Skip to content

Inside Defenders Training Camp: Day 5

HOUSTON -- A sluggish performance on Wednesday had D.C. Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton looking for answers, and with inclement weather headed toward downtown Houston, the long-time college and NFL offensive coordinator had a solution.


Hamilton has stressed the importance of focus, effort, and discipline early on at training camp, and on Thursday it was at the forefront of his teaching concepts.

The team went hard in the morning, took a break, then returned for another training session under the lights. 

The intensity was there, and with the first joint practice just 48 hours away, the focus is starting to match. But time is of the essence.


"Be who you can afford to be."

Defenders HC Pep Hamilton on focus and discipline


  • QB Tyree Jackson: The 2017 MAC Offensive Player of the Year had a crisp practice Thursday morning. If he missed the mark during skill drills, it was when we weren't watching. He was accurate throughout practice, on short and intermediate routes, and hooked up with wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins on a deep ball, down to the goal line, during 7-on-7s. He also used his legs to scamper into the end zone on an 8-yard run.
  • DT Kalani Vakameilalo: The Hawaii native and former Oregon State lineman has only been with the team for a few days, but his presence was felt Thursday morning. The 6-foot-3, 330-pound tackle was a force on goal-line contact drills, racking up several tackles for a loss. He was also responsible for a forced fumble and recovered one.
  • CB Jalen Myrick: Competition fuels the Defenders secondary more so than any other unit. When it's time to battle, the intensity and noise in the secondary gets dialed up to combustible levels. The former University of Minnesota speedster was a sparkplug, making several pass deflections to rev up his teammates, and snared an INT in the back of the end zone. (Fun fact about Myrick: His father, Glynn Myrick, was drafted by the Washington Bullets in the 10th round of the 1984 NBA Draft.)


Donnel Pumphrey is the NCAA's all-time leader in rushing yards, and he's still as fast as he ever was.


The Defenders have their second regeneration day of training camp Friday, meaning Day 6 will be heavy on film study and treatment, and light on football activities.

Business picks up on Saturday, Jan. 11, for Day 7, when the Los Angeles Wildcats travel four miles across town from Texas Southern to join the Defenders at Rice Stadium for the first joint practice of training camp.

Be sure to follow @XFLDefenders on Twitter and Instagram for updates, and you view all our best work by joining the XFLDefenders Facebook page.