Vipers Training Camp: Day 7
HOUSTON -- The Vipers regular season may not kick off until Feb. 9 (at New York, 2 p.m. ET, FOX), but the battle began Saturday morning at their joint practice with the Houston Roughnecks at TDECU Stadium.
Tempers flared early during 1-on-1 drills with Vipers defensive backs and Roughnecks receivers getting in each other's faces and talking smack after some hotly-contested deep balls.
Vipers Head Coach Marc Trestman was not pleased and he let his players know it.
"We've got to be better than that," he told the defensive backs after pulling them into a huddle on the sidelines. "You've got to win a job, you don't have to win a talking contest ... don't fall into that trap ... let's go to work."
"This was our first time seeing another opponent, so things got heated," safety Robenson Therezie said. "But it's really just for the love of the game ... just so guys can get out what they have inside them ... that eagerness to play the game at a high level."
"We all love football and we're all here for the second opportunity, so I'm sure there's a little chip on all of our shoulders," defensive tackle Josh Banks said. "When you got a bunch of a guys on the field, it's bound to happen."
"I'm sure there's a little chip on all of our shoulders."
After Trestman's speech, the Vipers went back onto the field with renewed focus, and so did the Roughnecks.
The rest of practice was competitive and high-spirited, with both teams showcasing their skills before the approximately 1,000 fans who showed up to get a sneak peek at the XFL's brand of football.
"Both teams were very physical. Both teams were playing hard," Banks said. "I feel like we all got better as a whole for sure."
As you can see in this video, one budding football expert agreed.
Overall, despite the early hiccups, the practice did appear to prove beneficial for both players and coaches.
"We got to see how our players would work and execute in an enviroment they hadn't been before," Trestman said. "We found out information about our players that will help us in their evaluation."
Trestman knows he doesn't have much more time to make that evaluation. Only 10 days remain until the end of training camp, when he and his coaching staff will have to trim the 70-man roster down to 52.
If the players want another chance to prove themselves on the field, they'll have to wait until Monday. The coaches have made Sunday an off day, giving the players a chance to recharge before what lies ahead.
We leave you with a highlight from the youth event that followed Saturday's joint practice, when players and strength coaches from both teams held a on-field fitness clinic for local Houston kids.