They don't have a head coach, a roster or a home field, but the Mountain Lions of the United Football League are scheduled to play their first game of the 2012 season on the road against the Las Vegas Locomotives on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
"We're excited to open our third season here in Sacramento next month," majority owner Paul Pelosi said in a UFL news release Wednesday. "The greater Sacramento community has shown us incredible support, and we remain committed to providing the best product for this great community, both on and off the field."
The Mountain Lions rejoin the Locomotives, the Omaha Nighthawks and the defending UFL champion Virginia Destroyers for the 2012 season. Teams will have a little more than six weeks to put together a roster, most likely filled with castoffs from NFL training camps.
Most of the UFL games will be played on Wednesday and Friday nights to avoid direct conflict with college football. The majority of games the previous three seasons were played on Saturdays. Each team will play eight games, and all games will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. The UFL title game is scheduled for Nov. 16 at an undetermined site.
The first Mountain Lions home game is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 28, against the Nighthawks. The other regular-season home games are Wednesday, Oct. 10, vs. Las Vegas; Friday, Nov. 2, vs. Virginia; and Wednesday, Nov. 7, vs. Las Vegas.
But the question remains: Where will the Mountain Lions play their home games?
The team doesn't have an agreement to return to Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium, and it's been reported it will play at Raley Field, though neither Raley Field officials nor the Mountain Lions have made an announcement.
One thing is certain: The team will be without its only head coach in franchise history. Dennis Green will not return, said a source with knowledge of the situation but not allowed to speak on behalf of the team or Green.
The same source said that former Stanford and NFL quarterback Turk Schonert is a leading candidate to become the Mountain Lions' head coach.
Schonert was an assistant at Las Vegas last season. His quarterback coach at Stanford was current Locomotives head coach Jim Fassel.
Fassel gave Schonert his coaching start in the NFL when he hired him for the New York Giants. Schonert had other NFL coaching stops in Buffalo, Carolina and New Orleans. He was a backup quarterback in the NFL for nine seasons and played on the Cincinnati Bengals' two Super Bowl teams that lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
Schonert was hired by Jerry Glanville in 2011 as the quarterbacks coach for the UFL's Hartford Colonials. When the team folded just before the season started, Schonert was hired as the offensive assistant for Fassel in Las Vegas. Glanville went on to become a consultant for the league and was a color commentator for Mountain Lions local broadcasts.