Week 6 Preview With Running Back James Butler

Unbeaten Roughnecks go on the road

Getty Images

Under June Jones' run and shoot offense, running isn't a priority. However, we've seen it slowly start to pick up. Do you feel like you and the run game are finally hitting your stride?

"Yeah for sure. I feel like me and Andre have definitely taken advantage of our opportunities. Some teams are starting to drop into zone coverage so often they're giving us light boxes and me and Dre are just really allowed to take advantage of those boxes."

Defensively, the Guardians only allowed 1.8 yards per rush attempt after contact, the best in the XFL last week. Because of the good tackling on this team, do you feel like you can still exploit them using the run game?

"For sure. It's just going to come down to just block and tackle, basic football. It's going to come down to how well we execute on Saturday. "

What's your main focus going up against this Guardians defense? More pass blocking? More catching out of the backfield?

"Just executing what Coach June really has for us. I really like the game plan this week. Hopefully it involves more running back but you never really know. We always find out pretty much on game day what Coach June really gauges or just what the defense is giving us. We take our shots when we need to. I'm just excited for whatever my role may be and take advantage of every opportunity."

I've noticed you've gotten better at your vertical. You seem to be able to make it into the crowd with more ease. Any techniques we should know about?

"So I know a lot people think that I didn't have that high of a vertical my first attempt at the 'Houston Hop' but if you look closely at the film, I slipped going onto the concrete. Now I know when I get to the concrete I have to settle my feet."

Speaking of the crowd, Houston loves you. Does home field advantage play a role for you?

"Oh my gosh, so much. I don't think I can say this enough… I love playing in Houston. I really don't like playing anywhere else. It's been great. The fans are so into it and excited. I even had a fan with a 'jump here' and I saw a sign saying 'Butler was here' in the crowd. It's so cool to see how lively the fans are."

The Houston Roughnecks play the New York Guardians this Saturday at 1pm on ABC.

Things to know about the Guardians going into Week 6:

NY has won two games in a row.

The offense has turned the ball over only once in these two games.

Although this offense is still figuring themselves out, the QB switch to Luis Perez has proven to be a solid move. Perez had the highest QB rating in week 5.

The run game has also picked up. According to Andrew Brill from XFL.com, the Guardians offense gained more yards in the air and on the ground last week, totaling 373 yards, than they had in their four previous games.

Head Coach Kevin Gilbride has done a great job at managing the time clock and allowing his defense to have time off the field to rest.

The Roughnecks will need to start out strong and put up a steady lead early in the game. It's safe to say the concern for the defense this week isn't through the air, it's going to be more on their weak side, containing the run game.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome