BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WGNO) — The second season of the United States Football League is just days away, with the New Orleans Breakers opening up against the Pittsburgh Maulers on Sunday, April 16.
First-year Breakers head coach John DeFilippo, who took the job after Larry Fedora stepped down following the league’s first year back since the mid-1980s.
‘Coach Flip’ has spent the majority of his career as an offensive coach in the NFL, including quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles during their Super Bowl championship season in 2017.
Now, DeFilippo inherits a QB room without last year’s starter Kyle Sloter, who finished second in the league for passing yards (1,798) before moving on to the Jacksonville Jaguars and eventually landing in the XFL with the Arlington Renegades.
This season, the Breakers roster a trio of quarterbacks, all vying for the starting job, including McLeod Bethel-Thompson (Sacramento State), Aqeel Glass (Alabama A&M) and Davis Cheek (Elon).
DeFilippo says each possess their own impressive skillset and has shown promise during the team’s three-week training camp. However, for strategic reasons, he won’t unveil the starter until the opener.
“The Maulers will find out who is starting on the first play from scrimmage,” DeFilippo told WGNO Sports. “We want to keep as many cards close to our chest as possible to gain every possible advantage going into to Week 1.”
DeFilippo also said he would not be surprised to see all three get playing time this season.
“So we’re excited about all three of those guys,” DeFilippo told WGNO Sports on Monday. “And I told them when I decided, you know, which way to go with this thing, I’d be shocked at the end of the season if all three guys didn’t have at least one passing attempt and stat sheet, because that’s just the nature of today’s [pro] football.”
The Breakers finished 6-4 in the regulars season, 3-3 in the division, before losing to eventual champion and USFL South-rival Birmingham, who swept all three games against New Orleans last year.
Kickoff for Breakers-Maulers is set for 5:30 p.m.