Skip to content

Week 1 Preview: LA Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks

Houston Roughnecks wide receiver Sammie Coates

Sammie Coates' Houston Roughnecks host the Los Angeles Wildcats in Week 1 of the 2020 XFL season.

Los Angeles Wildcats vs. Houston Roughnecks

  • Sat. Feb. 8, 5 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • TDECU Stadium (Houston)

This is the XFL Show preview: Listen here

Rosters: LA | Houston

Depth Chart: LA | Houston

Injury Report

Week 1: Wildcats at Roughnecks

HEAD COACHES

LA: Winston Moss

  • Twenty years coaching, including 12 as associate NFL head coach
  • Eleven-year NFL playing career with Buccaneers, Raiders and Seahawks
  • Assistant head coach/LB coach for Super Bowl XLV-champion Green Bay Packers (2010-11)

Houston: June Jones

  • Thirty-four years of coaching experience with college, CFL and NFL; 22 years as a head coach (148-134 record), and 6 as offensive coordinator
  • Prominent disciple of the Run ‘n’ Shoot offense
  • Winningest head coach in Hawaii school history
“Camp is always a grind, but when you kinda get into game week, you get your energy back. You get a little pep in your step. I just think everyone is looking forward to Saturday in Houston.”

Wildcats wide receiver Nelson Spruce

“We’re pretty familiar with LA, but I know they’re going to have a lot of different looks that we haven’t seen, just like we’re going to do the same. It’ll be fun to see how the guys react.”

Roughnecks head coach June Jones

QUARTERBACKS

Wildcats: Jalan McClendon (expected starter)

What You’ll See: A tall, impressive-looking passer, McClendon boasts tight-spiraled, strong-armed throws that should be utilized by offensive coordinator Norm Chow early and often in the Wildcats offense. Despite having dual-threat ability and a strong arm to the perimeter, look for McClendon to show off his composure and patience as a passer -- something the LA staff greatly appreciated during training camp -- and lead this versatile offense on long drives.

Roughnecks: P.J. Walker

What You’ll See: An athletic, strong-armed passer, Walker has made defenders miss and stretched defenses vertically since his freshman year in college. He’s flourished in June Jones’ offense, where he doesn’t have to do as much improvising, but his mobility and arm talent are more so additional weapons than necessities for the Roughnecks, making him especially dangerous.  

MORE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wildcats

LB Tre’ Williams: Has taken a leadership role as captain of the defense, hitting the field and opponents with an intensity that’s contagious.

OT Storm Norton: Selected first overall in the second phase of the draft to anchor the line. Defensive ends will struggle getting around the 6-8, 308-pound specimen.

Roughnecks

WR Sammie Coates: Big and fast, the former Steelers third-round pick has the tools to lead the receiving corps and provide a true stretch-the-field threat.

RB Andre Williams: The New York Giants' leading rusher in 2014 as a rookie out of Boston College, Williams is a dangerous combo of size and speed.

NEED TO KNOW

Wildcats coach Winston Moss is out to build a “culture of winning, competing, and playing physical and playing tough.” In other words, a reflection of the longtime NFL defensive assistant. On the other side of the ball, experienced offensive mind Norm Chow likes the pieces he’s got.

June Jones, a famous Run ‘n' Shoot disciple, gets his coaching hands on P.J. Walker, who won a closely contested QB battle with Connor Cook going into the opener. Building an attack around the diminutive but swift Walker won’t be an issue for Jones, who’s made a career out of maximizing talent.

-- Art Garcia, XFL.com