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XFL Birmingham Bolts Press Release 2
Press Release 2
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Gerry DiNardo talks football, Thunderbolts and mini-camp

On XFL Fans
"I can't emphasize how important the fans are to the Thunderbolts and to this league. We love for the people of Birmingham to come out and see us practice and play. We will publish where we are going to practice and what time. Our hope is to start the day at Birmingham Southern College and then perhaps go around to some different places in the afternoon."

On Any Surprises Between the Draft and the Conclusion of The First Mini-Camp
"It's hard to tell because you are evaluating a contact sport during a non-contact time. I think it's safe to say that everybody we drafted appears to be a skilled athlete. I don't think we will really know how good they are until training camp in Orlando."

On Progress Made During the First Mini-Camp
"In the first mini-camp we got a lot of our offense taught and got a good chance to evaluate our players. It was a good opportunity for our offensive staff to work together since we had not been together before, so that was productive. "The players were very attentive, very professional. Their attitude was that they were on an extended job interview, which in effect, is what the first mini-camp was."

On The Differences From the First to the Second Mini Camp
"There will be no contact, but we will have all our offensive and defensive linemen in camp so we can have some drills that we couldn't have before. Having both sides of the ball here will help us know a little more about the offensive guys than we know now. We will obviously know a lot more about our defensive guys since they haven't been in at all. Still, it won't be until training camp until we really know who the football players are."

On What You Look For in a Defensive Player in Mini-Camp
"You want to see who can run, because if you can't run you can't play defense. You also want to see who can learn, because you can't line up in the same defense every time in this league. "Most of the offenses are going to be passing offenses. In the college game you see the option one week, the I-back one week and a one-back set the next week. In the professional ranks it all starts with the pass, although a lot of people say it starts with the run. To defend the passing game and the running game, you have to have players who can run."

On How Much of the Defense Do You Install at the Second Camp
"We will try to install about 80-percent again, like we did with the offense. The other 20-percent comes toward the end of training camp when you start to game plan toward your opponent. So when I say 80-percent, I use that term loosely. It may be a little more except for your game planning."

On Special Teams
"We are going to devote 25 minutes a day in this camp to special teams. Every morning we are going to do 15 minutes on special teams. In the afternoon we will do more individual stuff and not as much team stuff on specialty."

On Roster Moves Between Camps
"We lost a wide receiver (Eric Chew) during the first camp, which got us to 69 players. One of our defensive line draft picks is currently active with a NFL team. We anticipated going into the Dec. 11 camp with 68 players and we wanted to replace the defensive lineman first. We will replace the wide receiver between now and the start of camp, so we will be back at 70 by then." "Even though on paper it looked like we were at 69 players, we were actually at 68 because we don't expect Henry Taylor to report because he will be active with the Falcons."

On Receiver Needs to Run a Vertical Passing Game Offense
"In a vertical passing game we will probably end up keeping five wide receivers and three tight end/H-Back combinations. We will also keep a wide receiver on our practice squad." "The vertical passing game means you want to start by pushing everybody up the field, it doesn't necessarily mean you will be running up the field every snap. You can have a vertical passing attack with five wideouts and three tight end/H-back types."

On The Difference Between Professional and College Players
"The difference in dealing with professional athletes as opposed to the college guys is night and day. The basics of the game do not change whether it's high school, college or pro. The qualities that you need to be good at the game do not change whether it's high school, college or pro."

"What does change is that you dont really have time to coach the intangibles like character, conditioning and intensity. Our approach is that we need those intangibles to be successful, that every player has to have to them. The more players we have with those intangibles, the better team we have. Our team can expect us to evaluate the intangibles, but they would be disappointed if they expect us to coach the intangibles. So that is one difference."

"Another difference is the maturity. When you sit down to have a conversation with a 30-year-old man or a 25-year-old man, it is a lot different than having that conversation with an 18-year-old college freshman who has a million different things going through his head that are not usually highly organized."

"So the differences between pro and college players are maturity and the coaching of the intangibles."

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