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Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops Spoke on Donald Payne Injury, DC Defenders, and More

Arlington Renegades head coach Bob Stoops spoke to the media Wednesday as he covered multiple topics including the latest injury on linebacker Donald Payne.

The Renegades are coming off a massive 18-16 win over the Orlando Guardians Saturday to put the team at a 4-4 record on the season. They are currently two games ahead of the San Antonio Brahmas for second place in the south division. Arlington is preparing for a matchup against the 7-1 DC Defenders on the road. Coach Stoops spoke to the media Wednesday as he discusses everything Arlington Renegades.

Coach Bob Stoops Topics

Donald Payne Injury Update

MARCH 26, 2023: The San Antonio Brahmas against the Arlington Renegades at Choctaw Stadium on March 26th, 2023 in Arlington, TX. (© Joshua Gateley/XFL)

One question that was asked was regarding the injury update for Donald Payne. During the game against the Guardians Saturday, Payne missed the second half of the game with an ankle injury. Coach Stoops addressed the injury as he revealed what Payne has been dealing with and his current timeline.

“Yeah, he’s got a high ankle sprain and he’ll be out for the rest of the year.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

It’s a big blow to the team as Payne is currently second in the XFL in tackles with 61. He also has half a sack, five tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, and one interception. Replacing him with either Ryan Mueller or Isaiah Graham-Mobley filling in the inside linebacker position.

Will Clarke Breakout Performance

APRIL 8, 2023: The Arlington Renegades against the Orlando Guardians at Camping World Stadium on April 8th, 2023 in Orlando, FL. (© Sam Navarro/XFL)

One of the biggest difference makers for the Renegades last week against Orlando was Will Clarke. He had his best game of the season recording three tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery in the win. Coach Stoops had high regard for his performance in the game and all season.

“Yeah, Will’s been fantastic. Always plays hard, is always out there making plays, getting pressures on the quarterback. And he had an off the hook game this past weekend with forcing turnovers, getting sacks, tackles for loss, on and on. So, he really did a great job.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

So far this season, Clarke has recorded 18 tackles, four sacks, six tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery this season. He has proven to be a reliable veteran for Arlington’s defense and does a stellar job pressuring the quarterback. With the loss of Payne, they will need Clarke to step up even more and continue to help the team create turnovers.

DC Defenders Evaluation

Photo via USA Today

Arlington has their biggest game of the season Sunday against the DC Defenders who have won seven of their first eight games of the season. DC has proven to have the most balanced offensive attack in the XFL thanks to their quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and running back Abram Smith. Coach Stoops spoke highly of both players as well as receiver Chris Blair.

“Yeah, he’s (Ta’amu) played great as has their running back. Abram Smith as well, has been awesome. And their one receiver, Blair, has really been outstanding. So, they’re a good, solid group. And, yeah, Ta’amu just the ability to scramble is a big deal. So, we have to do a really good job of trying to keep him in the pocket and squeeze him a little bit.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

Playoff Scenario

APRIL 8, 2023: The Arlington Renegades against the Orlando Guardians at Camping World Stadium on April 8th, 2023 in Orlando, FL. (© Sam Navarro/XFL)

The playoff scenario is simple for Arlington: win and they are in or San Antonio loses and the Renegades are in. It appears it would take a massive collapse from the Renegades in order to not make the playoffs, but a win this week is not guaranteed since they are playing the best team in the XFL. The Brahmas are facing the Orlando Guardians which is a winnable game for San Antonio. All of that doesn’t affect Coach Stoops and how his team plays.

“Again, it got nothing to do with us with what San Antonio does every week matters to us. And if every week matters to you, you can’t all of a sudden be different this week. I’ve never really found a way to operate that way to all of a sudden work harder, have it be more important this week.”

Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops

The Renegades-Defenders game takes place in DC on Sunday at noon EST.

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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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