It was a dreary and nevertheless somehow sort of a muggy day for a January in Houston, but Bob Stoops was radiant sunshine. XFL education camp was underway and the Dallas Renegades coach was creating his way down to the field for practice when he was asked to stop to answer some questions. What popped in the few minutes he was capable to give was how glad he was to be back on the sidelines once more after a three-year absence from the game.
“You know, I just enjoy football,” he told CBS Sports. “Being on the field, coaching football, watching football, watching some great players play their football. They genuinely enjoy the game as well. So it’s been great.”
A concise, if not general, answer, but also telling if you contemplate the context. The XFL is the location to go for longtime college coaches, in the twilight of their profession, searching for one more spark.
Let’s step back a moment. Stoops was — and nevertheless is — one particular of the ideal coaches in college football history. He’s the winningest coach at Oklahoma, a single of the sport’s correct blue blood applications, with a national championship to boot. But in the summer time of 2017, at age 56 and soon after 18 seasons as the coach of the Sooners, Stoops . It was a shocking move, especially given the timing, but it produced full sense being aware of his backstory.
Stoops’ father, Ron Sr., died at age 54 on the way to the hospital following possessing a heart attack even though coaching Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown. That moment stuck with Stoops, but even beyond that, the people who knew him best always said he was adamant that he. It was not anything he wanted to do forever.
And, so, Stoops took some time off. He stuck around Norman, Oklahoma, for a bit with his loved ones and caught up on all the issues he was unable to do when he was coaching complete time. He continued to talk usually with his mentor, Steve Spurrier, who went by means of his own retirement spell at South Carolina in 2015 before returning to football by way of the Orlando Apollos with the quick-lived AAF. Spurrier called his personal return to football a byproduct of the “three-year itch,” anything Stoops can relate to.
“[You understand] just how much you miss the camaraderie of becoming about your gang of players and your crew coaches,” Stoops mentioned. “You’re with all these guys all of the time. You get employed to it and then all of a sudden you happen to be removed from it. It really is not simple to, it is a huge adjustment.
“I was ready for that, but it was nevertheless hard.”
So, here is Stoops, age 59, and back in the game. This is different, although. The new XFL is pushing the mantra of being an actual football league led by Capital-F Football Guys. And Stoops is undoubtedly one of them. In contrast to college football, although, there are no boosters to glad-hand in the XFL. There are no recruits to tough sell and no excess nonsense. Stoops can coach some ball for a couple of months in the spring, be carried out by summer time and go see his son, Drake, at Oklahoma in the fall. It’s the excellent life with just the appropriate amount of football.
Stoops’ tale is hardly exclusive. June Jones, who coaches the Houston Roughnecks, knows precisely how important that balance is. Jones was an accomplished system-builder at Hawaii and SMU, taking two run-down teams and turning them into contenders. Jones enjoyed distinct success at Hawaii with a pair of top-ten all-time FBS passers, Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan. Nevertheless, by Jones’ final two years at SMU he looked tired and disinterested. He had been coaching for 30 years.
“Properly, I had a comparable situation to [Stoops],” Jones mentioned. “I stepped away at SMU since I was burnt out and was having some mental issues, forgetting stuff. And it just comes from that stress of not sleeping and all that sort of stuff. So, I had to take a step away. So, I went back, coached high school for a couple of years and then took the head job in Hamilton at CFL and got back in it.”
Stoops and Jones took a breath prior to diving back into football, a move that’s becoming far far more of a trend these days among massive-time college coaches. Across college football, far more and far more coaches appear to be conscious of their own career mortality and its side effects. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer stepped away in December of 2018 at age 54 due to wellness issues. This previous December, Washington coach Chris Petersenat age 55. Petersen left the door open to a return to coaching, but like so many other related instances, he lamented the stresses of coaching college ball at the Energy 5 level.
Coaching in the XFL has been reinvigorating. Stoops likened it to coaching a group of fifth-year seniors. Jones believed it was more like professional football. Even so, they view it, though, they agree it is a chance to start more than. Head coaches will hold basic manager titles on top of their usual coaching duties, but for ex-college coaches, the job is far far more compartmentalized. And college football fingerprints are all more than the coaching staffs in this league. Hal Mumme, the Godfather of the Air Raid offense, is working for Stoops as the offensive coordinator. Norm Chow, a long-time play-caller who was final observed struggling at Hawaii, is drawing up schemes for the L.A. Wildcats and Mike Riley is the OC for the Seattle Dragons.
“I love what we do. I love throwing the football around. I love teaching the guys anything new,” Jones said. “I actually take pleasure in seeing these guys go to a distinct level. To see [wide receivers] Cam Phillips and Kahlil Lewis, they’re going to genuinely excel in what we do simply because of the gifts they have. And we actually do a very good job of permitting those gifts to show within our offense.”
That’ll be a important point. The XFL hasto advantage the offense. Quarterback play will matter, which implies coaching will matter. There is no shortage of legendary coaches in the XFL, so the query will be whether or not they will be capable to maximize the capabilities of guys stuck in pro football purgatory. Commissioner Oliver Luck has stated in all the coaches he identified as candidates for the league, it was than newer ones. At some point, even though, if the XFL is to survive longterm, it’ll need younger coaches to step in. It’ll be another route for them to climb up the ladder although creating the league a lot more attractive.
For now, although, the XFL has turn out to be a landing spot for former college and pro coaches who want the fulfillment of staying in the game with out the stresses of obtaining to run each and every little portion of the team.
“In each and every spot I’ve been, it does not matter if it was the Oilers when I was there, the Falcons, the Chargers … they had been the worst team in the league,” Jones said. “SMU was the worst team. Hawaii was the worst group. And so, you had to build up to go. Now, [director of player personnel] Randy Mueller carried out a great job gathering the talent for this. So, this is the very first job I ever had exactly where we’re equal to everybody from the get go. So, I’m jacked up about it.”