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Game Preview: Renegades set for XFL debut against St. Louis Battlehawks

Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire

Game Preview: Renegades set for XFL debut against St. Louis Battlehawks

After a nearly two-decade-long hiatus, the XFL awaited return is here.

Similar to another Dallas area football team, media and followers of the Dallas Renegades are already placing high expectations for the Bob Stoops led team.

The former Oklahoma Sooner head coach has reunited with his former quarterback Landry Jones. The pair has yet to make their season debut against the St. Louis Battlehawks at Globe Life Park, yet, CBS Sports has them ranked as the second-best team.

We’ve seen media hype create a recipe for disaster for unproven Dallas football teams, but the Renegades boast a level of experience many teams cannot match.

Stoops posted a winning record in each of his 18 campaigns as a head coach.

He coached 18 seasons at the collegiate level, stepping away from the University of Oklahoma as the winningest coach in school history (190-48, .798). Stoops led the Sooners to a school-record 18 consecutive bowl games, including a National Championship in 2000 in just his second season at the helm.

Stoops led OU to 10 Big 12 Championships. No other program won more than two conference titles during his 18 years in Norman. From 1999-2016, no team in the nation had a better winning percentage versus the top 25 or better mark while playing at their home stadium.

Offensive Coordinator Hal Mumme is linked to the innovative “Air Raid Offense” that helped him record 142 wins as a college head coach.

Outside of having an experienced quarterback pilot his offense, Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar lead a talented running backs group.

Wide Receiver Jeff Badet looks to head his position group after being the first player chosen by the Renegades in the XFL draft in October. He’ll form a receiving duo with Jazz Ferguson who caught 66 passes for 1,117 yards and 13 touchdowns with Northwestern State in 2018.

Although Stoops and his former Oklahoma offensive prodigies headline the Renegades debut Sunday, Dallas’ defense will be a true testament in foreshadowing how far this team can go.

The Air Raid offense can create a lot of exciting plays on the field, but it also puts their defense in harm’s way if they constantly have to put them back on the field (see Chip Kelly’s tenure with Philadelphia).

Defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat was a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys. At the time of his retirement, he ranked among the NFL’s top-15 career sack leaders.

Assistant Linebacking Coach Mickey Matthews led James Madison University to the 2004 National Championship.

Former 2015 second-round NFL draft pick Hau’oli Kikaha had 19 sacks during his final year at the University of Washington and eight career sacks in 27 games with the New Orleans Saints.

His defensive linemate Gelen Robinson finished with 164 tackles, 35 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in college and creates another disruptive force for the Renegades.

Their secondary has plenty of experience with safety Josh Hawkins leading the group with 32 NFL games on his resume. Cornerback Josh Thornton has spent time with five different NFL camps since 2017, while Treston Decoud saw action in 10 games for the Houston Texans in 2017.

Sunday marks the first time a professional football game will be held at Globe Life Park. Coach Stoops looks to make sure it’s also the site of the Renegades’ first win of the 2020 XFL season.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. central time and will be broadcast on ESPN.

Staff Writer covering the Dallas Cowboys | Madden Legend | SFA Alum | Fascinated by Success

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