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XFL Birmingham Bolts Press Release 12
Press Release 12
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Notes from camp
January 10-11, 2001

No Fakes Allowed
Dont ask Birmingham Bolts safety Calvin Jackson if the XFL is real football unless you want an earful in return. Following Thursday nights practice, an UPN-TV reporter from Tampa asked Jackson how he responds to critics who say the XFL will be fake or scripted. Come on out here and go through some of these drills with us, the former Miami Dolphins starter said. This is our job and its not fake. Guys are going to get hurt out here and there is nothing fake about that. People are going to say whatever they want to say and I cant do anything about that, he said. I know Im out here every day and I know what real football is. This is fun, almost like playing Pop Warner again. Nobody would ever accuse Pop Warner of being a fraud. Not even somebody from Tampa.

Bama to UAB Connection
Even if Alabama and UAB never hook up on the college football field, players from the two schools hooked up for a 40-yard touchdown pass as team period wound down at Thursday nights practice. Former Tide quarterback Jay Barker found former Blazer receiver Kevin Drake behind the secondary on a post pattern on the next-to-last play Thursday evening to help close out the two practices on a positive offensive note.

Four for Scrimmage Sir?
Friday is scrimmage day in Orlando. All four XFL teams training here will square off in live scrimmages Friday at Showalter Field in Winter Park. Orlando and Chicago start the festivities at 2 p.m. Birmingham and New York/New Jersey follow at 7 p.m. The Bolts and Hitmen are scheduled to go 60 plays divided into three 20-play segments. In between the scrimmage segments, the teams will work against each other on special teams.

Thomassie Out
Center Ryan Thomassie is expected to be out until the second week of the season following surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his left knee. The surgery is scheduled for Friday at HealthSouth in Birmingham. From LSU, Thomassie was the early leader to start at center after a productive 10 days of training camp.

Fantasy Team
Dave Arslanian has some advice for XFL fans that may be planning to play fantasy football when he new league kicks off in February. The way Birminghams offensive coordinator sees it, taking Bolts receiver Stepfret Williams and tight end Ed Smith is a no-brainer.

Ive never played, but if the fantasy league is about stats, then you have to take those guys, Arslanian said. Both of them have a chance to ring up some big numbers.

Lets put it this way, Arslanian said during Wednesdays practice. If we get into our season and Stepfret and Ed dont have big stats then we are going to be in trouble, and Coach (Gerry) DiNardo will have me going down the road looking for work.

Kicking With Rage
The Thunderbolts and the Orlando Rage worked together for a portion of Wednesdays practice, putting in a half-hour working on live special teams situations. Each team had the opportunity to polish punting and punt returns, along with field goal and field goal blocks.

Birmingham place kickers Brad Palazzo and Andy Russ made each of their field goal attempts, both kicking for 37 and 47 yards. Holder Kevin Drake did an exceptional job of getting a high snap on the ground for Palazzos first kick.

For the third time in two days, the Bolts blocked a field goal attempt. This time it was Chris Shelling who came from the outside to block an Orlando placement try.

Bud and the Scouts
Professional football scouts were at Birminghams Wednesday practice in abundance. Several NFL teams were represented, but probably the most recognizable to some Bolts players was former Auburn running backs coach Bud Casey, who works for the Tennessee Titans. Casey was Bolts running back James Bostics position coach when he reported to Auburn.

Some of the other teams scouting the Thunderbolts were the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL, along with the Canadian Football Leagues Montreal Alouettes. San Jose was the lone Arena League representative. Even a representative of the XFL brethren Chicago Enforcers was present.

30 Something
Linebacker Dion Foxx isnt 30 after all. Bolts elder statesmen and offensive tackle Ed King was convinced Foxx needed recruiting to Birminghams Old Man Club because he wouldnt list or talk about his birthday. Foxx only laughed off inquiries before the truth surfaced Wednesday. Much to Kings disappointment, Foxx was born on June 11, 1971, leaving King, quarterback Casey Weldon and tight end Ed Smith as exclusive members of Club 31.

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