XFL Coaching Staff Reviews, A Look At All 8 XFL Teams


Dallas Renegades HC: Bob Stoops

Offensive Coordinator: Hal Mumme
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Woods
Special Teams:

Former Oklahoma legend Bob Stoops will lead the Renegades, and he brings with him a career 190-48 record, a FBS National Title and ten Big-12 Championships. Tried and true in the NCAA, he’s taking the leap to the pros for the first time in his storied career. A coach who does a great job of balancing both sides of the ball, he cut his teeth leading Kansas State and Florida’s defenses to success during the 90s, but he’s also known for his prolific offenses.

The 59 year old has had a long and successful history of finding offensive masterminds to run the air raid, from Mike Leach to Lincoln Riley. In Dallas, he’s recruited Hal Mumme to manage the offense. Mumme was head coach at Iowa Wesleyan when Mike Leach was their OC, so he knows the ins and outs of the system.

Expect to see a lot of spread concepts for Landry Jones to work with. Given that he’s a pocket style QB, putting him in the shotgun and getting the ball out fast to his playmakers is the best use of Jones’ talents. Stoops coached him for 4 years at Oklahoma, and is the best candidate to maximize his potential in this offense.

Chris Woods served as a Defensive Specialist under Stoops at Oklahoma, so they have a connection there. He’s also had 2+ decades of experience as a defensive coach/coordinator, so there’s a lot of knowledge for him to draw from. Stoops has historically run a tight 4-3 system, and we’ll likely see more of the same in Dallas.

He’s has chosen a pair of veteran coaches who know the finer points of the schemes he likes to run, and that should translate well on the field. Dallas also has Steve Spurrier’s son, Scott running the Tight Ends group.

D.C. Defenders HC: Pep Hamilton

Offensive Coordinator: Tanner Engstrand
Defensive Coordinator: Jeff FitzGerald

Pep Hamilton has been an offensive coach since the 90s, and has a swath of impressive gigs on his resume. He worked with Andrew Luck as Stanford’s OC/QB coach in 2011, and followed him to Indianapolis where he served as OC with the Colts. He oversaw Luck’s most impressive season where he posted career highs of 4,761 yards and 40 TDs.

We most recently saw him in Michigan, serving as Jim Harbaugh’s Assistant Head Coach & Passing Game Coordinator. It’s not a stretch at all to say he’s a quarterback guru. He should be able to mold the raw tools that Cardale Jones and Tyree Jackson possess and air it out. Hamilton runs a creative, flexible scheme and the team has drafted top-tier targets like Eli Rodgers and Max McCaffrey.

OC Tanner Engstrand worked with Pep Hamilton in Michigan as an offensive analyst, so these two will be on the same page. He’s also got experience calling plays after climbing his way up through the ranks at the University of San Diego to the OC position.

Jeff FitzGerald is a veteran Linebacker coach who started at Alabama, and has been all around the NFL. He most notably worked with the Baltimore Ravens from 2004-2007, coaching up Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs when their defense was at its apex.

He also was LB coach in Indy when Pep was there, so there’s a good level of familiarity there. We don’t know exactly which kind of scheme he’ll be running as it’s his first time as a DC, but he’s got plenty of pro experience to set up a good system.

Houston Roughnecks: June Jones

Offensive Coordinator: Chris Miller
Defensive Coordinator: Ted Cottrell

June Jones is as experienced as they come. With head coaching gigs with the Falcons, Chargers, Tiger-Cats (CFL), as well as at Hawaii and SMU in the NCAA, he’s not new to leading a locker room. A former QB who went on the play with the Atlanta Falcons, he attended Portland State under Mouse Davis, where he was one of the original Run and Shoot QB’s.

He’s adopted that offensive scheme, and while the Run and Shoot is a throwback rarely seen in football today, let’s not forget that Warren Moon made his Hall of Fame career in this type of system.

He’s chosen another former Falcons QB to be his OC in Chris Miller. Miller was a Pro Bowler, and passed for 123 TD’s in the NFL. His most recent pro coaching gig was as the Cardinals’ QB coach from 2009-2012.

While he had the pleasure of coaching Kurt Warner’s twilight years, he also cycled through Matt Leinart, Drew Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall, Richard Bartell, Kevin Kolb and Ryan Lindley with very little success. Hopefully he can get more out of Phillip Walker and Connor Cook, and luckily the spread concepts of the Run and Shoot should make things a little easier on his young passers.

In a football world enamored with young offensive minds, Ted Cottrell is an established defensive coach. At 72 years old, he’s been in the NFL since the 1980s with DC jobs for the Chargers, Vikings, Jets and Bills. One of the key minds behind the 3-4 defense, he’ll waste no time shaping up the Roughnecks D that features Super Bowl Record holder Kony Ealy.

Los Angeles Wildcats: Winston Moss

Offensive Coordinator: Norm Chow
Defensive Coordinator: Pepper Johnson

Winston Moss is a bit of an unknown commodity as a coach. We’ve never seen him as even a offensive or defensive coordinator, but he has a long history as a linebacker coach. For the past 13 seasons, he was also the Assistant Head Coach under Mike McCarthy with the Green Bay Packers.

In addition to leading Clay Matthews Jr. and AJ Hawk in the linebackers room, he was McCarthy’s right hand man through their Super Bowl run and all those playoff years.

He may not be a QB guru or a defensive mastermind, but he spent the past decade plus learning from a Championship coach. He was also a 2nd round linebacker as a player, who logged 20.5 sacks in his career, so he’ll lean defensive minded as a coach.

OC Norm Chow spent 20+ years as an offensive coach at BYU, was Hawaii’s head coach and has been an offensive coordinator for BYU, NC State, USC, UCLA, Utah and the Tennessee Titans.

He’s coached up recognizable names like Steve Young, Phillip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Jim McMahon in his day. He’s known as a quarterback whisperer, and has impressively coached 12 of the top 30 NCAA passing yards leaders, as well as 8 of the top 15 passing efficiency leaders. I bet Moss is banking on him to get Luis Perez up to snuff.

Pepper Johnson has been a part of 5 Super Bowl Champs, twice as an All-Pro LB with the Giants, and 3 times as a defensive coach with Bill Belichick’s Patriots. This is his first coordinator job, but with 14 years in the Patriot way, he knows how to get things done in the pros. Other teams will be in trouble if he presents the Hybrid front he was a part of in New England.

New York Guardians: Kevin Gilbride

Defensive Coordinator: Jim Herrmann

Kevin Gilbride has been an OC for the past 3 decades in pro football. Starting with the Oilers, he went on to run offenses with the Jaguars, Steelers, Bills, and Giants. He also had a 3 year run as the Chargers head coach. He’s worked with Pro Bowl QB’s Warren Moon, Mark Brunell, Drew Bledsoe, and Eli Manning, with whom he won two Super Bowls vs the Patriots.

Gilbride’s Option offense attacks opposing secondaries with reading routes, and relies on receivers to adjust to whatever look the defense offers. QB Matt McGloin will have to keep in sync with targets Tanner Gentry, Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi and Demarcus Ayers, but so long as they stay on the same page, defenses will have their hands full trying to compensate for the adjustments.

The Guardians also do not have a Offensive Coordinator, but he may lean on QB coach GA Magnus to call plays. Magnus was a part of Steve Spurrier’s staff at Florida, and has been OC for the South Carolina Gamecocks in the past.

DC Jim Herrmann was Linebackers coach alongside Gilbride with the Giants, and was a LB coach from 2006-2017 with the Jets, Giants and Colts. Previously, he was DC of Michigan from 1997-2005. It’ll be his first time taking the reins in the pros, but he’s got enough background to make it work. He led Michigan’s defense in its 1997 Championship run, allowing 9.5 points per game in its 12-0 year. He also led the Giants linebacker corps in its Super Bowl Run.

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St. Louis Battlehawks: Jonathan Hayes

Offensive Coordinator: Doug Meacham
Defensive Coordinator: Jay Hayes

Jonathan Hayes is an interesting choice here. This is his first HC job, but clearly he’s done something to impress the XFL Brass. Hayes played TE at a high level from ’85 to ’96 with the Steelers and Chiefs, and after retirement coached his position under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. He then spent the next 16 years as Marvin Lewis’ tight ends coach in Cincinnati, coaxing Pro Bowl seasons out of Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. Historically Marvin Lewis’ coaching tree hasn’t done much in the pros, but maybe Meacham can buck the trend.

Doug Meacham also has predominantly been a TE coach, but has also called plays as an OC dating back to 1991. He’s notably coordinated for Houston, TCU and Kansas in recent years. Meacham is known for being aggressive in the passing game, but he’ll also have a pair of elite running backs to work with in Christine Michael and Matt Jones. He’s also been known to incorporate read option looks into his scheme, and I think this could work well with Jordan Taamu and his backs.

His brother, Jay Hayes will take over the defense, and the two coached together for years in Cincy. Jay was a defensive line coach there, and also had stops at that position in Green Bay and Tampa. He’s coached some great players in his day, forming Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson into a top unit. He may not be the most experienced DC in the XFL, but he’s family, and that counts for a lot.

Rod Mar / XFL

Seattle Dragons: Jim Zorn

Offensive Coordinator: Mike Riley
Defensive Coordinator: Clayton Lopez

Jim Zorn has been on the scene in Seattle since 1976, when he was AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year and team MVP as a Quarterback. He played nearly a decade for the Seahawks, and as the city’s first franchise QB, is endeared to the local fans.

He’s since been a QB coach with the team where he helped Matt Hasselbeck make his Super Bowl run. He held the same position with the Lions, Ravens and Chiefs. He was head coach for two years with the snakebit Washington Redskins, his only HC gig before the Dragons. In that short span, he instituted a Power Running/West Coast hybrid that saw Clinton Portis, TE Chris Cooley and FB Mike Sellers have fantastic production, while game managing QB Jason Campbell put up his best seasons under Zorn.

We’ll likely see a similar West Coast system in Seattle, with an emphasis on the run game and tight ends in the passing game. OC Mike Riley has coached all across North America, most notably as HC of the Chargers and Oregon State. He’s also a disciple of the West Coast Offense, but likes to integrate more vertical concepts. With his desire to strike deep, Zorn’s power running and the west coast base, they’ll have a fun and diverse playbook to keep defenses on their toes.

Clayton Lopez is a veteran DB coach, and held that position in Seattle when Zorn was coaching there. With 15 years of experience coaching DB’s including Charles Woodson and Nnamdi Asomugha, he has a solid pair of veteran corners in Sterling Moore and Steve Williams to work with. He’s never been a defensive coordinator before, but I expect this secondary to be at the top of the league.

Marc Trestman with the CFL Coach of the Year Award in 2017 (Patrick Doyle/CFL.ca)

Tampa Bay Vipers: Marc Trestman

Offensive Coordinator: Jaime Elizondo

Defensive Coordinator: Jerry Glanville

An innovative offensive chemist, Marc Trestman brings the experience of 3 previous head coaching gigs 4 decades of work in football to the Vipers in addition to his creativity. He’s won 3 Grey Cups in the CFL, in 2009 and 2010 with Montreal and 2017 with Toronto. He runs prolific aerial attacks with a mix of Canadian Spread, West Coast and RPO looks that keep things interesting.

In his stint with the Chicago Bears, he made them the 2nd highest scoring offense behind the Broncos in 2013, and Jay Cutler had career highs in passing efficiency (66%) and 28 TD’s. He’s also previously helped coach Jake Plummer, Bernie Kosar and Rich Gannon.to career seasons.

OC Jaime Elizondo was OC with the Ottawa Redblacks as recently as 2018, where he coached Trevor Harris to a 5,000 yard season. He worked with Trestman as a receivers coach in Montreal, and those two should have a ball scheming around QB Aaron Murray and TE Nick Truesdell.

Jerry Glanville’s first DC job was in 1967 with Western Kentucky. The 78 year old has watched the game evolve in 6 decades of football, and is prepared for anything an offense could throw at him. Sure, he’s a little longer in the tooth, but much like defensive wizard Wade Phillips, he’s got an effective scheme locked down. There’s nothing an offense can throw at him that he won’t be prepared for.

Read the original article in XFL Newshub by Matthew Nagashima