January 20, 2001
With the first game of the inaugural XFL season still two
weeks away, Birmingham coach Gerry DiNardo isnt ready to
make any hard and fast assumptions about his football team.
DiNardo said that even though Saturdays practice brought
an end to the third week of training camp, there are still
issues to be settled before the Memphis Maniax visit Legion
Field at 3 p.m. on Feb. 4. With a week left in camp, he isnt
ready to jump to any conclusions based on preseason scrimmages
against New York/New Jersey and Orlando.
We didnt play very well the last time we were out. We played
better the first time, but its preseason and thats okay,
DiNardo said. We wanted to win, but we wanted to win within
the framework of our practice rotation. We play Chicago this
week, so we may know a little more then.
After a spirited Saturday practice that featured one-on-one,
pass skeleton and live special teams work against the Orlando
Rage, DiNardo took some time to give a quick assessment of
his football team from both sides of the ball.
James Bostic and Curtis Alexander are our running backs at
this point. Casey Weldon and Jay Barker are our quarterbacks.
After that at those positions I dont know, DiNardo said.
We still have eight receivers in camp, but will cut that
to four or five. Stepfret Williams, Quincy Jackson and Jahine
Arnold have been with us right from the beginning and the
rest all are in the hunt.
DiNardo said Ed King is in the mix at both tackle and guard
and will play both. He also mentioned guard Antonio Fleming,
and tackle Ozell Powell as leaders on the left side.
Matt Hogg has been filling in a center since Ryan Thomassie
has been hurt, but he can play guard or center, DiNardo said.
Mike Lies has been hurt, but he can play on that right side
and Mike Edwards is there, too.
DiNardo hinted that there are still questions to be answered
on defense, but two things he is sure of are that in the 4-3
set Bolts defenders better be able to run, and that middle
linebacker James Willis runs the show.
James Willis is the heart of our defense, he controls everything,
DiNardo said. We are not a big, physical defense. On certain
days it looks like we can run and on certain days it doesnt.
Jimmy Brumbaugh and Quinton Reese have been good up front,
he said. We are still a little unsettled in the secondary,
but Chris Shelling has probably been the biggest standout
The Bolts will take Sunday off and return to the practice
field for a pair of workouts Monday. According to XFL policy,
the Birmingham roster will also be reduced from 62 to 54 on