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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Football

XFL names Houston team’s head coach


Oliver Luck (left) introduced June Jones as head coach of the Houston XFL team. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Oliver Luck (left) introduced June Jones as head coach of the Houston XFL team at a press conference. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

The XFL announced on Monday that former Houston Oilers quarterback coach June Jones will be at the helms of the league’s Houston team as head coach and general manager.

The 66-year-old filled the eighth and final head coaching vacancy in the XFL behind other notable coaches such as Dallas’ Bob Stoops of Oklahoma Sooner fame and Los Angeles’ Winston Moss, a Super Bowl XLV champion with the Green Bay Packers.

“I’m excited and honored to be helping coach Shepherd in a new era of XFL football here in Houston,” said Brian Cooper, XFL Houston’s newly hired president.

A former pupil of Mouse Davis in his time at Portland State, Jones plans on employing the same run and shoot offense that Davis pioneered, and that former Sporting News Coach of the Year has championed throughout his career.

“I have always tied myself to Mouse’s offense,” Jones said. “About three-quarters of what we do is originally from Mouse.”

The run and shoot, famous for extensive receiver motion, is a tool that appeals to league officials, given the XFL’s focus on high tempo and production.

XFL Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck hopes that the addition of Jones and his offense to the league will help in establishing the “reimagined football” that he and owner Vince McMahon wish to create throughout the league.

“The goal is an up-tempo, fast-paced game. Fewer stoppages, fewer delays and lots of scoring,” Luck said. “It’s a reimagined game.”

The league, whose previous iteration played its first and only season in 2001 before folding a month after its championship game, expects to implement rules different to those of the NFL to push a fast-paced offensive environment.

Among them are a proposal to allow forward passes past the line of scrimmage and not allowing fair catches, a carry over from the 2001 iteration of XFL.

Luckily for Jones, some of the rules are the same as the CFL, where he spent time in as a quarterback for the Toronto Argonauts in the 1980s and head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2017-2018.

“I loved my time in Canada,” Jones said. “It’s a wide-open game. We’re looking at adopting some of those roles that make that game a little more upper tempo and pace.”

Although Jones does not have previous experience as general manager in his 46-year career in football, he said he is excited to be back in the city and take over XFL Houston once the team takes the field at TDECU Stadium in February 2020.

“Having lived here…” Jones said, “I’m really excited about this opportunity.”

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