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XFL 2024: Houston Roughnecks Hire Special Teams Coach, Add New Player

On July 24th, it was revealed that the Houston Roughnecks hired a replacement special teams coach to fill the opening left by Greg McMahon. Back in May, McMahon accepted a job that made him the special teams coordinator at Tulane University, allowing him to return to the college ranks where he had spent a large portion of his career. Now, it will be Tory Woodbury leading the specialist unit in Houston, a coach who already has XFL experience with the St. Louis BattleHawks. 

Woodbury is a former quarterback, having played college football at Division II Winston-Salem State. He signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2001, splitting time between quarterback and wide receiver. Woodbury was with the Jets for the 2001 and 2002 seasons, before eventually signing with the New Orleans Saints in 2003.

After being cut by the Saints, Woodbury stayed in Louisiana and joined the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League (AFL) for their 2004 season. With the VooDoo, Woodbury appeared in a single game at the receiver position, catching 3 passes for 23 yards. An NFL comeback attempt with the Buffalo Bills didn’t materialize, and Woodbury last took the field as a member of NFL Europe’s Cologne Centurions in 2006. 

Woodbury first began coaching in 2011, being hired by Delaware State as their running backs coach. During this time, he also interned with both the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars as a scout. In 2015, Woodbury became the offensive coordinator at Johnson C. Smith University, a Division II program in his home state of North Carolina. By 2017, Woodbury was getting his first shot at the professional coaching level, joining Sean McVay’s staff as assistant special teams coach with the Los Angeles Rams. He held this position until 2021, and doubled as one of the team’s college scouts through 2019. In Woodbury’s last season with the Rams, the team would win Super Bowl LVI. 

Woodbury moved back down to the collegiate level in 2022, working at Morgan State as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Most recently, he was on Anthony Becht’s staff in St. Louis holding the same title. With the BattleHawks, Woodbury had the chance to work with Darrius Shepherd, one of the league’s most prominent and effective return specialists. Shepherd has since signed a contract with the Los Angeles Chargers. It’s safe to say that the Woodbury hire is an exciting one, and he can certainly bring some valuable experience to the team.

In addition to hiring a new coach, the Roughnecks also announced the signing of linebacker Omari Cobb on June 28th. Cobb, a Marshall alum, becomes the third player from the school to join the Roughnecks, with the other two being linebacker Tavante Beckett and center Alex Mollette. During his senior campaign with the Thundering Herd in 2019, Cobb recorded 114 total tackles (45 solo) and 7.5 tackles for loss.

He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2020, appearing in a single game before being released from the practice squad at the start of the 2021 season. He would later sign with the New York Giants, remaining on their practice squad for the rest of 2021. Most recently, Cobb was drafted by the San Antonio Brahmas and appeared in their training camp. 

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Football journalist/scout/future coach covering the Houston Roughnecks. Air Raid/Run-and-Shoot enthusiast.

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