Inside Renegades Training Camp: Day 6
HOUSTON -- The XFL is bringing new dynamics to the game of football, and perhaps none of them have created more challenges for coaches than the new special teams rules.
Tight ends coach Scott Spurrier and defensive backs coach Kenny Perry have teamed up to spearhead the Renegades' efforts in that department, and with each new practice, they're finding new puzzles to solve.
"Every day you learn something new, you’re presented with something in practice and you’ve got to make adjustments off that," Spurrier said. "Coach Perry and I have been meeting about that every day and talking about it, and the players have done a good job. They’re coming up and asking us questions about adjustments, and that’s what you want as a coach."
Even the most inexperienced football fan can tell that the XFL's new style of kickoffs is particularly vexxing.
As a refresher, here's how it works: The spot of the kickoff will be set at the kicking team's 25-yard line. However, members of the kicking team (excluding the kicker) will line up at the receiving team's 35-yard line, and blockers on the receiving team must line up at their 30-yard line. Only the kicker and returner can move until the ball is either caught or three seconds after it hits the ground.
"Anytime you get to be the first to do anything, it’s always exciting. The XFL’s done a good job of creating new opportunities, and I think it’s going to be exciting for the fans and the players."
That's tricky enough as it is. During Friday's practice, though, the wind was blowing anywhere from 20-30 mph. Any special teams coach will tell you that creates a whole host of new issues, regardless of the rules. After seeing those winds and their effect, Spurrier acknowledged that some observations would lead to new approaches.
"We change stuff every day. We think we have a solid plan, and then we see something new or encounter something different and we have to change it up," Spurrier said. "That’s part of football, and that’s one of the biggest reasons it’s so fun."
TRAINING CAMP NOTES
- The windy conditions of Friday's practice also wreaked havoc on the passing game, and as such, a defensive unit that was on a hot streak only got hotter, picking off and breaking up passes by almost a 2-to-1 margin compared to previous practices.
- Former East Carolina head coach Steve Logan has been a guest at camp for the last three days. Logan has coached alongside a few members of the Renegades staff, including offensive line coach Jeff Jagodzinski, with whom he worked when they were both on staff at East Carolina from 1989-1996.
- Newly added quarterback Eric Dungey continues to get acclimmated, taking part in all quarterback drills. Philip Nelson and Jerrod Heard took the bulk of snaps as Dungey worked to get comfortable with the playbook.