Skip Holtz, Birmingham Stallions look to run it again in Season 2

Birmingham Stallions head coach Skip Holtz had some uncommon free time throughout the conventional soccer season in 2022.

“It’s the first time in 40 years that I had a fall off,” Holtz stated. “So, it was amazing. I got a chance to go back to Notre Dame, where I graduated. And I went to several of their games. I saw my son coach (Trey Holtz, offensive quality control coach at UNC-Charlotte). I got a chance to play fall golf, which I never played fall golf in my whole life. I’m just used to working 18-hour days, seven days a week and all of a sudden, after 40 years it just went (snaps his finger) — okay you just have to make a couple phone calls this week. It was different, but I got a chance to spend some time with my wife and kids. It was good.”

Refreshed, Holtz stated he’s able to get again to work, because the Stallions defend the USFL title they earned with a 33-30 victory over the Philadelphia Stars in final yr’s championship sport.

[Everything to know about 2023 Birmingham Stallions schedule]

Holtz stated he’ll return each quarterbacks from that crew in J’Mar Smith and Alex McGough.

However, the Stallions should substitute top-of-the-line receivers and return males within the USFL final season in Victor Bolden Jr., who hung out with the Arizona Cardinals and signed a futures contract with the Denver Broncos.

“He was a difference maker for us, and he’ll be hard to replace,” Holtz stated. “Obviously, he was our leading guy receiver-wise and everything. He played a huge role for us. Returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the championship game. He played a major role for us in having an opportunity to win.”

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Holtz stated it will likely be as much as new faces and guys coming again to fill the void left by Bolden’s absence, with the expectation that Marlon Williams will play an even bigger function within the offense. Williams completed with seven catches for 105 receiving yards and a rating within the championship sport.

Holtz stated he’ll proceed to search for homegrown merchandise — like working again Bo Scarbrough — who both prepped in Alabama or performed faculty soccer at University of Alabama, Auburn or University of Alabama-Birmingham, to additional join with the group.

Winner of 9 straight to start out the common season, Holtz additionally understands the Stallions may have a goal on their again because the defending champs.

“Yes, without a doubt we embrace it,” Holtz stated. “We have a great nucleus coming back. We’ve added some quality free-agent signings, so we’ve got some good additions. But until we play again, we were the last ones to hoist the trophy. And I think being the champion, our team is excited. I keep hearing from them, ‘Hey coach, I’ve got to come back and defend.’ I think they are excited to have the opportunity to try and do this again.”

Holtz and the Stallions get a possibility to start out that protection throughout the opening week of the season on April 15, at residence in opposition to the New Jersey Generals. The Stallions have three straight residence video games earlier than hitting the highway for the primary time in opposition to the Pittsburgh Maulers in Canton, Ohio in Week 4.

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The Stallions have been the one crew to get pleasure from a home-field benefit with all eight groups enjoying in Birmingham final season. That modifications this yr, with the USFL increasing to 4 websites — Memphis, Detroit and Canton, along with Birmingham.

“What’s going to be different is going to the travel, obviously,” Holtz stated. “That’s going to be different. But it’s also the growth that we need. Ultimately, you want to be in eight different cities. You don’t want to get stuck in one spot. Year 1, we did what hadn’t been done since the mid-80s, we were a spring league that completed. Now, what’s next? Let’s get into a couple other cities and spread out a little more.”

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, masking the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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