Barnesville native Marmie coaching in the Alliance

Larry Marmie honestly thought his coaching career was over.

Then a new professional football league — the Alliance of American Football — formed and a long-time friend, Mike Martz, was named the head coach of the San Diego Fleet.

And shortly after the hiring, Marmie’s phone rang. Martz offered the 76-year-old Barnesville native a job as the Fleet’s defensive coordinator.

“Like a lot of coaches, you just get the itch back,” Marmie said. “I am not a golfer and I really don’t have many hobbies outside of spending time with my family, and I have a daughter and grandkids in San Diego, so it made a lot of sense.”

After a short discussion with his wife, Marmie called Martz and accepted the position. After spending basically the last month in training camp in San Antonio, the Fleet — and the entire Alliance — make their debut this evening.

Since he had worked with Martz prior, Marmie knew going into camp what to expect and what his boss would want.

Though coaching is like riding a bike for someone who has done it as long as Marmie, there was still an adjustment process involved. Plus, he had to sift through boxes in his garage to dig out his old coaching information.

“I knew what Mike was all about, so that definitely helped,” Marmie, who has been retired since working with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014 and 2015, said. “Most coaches ran their camps like NFL camps, so you know what to expect in that regard. I spent almost the entire month of December getting organized and ready for camp.”

The Alliance of American Football was the brainchild of Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian.

“Primarily, it’s a developmental league,” Marmie explained. “Football was really the only major sport without a minor league, so this league should help fill that void.”

The league consists of eight teams, broken up evenly between the Eastern and Western Conferences. The teams will play the teams in their conference twice and the other conference once during the regular season. There will be a playoff at the end of the season.

“It’s really for young guys who may have been later cuts in the NFL and are trying to continue their careers and get some tape,” Marmie said. “The league has a lot of backing and they’re really trying to make sure they do it the right way.”

Many former NFL and major college coaches are involved with the teams, which are all owned by the Alliance, work under the same salary structure and have the same number of coaches and

“It’s really just a six-month deal for the coaches and players,” Marmie said. “We will finish up the first of May, so we won’t go up against the NFL at all.”

According to Marmie, 75 percent of the players in the league have been in NFL Training Camps.

“Most of the guys have been out of college between two and three years and some were drafted in the second and third rounds, but it just didn’t work out for some reason,” Marmie said. “All of these (players) goal is the same. They want to get back to the league.”

Each team got its players the same way. The league assigned each team four NFL teams and then they also had colleges in their geographic area assigned to them, too.

“There was a draft, but it was mainly for quarterbacks because (the league) wanted to make sure there wasn’t one team with two or three quarterbacks and another team didn’t have to be competitive enough,” Marmie explained.

Coming out of camp and preparing for the San Antonio Commanders, Marmie likes the team the Fleet will put on the field. Former Ohio State tight end Marcus Baugh is a member of the Fleet. Former Dallas Cowboy tight end Gavin Escobar is also on the team.

“We feel like we have seven or eight guys we roll in and out along the defensive line and a couple of guys who can really rush the passer,” Marmie said. “Our linebackers are surprisingly faster than we thought they might be and we won’t be sure about the secondary until we see them play.”

Alliance games will be broadcast nationally. CBS Sports has a contract with the league and will use its main network as well as CBS Sports Network and according to Marmie, ticket sales have been strong in San Diego, which obviously lost the Chargers to Los Angeles.

“Everything’s been first class and they’ve done everything right in starting this,” Marmie said. “I think they’d be pleased if they drew between 20 and 25 thousand.”

When watching the Alliance, the league does not have kickoffs. Possessions will begin at the 25-yard line and there are no point after touchdown kicks. Each team must attempt a two-point conversion.