February 6, 2001
Birmingham travels to The Meadowlands to face the New York/New
Jersey Hitmen at Giants Stadium Sunday. Kickoff is 3 p.m.
Both the Bolts and Hitmen are 0-1. Birmingham lost its home
opener, 22-20, to Memphis. New York/New Jersey lost 19-0 at
The Thunderbolts-Hitmen game will be televised by TNN. Craig
Minervini will handle play-by-play and Bob Golic the color.
Lee Reherman and Kip Lewis handle the sideline reports.
The game will be carried on the 11-station Birmingham Thunderbolts
Radio Network. WZRR-FM 99.5 is the flagship station of the
Bolts. Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey handle
the play-by-play and color for the broadcast. Jim Dunaway
handles the sideline reporting, while Ryan Greenwood produces
the show. Greg "Working Man" Burgess handles halftime
duties while naming the "Pud of the Day".
Birmingham returns to Legion Field to host the Chicago Enforcers.
Kickoff is 3 p.m. CST. The game will also be televised by
Gerry DiNardo is 0-1 as coach of the Thunderbolts. Rusty Tillman
is 0-1 as coach of the New York/New Jersey Hitmen. This is
the first meeting between DiNardo and Tillman if you don't
count a scrimmage early in training camp down in Orlando.
The series between Birmingham and New York is tied at 0-0.
Get all the information about the Bolts at www.all-xfl.com/birminghambolts.
Bolts coach Gerry DiNardo has his weekly press briefing on
Tuesday's at noon, central time at Legion Field. All Birmingham
practices are open to the media and public. Practice is normally
at 2:30 p.m. each day. Off days for players are tentatively
set for Mondays following a Saturday game and Tuesday following
a Sunday game.
We encourage player interviews following practice each day.
Please contact Kent Partridge at 205-488-2665 or firstname.lastname@example.org
to make certain of practice times and locations.
Much to everyone's surprise but the Thunderbolts staff and
players, over 35,000 new Bolts fans showed up for the season
opener against Memphis last week. A Legion Field record 15,000
of those were walk-up customers.
After week on Birmingham leads the league in total offense,
averaging 358 yards per game. The Bolts passed for 306 yards
and ran for 52 against Memphis last week.
Bolts quarterback Casey Weldon leads the league in passing
after week one, throwing for 306 yards in the opener. Mike
Pawlawski of San Francisco is second, averaging 288 yards
Birmingham is fourth in the league in total defense after
allowing 312 yards to Memphis. Las Vegas leads the league
in total defense, allowing just 205 yards to New York/New
Jersey last week.
Birmingham receiver Stepfret Williams is tied for fourth in
the XFL after making six receptions last week. Williams had
72 yards to go along with his six grabs.
Coach Gerry DiNardo has said from almost day one that James
Willis is the heart of the Birmingham defense from his middle
linebacker spot. Willis lived up to the billing last week,
making 12 tackles against Memphis.
Defensive end Charles Preston rang up a game-high four tackles
for loss against Memphis. Preston accounted for 17 yards in
Maniax losses. He also recorded a sack, making five of his
seven tackles happen behind the line of scrimmage.
First Touchdown - Damon Gourdine on 15 yards pass from Casey
First TD Pass - Casey Weldon to Damon Gourdine, 15 yards 1:13
left in second quarter, Feb. 4 vs. Memphis
First TD Run - James Bostic 3-yard run 13:18 in third quarter,
Feb. 4 vs. Memphis
First Play - Casey Weldon completed pass to Steve Smith, 4
First Tackle - Toya Jones in opening kickoff vs. Memphis Feb.
First Tackle From LOS - Patrick Scott and James Willis tackled
Rashaan Salaam after 7-yard game, Feb. 4 vs. Memphis
Birmingham defensive back Toya Jones won Birmingham's first-ever
dash for the ball prior to the game against Memphis last week.
Counting preseason, the Bolts are three-for-three in the dash,
with defensive back Tony McCall winning two during training
camp. McCall is currently on the practice squad.
Birmingham head coach Gerry DiNardo is heading for a homecoming
of sorts when the Bolts head for the Meadowlands. DiNardo
grew up in South Brooklyn and was educated at St. Francis
Prep, graduating in 1970. He played both quarterback and offensive
line at St. Francis.
Birmingham tight end Ed Smith is also heading back to his
neck of the woods. Ed hails form Trenton, N.J. where he was
drafted by the Chicago White Sox as a third baseman out of
Pemberton High School. Smith climbed as high as Triple-A before
giving up baseball and switching to football at age 26. Smith
even spent some time in Birmingham as a member of the Chicago
Double-A affiliate Barons.
Birmingham and Memphis played the season opener last week
at Legion Field in two hours and 54 minutes.
Five of Birmingham's first 10 draft picks are still with the
club. First round pick Casey Weldon starts at quarterback
for the Bolts and second-round choice Mike Lies starts on
the offensive line. Sixth and seventh-round choices Stepfret
Williams and Duane Butler are starters at receiver and cornerback,
respectively. Number 10 pick Sedrick Curry is a backup in
Seven of Birmingham's second 20 picks are still on the roster
and three of the next 10 are on the active roster. Ten of
Birmingham's last 20 picks are on the active roster. The lowest
draft pick to remain on the active roster is defensive tackle
Johnny Mitchell, who was picked in the 57th round with the
450th pick. Mitchell is currently listed as a starter at defensive
Eight of Birmingham's territorial picks are still on the active
roster. Running back James Bostic, nose tackle Jimmy Brumbaugh,
offensive tackle Ed King and linebacker James Willis are all
starting for the Bolts in week one.
Don Wnek and Curley Hallman serve as co-defensive coordinators
for the Bolts. Hallman and Wnek were forced into the dual
role when Don Lindsey left the Bolts just days before training
camp to take the defensive coordinator position at Ole Miss.
Birmingham is one of the few coaching staffs in professional
football to boast brothers on the coaching staff. Dave Arslanian
is the Bolts offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Paul Arslanian coaches Birmingham linebackers. Both are the
son of legendary college coach Sark Arslanian.
Ten players on the Thunderbolts active rosters have close
ties to the state of Alabama, with six having played at Auburn,
four at Alabama and one at Troy State University.
Former Auburn players are running back James Bostic, nose
tackle Jimmy Brumbaugh, linebacker James Willis, defensive
end Quinton Reese, safety Chris Shelling and offensive tackle
Former Tide players on the active roster are receiver Quincy
Jackson, offensive tackle Ozell Powell and quarterback Jay
Barker. Cornerback Eric Sloan played his college football
at Troy State.