Football season is back thanks to the XFL

Football is no longer just a fall sport. The XFL will have its debut game this Saturday at 2 p.m. with Seattle facing DC.

The XFL Basics

The league is backed by WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon and has a total of eight teams based around the country.

  • St. Louis BattleHawks
  • Seattle Dragons
  • Dallas Renegades
  • Tampa Bay Vipers
  • DC Defenders
  • Houston Roughnecks
  • New York Guardians
  • Los Angeles Wildcats

Minicamps began in December for XFL teams. Games will be played in NFL, NCAA, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball facilities. The regular season will consist of 10 games for each team and a four-team playoff scenario on April 19-20. Then, an XFL Championship will take place on April 26.

Key Differences from the NFL

  • Faster pace
  • Reduction of time between plays
  • An eighth official on the field to spot the ball
  • At least one female on officiating crews

  • Two timeouts per half
  • 10-minute halftime
  • No coin tosses
  • Home team will choose whether to receive or defend at the start of the game
  • Overtime: Each team gets five one-play possessions to score from 5-yard line
    • Will continue playing until someone is eliminated
  • No extra point kicks
  • Options after a touchdown
    • Go for one point from 2-yard line
    • Attempt two points from 5-yard line
    • Go for three points from 10-yard line
  • Replay review modeled after college system

Players in the XFL will bring home a salary on average of $55,000. However, some will make as much as $500,000. The league says 207 of the 416 players on XFL rosters, nearly half the league, had been with an NFL team in the past six months.

Gators in the XFL

Tampa

  • Mack Brown, RB
  • Antonio Callaway, WR
  • DeAndre Goolsby, TE
  • Martez Ivey, OL
  • CeCe Jefferson, DE

St. Louis

  • Matt Jones, RB
  • Will Hill, S

DC

  • Matt Elam, S

You can catch the XFL’s first matchup of the season on ABC.

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville. 

Busy offseason ahead for the Vikings

The Vikings rushed for a total of 21 yards and quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked six times in a game that marked the ending of Minnesota’s season. For Vikings fans, this game was a complete disappointment.

Minnesota’s Misery Against the 49ers

The Vikings were dominated by the San Francisco 49ers’ defense in the NFC divisional playoff round.

The 49ers pulled away in the third quarter. About four minutes into the second half, kicker Robbie Gould kicked a 35 yard field goal. Later, running back Tevin Coleman accounted for another San Francisco touchdown. Coleman rushed 22 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s game.

The 49ers tacked on another field goal early in the fourth quarter to finish the game with a score of 27-10. With the Vikings loss, the 49ers advance to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2013.

In his post-game presser, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer explained that it is difficult to comment on an entire season, but he did say he is proud of the team.

What’s Next?

Offensive Coordinator Opening

Minnesota is on the hunt for a new offensive play caller. It was announced Monday that Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski was hired as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Stefanski was the Vikings longest tenured coach and just 37-years-old. Whoever Minnesota hires will become the team’s fifth offensive coordinator in the past five years.

Quarterback Questions

cousins.jpgKirk Cousins is approaching the final season of his three year contract with the Vikings. In 2019, Cousins accounted for 26 touchdowns and six interceptions, completing about 69 percent of his passes.

Cousins’ said a contract extension has not been his focus.

Although he did state, “I certainly love it here. I love being a Viking.”

If Minnesota doesn’t decide to extend Cousins’ contract, then they’ll need to find a replacement quite soon. The NFL draft is a little over three months away. Will the Vikings be looking for a quarterback?
One thing’s for sure – the Vikings have a busy offseason ahead of them.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville.

Rhule ready to represent the Panthers

Former Baylor head football coach Matt Rhule is ready to represent the Carolina Panthers’ football organization. On Tuesday, the Panthers reached a seven-year agreement with Rhule that is worth $60 million.

Rhule’s Past

Rhule took over Baylor University’s football team in 2016. In 2017, Baylor went 1-11. It was disappointing, to say the least for Baylor fans. In 2017, the Baylor Bears improved to 7-6.

This past season Rhule and the Bears finished the regular season 11-1. Then,they fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Prior to Baylor, Rhule was head coach at Temple University. He led the team to two 10 win seasons in his four years with the Owls.  He also led Temple to its first conference championship since 1967.

Rhule has one season of NFL coaching experience. He served as an assistant with the New York Giants under Tom Coughlin.

Inheriting an NFL team

Matt Rhule makes history becoming the first head coach Carolina has hired straight from the world of college football.

Rhule addressed the Panther Nation with gratitude. He’s ready to take over the program.

“I thank you so much for entrusting me with your prized football franchise. And I can promise you this, I’ll work each day with everything I have.”

Jan 3, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts after scoring in the third quarter. The Panthers defeated the Buccaneers 31-10 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Rhule is inheriting a Carolina team that finished the 2019 season on an eight game losing streak. He’s also getting a team with potential questions surrounding quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton, 30, is entering the final year of his contract with the Panthers. Newton missed all but two games this past season due to a foot injury. There’s certainly lots of debate on whether the Panthers will keep the 2015 NFL MVP or make a trade.

Rhule became the first head coach hired under owner David Tepper and the franchise’s fifth head coach.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville. 

Bye Week Check-In with Coach Mullen

Bye Week Check-In with Coach Mullen

The Florida football team entered their bye week coming off a win against the Missouri Tigers. They’ll face in-state rival Florida State for their final game of the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 30.

Facing an Interim Head Coach

Florida State fired Willie Taggart, former head football coach, on Sunday, Nov. 3. This was following a 27-10 loss to Miami the previous day. Defensive line coach Odell Haggins took over as interim head coach. This is not Haggins’ first time serving as interim head coach for the Seminoles. He took over coaching duties after Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M.

Since Haggins became interim head coach, the Seminoles are 2-0 with wins against Boston College and Alabama State. Like the Gators, FSU has a bye before their matchup.

According to Florida head coach Dan Mullen, facing an interim head coach can come with some challenges. Coaching power allows for some personality to be thrown in the game.

Florida vs. Florida State kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. next Saturday in the Swamp.

Nick Sproles

Yesterday news broke that Florida third-string, walk-on quarterback Nick Sproles has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Mullen confirmed this yesterday in his midweek teleconference. Sproles comes with high praise from the Florida program and will likely get some interest from smaller schools.

Sproles will remain with the Florida football program for the rest of the season and will graduate in the spring.

“He’s why they put the transfer portal in. He really would like the opportunity to go play next season, said Mullen.”

Players Leaving Early for the NFL

Mullen addressed the topic of players forgoing their senior seasons and leaving for the NFL. The bye week has given Florida’s coaching staff some time to sit down and talk with players about their futures.

About eight Gators are thinking about leaving early for the NFL and two to three could be serious about it, according to Mullen.

Story can also be found via ESPN Gainesville at wruf.com.