How Cole McDonald and Nick Holley Can Add Creativity to Houston Roughnecks Conversions

How Cole McDonald and Nick Holley Can Add Creativity to Roughnecks Conversions

In Week 1 of the XFL season, everything went right for the Houston Roughnecks, except extra points. The Roughnecks went 0-4 on extra points as they tried to make Cole McDonald their “extra point specialist.” While the idea of having McDonald be the specialist in these high-leverage situations is good, as he had a similar role at Hawaii, there is another former quarterback on the roster who can mix things up for the Roughnecks.

In his first three seasons at Kent State, Roughnecks receiver Nick Holley rotated between running back and wide receiver. In 2016, after four quarterback injuries, Holley became the starter late in the season. Holley performed admirably, throwing for 868 yards and four touchdowns with only three interceptions, while also adding 920 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing. Holley’s performance was enough to earn him a Week 2 start against Howard for the Golden Flashes before a season-ending injury the following week ended his 2017 Senior season.

With Holley and McDonald, the Roughnecks can run a two-quarterback formation with a variety of plays at their disposal. In three of their four two-point conversions, the Roughnecks ran this three-wide receiver set below with Garrett Owens at H-Back. The Roughnecks can either run a speed option with the snap going to either Holley or McDaniel and Owens leading the way, or they could run a quarterback power with Nick Holley carrying the ball and McDonald and Owens lead-blocking. Before you laugh, McDonald would make a capable lead-blocker at 6’4” and 220 pounds alongside Owens’ 6’3” 230-pound frame with the deception before the snap still in play.

The Roughnecks can even take a page out of the 2018 Chicago Bears’ playbook and run this play, in which the Bears had Chase Daniel line up at running back next to Mitchell Trubisky.

Another fascinating play the Roughnecks could run works off the speed option they ran on one of their one-pointers last week. The Roughnecks could line Holley up at running back in this singleback formation, have McDonald toss Holley the option pitch, and have Holley throw a pass to the trips side. 

While the missed extra points did not hurt the Roughnecks, they will be in multiple games where one or two points make the difference. Some creativity on extra points could mean the difference in those close games as the season goes on. Luckily, they have two versatile pieces to confuse defenses. 

How long do you think the Houston Roughnecks can keep up their undefeated streak? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.