Looking At The DC Defenders 2024 UFL Coaching Staff | Reggie Barlow

Looking At The DC Defenders 2024 UFL Coaching Staff

The DC Defenders officially unveiled their 2024 coaching staff this week, with just a few days left until UFL training camp begins. XFL Coach of the Year, Reggie Barlow, is returning to DC this season, along with Barlow’s coordinators from 2023, OC Fred Kaiss and DC Gregg Williams.

The main takeaways from DC’s staff selection include: TE coach Cody Crills and ST coordinator/LB coach Jamie Sharper will not return, Sean Anderson replaces Alvance Robinson as WR coach, and Deion Harris promoted from QC coach to LB coach.

Reggie Barlow | Head Coach

After taking the XFL by storm last season, Reggie Barlow has earned himself quite the early reputation in spring football. HC Reggie Barlow led DC to a 9-1 regular season record in 2023, before meeting the Arlington Renegades in the XFL Championship and falling 35-26. Despite the loss, DC remains an expected powerhouse in the UFL after a strong offseason and the major resigning of QB Jordan Ta’amu.

Barlow certainly has his mind set on another league-leading regular season, but with an expected increase in competition it will be interesting to see whether any major scheme adjustments are made.

Fred Kaiss | Offensive Coordinator

An underrated cog to DC’s success in 2023, OC Fred Kaiss orchestrated a special offense in the XFL last year. DC led the XFL in rushing offense, highlighted by All-XFL RB Abram Smith. With Abram Smith’s return, the XFL’s league-leading rusher will look for another fruitful season under Kaiss.

Last season, we saw Fred Kaiss deploy a two-quarterback offense with Jordan Ta’amu and D’Eriq King. With Jalan McClendon and Deondre Francois now presumably set to compete for QB2, we’ll have to wait and see if DC rolls out a similar system.

Gregg Williams | Defensive Coordinator

For a period of time, it seemed that Gregg Williams would be leaving the Defenders for an NFL opportunity this offseason. However, Williams returns for a second season with DC with a majority of his returning cast.

Gregg Williams’ defenses are notoriously known for playing quick to the ball at all times and having an aggressive style of play through all phases. The XFL was no exception to that either, as DC was second in sacks last year behind only Houston.

Speaking of Houston’s pass rush, the top two leaders in sacks for Houston last season, Trent Harris and Tim Ward, were drafted by DC during the dispersal draft process this offseason. Harris and Ward are significant additions to DC’s roster, even with Davin Bellamy returning to the District as well.

It should be exciting to see the defensive sets Williams deploys with so much talent upfront this season.

Shannon Harris | Quarterbacks

Harris coached with HC Reggie Barlow at Virginia State University as OC and QB coach in 2021, before leaving VSU for the XFL last season. Harris returns with his top guy from last season, Jordan Ta’amu, which must be a massive weight off of his shoulders. Harris will remain a key component of DC’s staff.

Sean Anderson | Wide Receivers

Sean Anderson is the newest arrival to DC’s coaching staff and is listed as WR coach, but will “most likely wear multiple hats”, per Mike Mitchell from SI.

Anderson’s coaching experience runs deep, with 18 years of experience stretching from Rice University, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Benedict College, Lincoln University, and Northwestern State. Throughout his tenures he coached quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, and most notably, special teams. Look for Anderson to play a role in DC’s special teams, with a ST coordinator no longer listed for the team.

Russ Ehrenfeld | Offensive Line

Ehrenfeld returns for a second consecutive season with the DC Defenders. His offensive line group was among the best in 2023, including stalwart All-XFL OL Liam Fornadel, who is returning for another season with DC. Fornadel is joined by fellow returning offensive linemen D’Marcus Hayes, Kyle Murphy, and Michael Maietti. Despite injuries throughout the offensive line last season, Ehrenfeld kept the line steady which was vital to the team’s success.

Jeremy Watkins | Defensive Line

Jeremy Watkins was another coach snagged from Virginia State last season by DC. Watkins will play a big part in making some tough decisions at the end of training camp, as the defensive line appears loaded on paper.

Deion Harris | Linebackers

Deion Harris served as quality control and assistant defensive line coach for DC in 2023. Prior to professional coaching, Harris was a player and graduate assistant at VSU. Harris will now serve as the LB coach for DC after impressing in year one. It is unclear whether Harris will remain an assistant defensive line coach, but it’s safe to say he will be considering the positionless defense DC runs.

Vernon Dean | Defensive Backs

Vernon Dean is another returning member of Reggie Barlow’s staff. Dean’s ties with Barlow are deep, but he coached with Barlow at two different universities before joining forces in DC. Dean also played in the NFL, where he spent five seasons with Washington and one with Seattle. Dean brings an immense amount of experience to DC’s coaching staff.

Dean’s evaluation process during camp will be critical to the decision-making process when it comes to roster decisions on the backend.

Von Hutchins | General Manager

To no one’s surprise, Von Hutchins is returning to DC in the newly formed UFL. Hutchins returns with a slightly different title, formerly Director of Player Personnel, and now General Manager of the DC Defenders.

Hutchins did an incredible job last season with roster building, with clear evidence displayed on the field with a 9-1 record. His experience as a former NFL player certainly plays a part in his eye for talent, along with a clear vision for the type of players he wants.

Final Thoughts

One clear message throughout this coaching staff is experience. Not too many young faces when you gaze across the staff, which is rare when you look across NFL and other UFL coaching staffs. However, with a majority of the staff returning, that should bode well for DC especially when it comes to starting the season on the right foot and without any major hiccups.

The UFL should present an even grander challenge to Barlow and staff compared to last season, which should provide for an enticing storyline as the season progresses.

What are your thoughts on the DC Defenders coaching staff? Will Reggie Barlow lead the team back to the Championship this year? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!