January 8, 2001
Its only the second week of training camp, but if the Birmingham
Thunderbolts were to kick off the season today, its a safe
bet that four starters on the defensive side of the ball would
be from Auburn. Nine practices into training camp, two of
Birminghams four defensive line starters are former Tigers.
Jimmy Brumbaugh is currently a front runner to start at one
tackle, while Quinton Reese has had a productive camp and
is out front at a defensive end spot.
Former NFL starter James Willis is entrenching himself at
the middle linebacker position. Chris Shelling, who was a
Thorpe Award finalist at Auburn in 1994, has made a meteoric
rise to the top of the charts at safety after being claimed
just three days before training camp.
Although its still technically early in training camp, certain
players are beginning to step toward the starting units. Backing
the Bolts defensive front at Mondays practice were linebackers
James Willis of Auburn, Dion Foxx of James Madison and Patrick
Scott of South Carolina State.
Working with the first team secondary in Mondays practice
were Chris Shelling of Auburn and Fred White of Tennessee
at safeties, along with Illinois State product Duane Butler
and former Troy State Trojan Eric Sloan at the corners.
Birmingham acquired former LSU linebacker Pat Rogers Monday.
Rogers replaces linebacker Ben Peterson, who left the team
and was put on waivers. From Shreveport, La., the 61-, 235-pound
Rogers played for Bolts head coach Gerry DiNardo in college.
Player personnel representatives from the NFL expansion Houston
Texans were present at Thunderbolts training camp Monday.
The Texans are the second NFL team to visit Birminghams camp
since it opened last week. The Atlanta Falcons dispatched
a scout for two days last week.
Other teams scouting Bolts personnel have been the Edmonton
Oilers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League,
as well as Arena Football League entries San Jose, Orlando