January 16, 2001
The best linebacker standing on the McCracken Field turf Tuesday
morning was probably wearing street clothes and not a Birmingham
Thunderbolts football uniform. Visiting Birminghams practice
as the Bolts labored through a warm weather workout in preparation
for Wednesdays closed scrimmage against Orlando was Hall
of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. Butkus was present in his
role as XFL director of football competition and rules enforcement.
It must have been an off day at Saturday morning televisions
Deerfield High, where Butkus moonlights as a basketball coach.
Also visiting Birminghams practice Tuesday was former Auburn
football coach and current ABC college football studio host
Terry Bowden, who lives a short distance from the Citrus Bowl.
There are seven former Auburn players on the Thunderbolts
roster, including five who played for Bowden.
A World Wrestling Federation Entertainment film and sound
crew worked both the Birmingham and Orlando practices Tuesday
securing footage for a future piece on the making of the XFL.
The crew was especially interested in obtaining special teams
footage, since some of the XFLs more prominent rule differences
pertain to the kicking game.
The film crew couldnt have picked a better day to get footage
of special teams work. Without knowing the crew would be present,
Bolts head coach Gerry DiNardo and his staff obliged with
extended work on the kicking game, including kickoff, kickoff
return, field goals and punting.
Even though Wednesdays scrimmage against Orlando is the only
closed workout all season for the Bolts, DiNardo was noncommittal
about his plans. We will do what we have to do to get the
team ready, he flatly said. Im not concerned about showing
anybody anything. Im not hung up on that.
From the What Else is New? department, Stepfret Williams
had several nice plays and a touchdown reception in team period
Tuesday. Safety Fred White of Tennessee recorded an interception
late in the drill.