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Arlington Renegades: Coach Bob Stoops Speaks on Playoffs, Houston Roughnecks, and Injury Updates

Arlington Renegades head coach Bob Stoops spoke with the media Wednesday as the team prepares for their south division playoff game against the Houston Roughnecks.

The Renegades are coming off a 25-9 regular-season finale loss to the Houston Roughnecks as they finish their regular season at 4-6 on the year. Arlington knew going into that game though they were in the playoffs thanks to the San Antonio Brahmas losing to the DC Defenders on Saturday 29-28. This made Sunday’s game more about getting momentum into the playoffs, but it did not turn out that way for Arlington.

Coach Stoops spoke with the media regarding their preparation for the game Saturday night and how they plan on beating Houston. He also gave some injury updates on running back Leddie Brown and linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley. The return of Will Clarke and De’Veon Smith was another topic he spoke on as he discussed the importance of having them back in the lineup.

Coach Stoops Media Availability Topics

Injury Updates/Returning Players

APRIL 23, 2023: The Houston Roughnecks against the Arlington Renegades at Choctaw Stadium on April 23rd, 2023 in Arlington, TX. (© Michael Ainsworth/XFL)

On Tuesday, the team released their first injury report of the week that included running back Leddie Brown and linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley as non-participants for practice Tuesday. Coach Stoops gave an update on each player and their playing status for Saturday.

“Isaiah (Graham-Mobley) won’t be able to play, but Leddie (Brown) should be able to. He’s been rehabbing and doing some things, so we’ll see later in the week.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

It’s yet another blow to the linebacker position that has already seen players like Donald Payne and Edmond Robinson being out with injuries. The good news is that Brown is progressing well as he has emerged as a good second option at running back behind De’Veon Smith.

Speaking of Smith, he and defensive lineman Will Clarke did not play Sunday as they were resting for the playoffs. They are both slated to return to the lineup this week as the team will need them at their best with a championship spot on the line. Coach Stoops discussed the importance of the two veteran leaders returning for Saturday.

“Yeah, hopefully, they’ll make a difference. Definitely. They’ve been two of our leaders and very strong players for us, so hopefully they can make a difference on each side of the ball.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

Houston Roughnecks Preparation

APRIL 23, 2023: The Houston Roughnecks against the Arlington Renegades at Choctaw Stadium on April 23rd, 2023 in Arlington, TX. (© Kevin Jairaj/XFL)

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the Renegades now prepare for their three meeting with Houston. Despite the loss, there is still plenty of film Arlington can use from Sunday’s game to get them prepared throughout the week.

“You use a lot of it. No one’s able to change all that much in a couple of three practices. Sure. It matters. You study it, and you try and make some adjustments.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

This week, the team is focused on multiple aspects of the game to be ready to pull off an upset against Houston. Coach Stoops shared what they need to do to punch their ticket to the XFL title game.

“Well, as much as anything, play in a good way. We didn’t play very well. Again, I’m not trying to take a thing away from Houston, but we made a lot of mistakes, and as much as anything, our execution offense, defense, tackling better, being better on third downs, offense, short yardage. Again, we said it all year. We hadn’t been able to pick up third and short, fourth and short. And then what happens over a period of time? You don’t feel very confident going for it on fourth and short. So that whole part of the game has hurt us the last two games in a row. We’ve given up an offensive turnover for a touchdown. So, take care of the football, be better in short yardage and third downs on offense, and we’ve got a chance.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

Playoff Chatter

APRIL 23, 2023: The Houston Roughnecks against the Arlington Renegades at Choctaw Stadium on April 23rd, 2023 in Arlington, TX. (© Alex Bierens de Haan/XFL)

A lot of conversations have been focused on how the playoff system is set in the XFL. Because of their rules, the 4-6 Renegades were able to get into the playoffs over the 7-3 St. Louis Battlehawks because Arlington finished second in the south division. St. Louis finished third in the north division as they lost the tiebreaker with the also 7-3 Seattle Sea Dragons. That kind of chatter has not been a focus for Coach Stoops and the team this week.

“I don’t in the end, the rules are the rules. If they don’t like the rules, change the rules. So, this is the way it was set up, so be it. And we just focus. Like I said earlier, we got to be at our best. That’s all we can do something about.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

The intensity and focus always change for teams when they enter the playoff picture with more money and an XFL title on the line. Coach Stoops has not changed how the team has practiced this week because it is a playoff game.

“Yeah, not a lot different. Practice is practice. We’re doing the best we can. Hopefully, we can make some improvements by a long shot than what we put on the field last week, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

The Arlington Renegades take on the Houston Roughnecks with an XFL Championship spot on the line Saturday at 6:00 pm EST on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

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Anthony Miller is a credential reporter and writer for XFL NewsHub. Anthony writes about the NFL, specifically the Philadelphia Eagles. Follow Anthony on Twitter @ByAnthonyMiller.

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