The USFL’s first season in 37 years kicks off Saturday. Here’s a team-by-team overview of the new league:
Coach: Jump Holtz
Players to note: WR Victor Bolden (Oregon State), QB Alex McGough (FIU)
What there is to know: The Stallions are the only team that will actually be able to play home games, with the whole league being played in Birmingham. Bolden, a former game-breaker at Oregon State, is one to watch on this offense, and there are also some familiar names on defense in Scooby Wright, Brian Allen and Josh Shaw.
Coach: Kevin Sumlin
Players to note: QB Clayton Thorson, OLB Donald Payne
What there is to know: The Gamblers have not one but two local connections at quarterback: Thorson was on the Giants’ practice squad last season and their backup Kenji Bahar is a Monmouth product. Sumlin also brings extensive college experience, with stints in Houston, Texas A&M and Arizona. Dalyn Dawkins, who played at Colorado State before a stint with the Titans, is a potential name for running back.
New Orleans thugs
Coach: larry fedora
Players to note: CB Adonis Alexander, DE Davin Bellamy
What there is to know: The Breakers were the last team to pick a quarterback, meaning they were able to focus on building their defense. Bellamy, the first sniper caught, was a key part of Georgia’s defense in 2017 that made the national title game. Alexander has some NFL experience at the corner, as does Shareef Miller — a former fourth-round pick — on the opposite edge to Bellamy.
Tampa Bay Bandits
Coach: Todd Haley
Players to note: QB Jordan Ta’amu, S Obi Melifonwu
What there is to know: Ta’amu, who competed with Shea Patterson for the starting job at Ole Miss years ago, will be vying with him for the league’s best quarterback. He might also have the most dangerous weapon in Eli Rogers, who had a successful stint as a Steelers catcher. Melifonwu, a former second-round pick who caught fire with the Raiders, has some pedigree, though he never understood in the NFL.
Coach: Jeff Fisher
Players to note: QB Shea Patterson, RB Stevie Scott III
What there is to know: Fisher has the most head coaching experience in the league, and the Panthers used the first draft pick on Patterson, who played his college ball at Ole Miss and Michigan. However, former Broncos QB Paxton Lynch will be breathing down Patterson’s neck for game time. The Panthers also picked most of their defense late and will face question marks on that side of the ball.
New Jersey Generals
Coach: mike riley
Players to note: RB Mike Weber, DT Destiny Vaeao
What there is to know: The QB situation here is a bit problematic. The generals will likely start either former New York guard Luis Perez or De’Andre Johnson, which could put them on the back foot offensively. Don’t be surprised if they lean on Weber, a former 1,000-yard rusher in college.
Coach: Bart Andrus
Players to note: DE Liberty Akinmoladun, TE Bug Howard
What there is to know: Andrus is looking to add another accolade to a list that includes the 2020 Spring League title, two NFL Europe titles and a NAIA Coach of the Year award. He’ll have to do it mostly behind a defense that includes names like Akinmoladun, a former undrafted free agent for the Giants, and former Michigan cornerback Channing Stribling, the No. 2 cornerback on the board in the draft.
Coach: Kirby Wilson
Players to note: QB Kyle Lauletta, DT Carlo Kemp
What there is to know: Lauletta, another former giant, will look to prove himself by playing for Wilson, a longtime NFL running backs coach who will be head coach for the first time. They bet on Big Ten products at skill positions, with Wisconsin’s Garrett Groshek the likely No. 1 running back and former Michigan State Matt Seybert on tight end.
New York Post