Former FSU participant Terrell Buckley to steer Orlando’s XFL group


Sometimes in soccer, as in life, you solely want an opportunity.

For Terrell Buckley, it comes within the type of a head coaching job within the XFL.

After a stellar taking part in profession as an All-American cornerback at Florida State and within the NFL — and assistant teaching in stops at FSU, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss — Buckley felt prepared for that subsequent step.

“We had just finished the best season that the University of Mississippi has ever had,” mentioned Buckley. “Over the last five years, I felt like I’ve been ready for [a defensive coordinator] job or a head coaching job at any level, wherever that was and I was just not getting opportunities.”

In January, whereas on the American Football Coaches Association conference, Buckley acquired a name about his curiosity in turning into an XFL coach. After a dialog with Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, Buckley made the change.

“I wasn’t hired and I wasn’t promised anything. At that point it was, ‘Would you be interested?” he mentioned. “Not even with them [directly]. It came from a third and fourth party asking.”

Buckley took that leap of religion. Three phrases come to thoughts when requested to recall when he remembers in regards to the XFL.

“He Hate Me,” Buckley mentioned of the nickname former participant Rod Smart used on the again of his jersey.

The XFL started as a partnership between the World Wrestling Federation and NBC in 2001 and it featured soccer groups from eight cities, together with Orlando, with a schedule set within the spring. Massive monetary losses, dwindling attendance and tv viewership led to the league folding after one season.

Buckley, 51, was conscious of the league’s rebirth and subsequent sale in August 2020 to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, actor/producer and former University of Miami soccer participant, and his enterprise accomplice Dany Garcia.

Still, it wasn’t essentially on his radar.

He wasn’t positive the place the job would take him, however Buckley couldn’t imagine his luck when he came upon Orlando was certainly one of eight cities to host a group together with Arlington (Texas), Houston, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington D.C.

After a dialog with Johnson and Garcia, nonetheless, Buckley was offered.

“I used to live in Orlando, my eldest child was born in Seminole Hospital and I’m in Orlando all the time,” he mentioned. “It’s a perfect fit.”

The Orlando group will play its house video games in Camping World Stadium, a well-known venue to Buckley. He was a part of the Florida State group that traveled to Orlando to defeat Virginia Tech there in 1991. He would later return for the Citrus Bowl as an assistant on Bobby Bowden’s teaching employees because the Seminoles received two Champs Sports Bowls (2008, 2011).

“A lot of great vibes from the old Citrus Bowl,” mentioned Buckley. “I want to bring those vibes back to Orlando in the XFL in 2023.”

The title of the Orlando group stays a thriller even to Buckley.

“I want to say upper management knows, but they haven’t told us,” he mentioned. “I want to know, too, so I can start thinking of the hand signal I can give fans to let them know this is our team. Orlando is my city, and it’s our team. We own that. Let’s pack the stadium and win this championship.”

Even with out a title, Buckley guarantees followers they are going to be in for a deal with with a group that shall be thrilling to look at and revolutionary. He additionally sees alternatives for neighborhood involvement and unbelievable entry.

“We’re going to play fast and we’re going to play fearless,” he mentioned. “Those are kind of my models: Smart, fast, fearless and we will have a good time doing it.”

Buckley and his teaching employees, which options Larry Lee (director of participant personnel), Robert Ford (offensive coordinator) and Tony Carter (defensive coordinator), shall be busy this fall. They shall be scouting gamers who’ve been lower by the NFL, Canadian Football League or USFL, with the primary draft set for November.

For some gamers who will make up Orlando’s roster, this shall be a second likelihood. For others, it could be the final hope.

“Dwayne always talks about the 54, being that 54th player,” Buckley mentioned, referring to the NFL’s 53-man rosters. “You’re good, but you’re not good enough. Well, I feel that same way, and I think coaches have felt like I’ve been that 54th coach.”

Training camp takes place in Arlington, Texas, the place the XFL can have its soccer operations hub. The season kicks off Feb. 18.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Matt Murschel at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com or observe him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.

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