The Tampa Bay Vipers are in Houston wrapping up training camp as the team prepares for its inaugural 2020 season.
The Vipers began preparations for the regular season in early December as they held OTA’s and mini-camp in Plant City before breaking for the holidays.
The team commenced in Houston last week for training camp as the season opener for the Vipers is just three weeks away as they open up on the road February 9th against the New York Guardians at Met life stadium.
The Vipers are part of the new XFL which begins play in February and all eight teams in the XFL are in Houston for their individual training camps.
The Vipers have 70 players in camp and will need to trim the roster to 52 before the opener on February 9th.
The Vipers have made a couple of roster moves since the team has been in Houston acquiring wide receiver Stacy Coley from the Dallas Renegades in exchange for receiver Freddie Martino.
Coley has the second most receptions in Miami Hurricanes history and is excited for the opportunity to join the Vipers.
Vipers head coach Marc Trestman was excited to acquire to Coley. “He adds speed to our unit and fits in with what we’re trying to accomplish offensively. We had the chance to meet with him before the draft and he was certainly high on list, so we got the opportunity to get him back.”
The Vipers announced today that they have also added suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway to the active roster.
Callaway was was suspended by the Browns for showing up late to a game in November. Calloway was also suspended 10 games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Calloway starred at the University of Florida and had 51 receptions and five touchdowns in 20 games for the Browns.
The Vipers had another Florida receiver Rannell Hall on the training camp roster, but Hall has been switched to defensive back.
Plant High native and former Georgia star Aaron Murray is the favorite to start at quarterback and has liked what he has seen so far “Both the offense and defense made some big plays. That’s what you want. You want competition. I thought everyone was excited to be out there”
Former USF star Quinten Flowers is competing with Murray at quarterback and is also getting some reps at running back.
Flowers is enjoying his time with the Vipers so far “It’s going great, learning from Coach Trestman, learning from Coach (Josh) Neiswander, it’s making me a better player.”
Murray’s focus along with offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo is getting used to calling plays quickly with the 25 second clock between plays.
Elizando said “You have to, as a playcaller, go through a number of different scenarios — where the ball’s at, the down and distance, we’re in field goal range and all those things have to be processed rather quickly. You have to be two or three steps ahead of the game.”
The Vipers have had two scrimmages against other teams while in Houston, most recently against the Houston Roughnecks.
After the scrimmage Trestman has these thoughts about the scrimmage. “This was our first time in a team concept and I thought we handled it really well. We had some good execution, we took care of the football, but most importantly, we had good discipline and kept our emotions in check.”
There are just a couple of more days in training camp, before the roster cuts will be made and final preparations begin for the 2020 season.
The Vipers home opener will be Saturday February 22nd against Houston at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2PM.