broyles – Credit

The two time All-American, real estate developer in Oklahoma, and now XFL hopeful, last played professional football in 2015.

Broyles, a product of Norman, played defensive back and wide receiver in High School, finished his career with 79 receptions 1,688 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense and recorded 157 tackles and 20 interceptions on defense. He was named OCA All-State in football, and also a standout in track and field being one of the state’s top performers in high jump.

The instant he suited up for the Sooners he was a star, recording 7 receptions and 141 yards, both freshman school records, against the University of Cincinnati. He finished the 2008 season setting multiple freshman records, including tying the record for receptions in a lone season (46) and receiving yards (687) and touchdowns (6).

In his sophomore season he recorded 76 receptions for 964 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the season finale in the Sun Bowl vs Stanford Broyles received the honor of being name Sun Bowl MVP after totaling 13 catches for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Although Broyles was highly productive , his stats against the Longhorns were not as impressive as they were against other teams.

In 2008,  the Sooners lost to the Longhorns 45-35. He recorded 5 receptions for 36 yards and 1 TD. In 2009, the Sooners lost to the Longhorns again in a close game 16-13. He recorded 2 receptions for 33 yards and 1 TD. (Lowest receptions recorded playing Texas) In 2010,  his Sooners finally got the “monkey off their back” and beat the Longhorns, but Broyles only recorded 5 receptions for 36 yards and 1 touchdown.

Keep in mind 2010 was the best year he had statistically, leading the FBS in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He also entered the season as a preseason All-American and finished the season first team All-Big 12.

In 2011, he flipped the script.

Broyles went off for a game-high nine receptions for 122 yards and 1 touchdown against Texas leading his team to a 55-17 victory against the Longhorns.

He went on to finish his career breaking the record for career receptions in the FBS, recording 349 receptions (now 3rd) and receiving, recording 4,586 yards (now 3rd).  His record of 4,586 yards still stands as the most yards ever recorded by a receiver in the Big 12.

Drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft (54th overall), Broyles played two full seasons with the Lions, and in 2015 decided to focus on life outside of football.

Broyles has elected to come out of retirement to enlist his services to one of the eight teams in the XFL, and I am sure he will find a home where he can have just as much impact on his new team as he did when he played for the University of Oklahoma.

In conclusion, this rivalry has provided more than exciting moments in football history, elite talent, and intense battles for the golden hat.

A trophy? No. This is much more than a trophy. This is about the chance to dig at your arch nemesis each and every year. This is about being able to say “my team got the better of your team” for the next 365 days.

I am sure the two players I highlighted, are prepared to bring that same intensity from their collegiate rivalry to the XFL.

The Sooners the Better

Head coach Bob Stoops gives high fives to quarterback Landry Jones after a touchdown against Idaho State.  (The Oklahoman)

The XFL draft is upon us, and the Dallas Renegades will have a choice of who will represent the team in their first round draft pick. Many have speculated that the former Oklahoma quarterback and also former Pittsburgh Steeler Landry Jones will be the franchise player to bear the title.

Why does this sound so sweet? Landry Jones and Bob Stoops built a solid relationship on and off the field during their tenure at the University of Oklahoma.

Let’s go back to 2008 shall we?

Jones, backup to Sam Bradford his freshman year, was inserted into the first week of action once Bradford went down with an shoulder injury. The Sooners lost that game, but this did not stop Jones and Stoops from building an instant connection the next week against the Idaho State Vandals.

The Landry Jones era began with a BANG!

Jones finished the day completing 18 out of 32 passes, 286 yards through the air, and 3 passing touchdowns in a 64-0 victory over the Vandals. The next week Jones had another impressive day against the Golden Hurricanes of Tulsa University throwing a Sooner record of six passing touchdowns and received AT&T All America Player of the Week honors.

This was just the beginning of a dominating career Jones would go on to have at the University of Oklahoma, finishing his collegiate career with 16,646 passing yards and 123 touchdowns.

Typically, the constructs of a team begin with having the franchise quarterback, and then the franchise adds the other foundational pieces to the puzzle.

All sights are set on this duo and the success they were able to achieve at the University of Oklahoma. Bob Stoops was hired primarily to build a dynastic team in Dallas to win several championships. With Jones, the Renegades may find the perfect fit to spread the gospel of Stoops in the locker room.

With the draft less than a week away the Renegades can get off to an amazing start as a franchise if the front office can pull this off. I am predicting with Jones at the helm as the starting quarterback, the Renegades may be the team to beat. That’s an amazing way to kick the inaugural season off as the new team in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

Bob Stoops’ autobiography discusses his decision to join the XFL and more

Bob Stoops’ autobiography, “No Excuses: The Making of a Head Coach,” is now now available at bookstores and online at Amazon.com.

In the book Stoops discusses subjects such as now-Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon, his heart disease, and the decision to join the XFL. Stoops talks about his decision to not cut Mixon after a misdemeanor assault charge.

“I could have cut Mixon loose in 2014,” Stoops said. “In 2019, that’s the only choice that would’ve been acceptable. If I were faced with the same situation today, my decision would be much different than the one I made in 2014.”

Book summary:

When Bob Stoops took over as football coach in 1999, the Oklahoma Sooners were in disarray with back-to-back losing seasons. But in just two years’ time, Stoops achieved the seemingly impossible: winning a national championship and returning the struggling Sooners to their powerhouse status, churning out NFL talent, Heisman Trophy winners and conference championships, bowl wins and national title runs on a regular basis.

During his 18 seasons at OU, his record was a remarkable 190-48. At only age 56, at the peak of his career, he stunned the college football world by walking away.

For the first time, Bob opens up about his career alongside the evolution of the game itself. From his unlikely emergence as a star player at the University of Iowa, to his coaching apprenticeships under giants like Hayden Fry, Bill Snyder, and Steve Spurrier, Stoops recounts how the game he fell in love with as a boy has evolved into a billion-dollar business often compromised by recruiting wars, aggressive agents, overzealous boosters and alumni, and the emergence of the CEO head coach rather than mentor and teacher. Bob holds nothing back while explaining why it was time to step away from the game–and players–he still loves.

Told with a rare combination of sincerity, vulnerability, and pure heart, No Excuses is both an engaging and eye-opening football memoir and an unprecedented portrait of a coach of one of the greatest legacy programs in the history of the college game.

Johnny Football to Dallas? Don’t count on it…

Johnny Manziel 2014 Browns training camp https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johnny_Manziel_2014_Browns_training_camp_(3).jpg

Johnny Manziel at one point was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to play the game when he was wearing the Texas A&M Aggies uniform. Since then? Not so much.

Manziel has bounced around since being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns back in 2014. He spent two seasons there before being cut from the team in 2016 and then proceeded to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League in 2018. After six weeks there, he got traded to the Montreal Alouettes, but after the 2018 season, he was released by the league after they had determined that he had “contravened” with his agreement with the league. He found a home shortly afterwards with the Memphis Express of the now defaulted Alliance of American Football. That’s where this story really begins.

Before joining the Express, the San Antonio Commanders had first claim on him since that was the team geographically closest to where he went to college. Commanders General Manager Daryl Johnston (former Dallas Cowboys fullback) waived his rights and that’s how he joined the Express. Johnston has never been the biggest fan of Manziel and that has been evident in the past, but he’s back in the news again regarding Manziel as he once again says he would pass on him.

“For me the chemistry in the locker room is critical, and especially the quarterback position,” now Dallas Renegades Director of Player Personnel Johnston said according to SportsDay. “He kind of sets the tone, especially for the offensive side of the ball, but really for the whole team. There is so much added responsibility that goes with the face, goes with the voice of the franchise. And I haven’t seen that from Johnny on a consistent basis that I would feel comfortable committing to him.”

There’s no question that Manziel’s troubled past has been the main reason he has not returned to the NFL, but the XFL is a league of second chances. This is where Manziel belongs for two reasons: 1. I have every reason to believe that he has truly matured with how he was with interviews with the Express when he played in the Alliance. 2. He would put people in the seats of every XFL football stadium no matter how people feel about him.

I personally believe the Houston Roughnecks would be perfect for him since he already has a personal relationship with June Jones from their time in the CFL. Manziel does not fit the offensive scheme that Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops will have and I still believe the league will do what it takes to get Stoops and recent signed quarterback Landry Jones back together.

Manziel was average during his time in the Alliance as he was outshined by 3rd string quarterback Brandon Silvers (one of the XFL draft invitees) and never really had a chance to prove himself. I know he had second and third chances in the CFL and the Alliance, but there is still some spark of excitement with how he plays and I think he still somewhat salvage his career. Johnston may not see it now, but with a new league trying to attract attention and giving players another chance at playing professional football, I think it’s time for all of us to move on from the past and let’s give Manziel another shot.