30 October 2000
Report Card Day
By Bamaslammer
Birmingham Bolts Co-Reporter

We are 3 months away from a furious thrashing of the Memphis Maniacs at Legion Field. At this point I thought a first semester report card would be in order.

Marketing

The local media descended upon the XFL and the nameless Birmingham team like vultures. The papers had daily stories touting the XFL as the literal coming of the devil and McMahon being the Anti-Christ. There were jokes of body slams and naked cheerleaders.

Fast-forward a few months and there are no more stories. Where are Clyde Bolton and his little clone Kevin Scarbinsky? They are quiet because the XFL ignored their shortsighted "and unpopular" opinion and have made one solid move after another. They have hired quality coaches and businessmen to put a good product on the field.

Now the media covers the Bolts like any other sporting event. I give the XFL an "A" for simply ignoring the whiners and doing what they knew would work.

XFL Web Site

The XFL web site as well as the Birmingham Bolts official site is for the most part fairly static and unchanging. There is virtually no timely information or news provided.

They would get an "A" for graphics if you include the photos of the cheerleader commercials but for providing information on what is going on you had better look elsewhere. The coverage of the draft was weak at best.

As a programmer I can defend them to some degree. If they are going to provide world class service and information on their web site they may be busy programming the site to deliver that. If that's the case I can see where they would not have time to show much at this point.

Overall I give them a "D"

Coach Dinardo

Rodney Dangerfield once said, "If you want to look thin, Hang around FAT people". Dinardo has the fortune to be working in the same state with the embattled coach of the University of Alabama. The choice of Gerry Dinardo for coach was questioned early and often in the local media. Many Alabama fans still remembered Dinardo's LSU Tigers blowing a last minute lead to the Tide during his time there. Fortunately
for Dinardo, Coach Mike Dubose is drawing so much fire and criticism that next to him Dinardo looks like Vince Lombardy. Dinardo has also helped himself with public opinion by his frequent visits to the local sports call in shows. On the air he has sounded
decisive, confident and seem to have a plan. This is in sharp contrast to the bumbling, confused, bible thumping coach Coach Dubose. Dinardo also has gone about hiring a solid staff that includes coaching veterans Curly Hallman, Don Lindsey and Rick Rhodes. I give Dinardo an "A" at this point. Of course everybody looks good in shorts and Dubose won't be around come February.

Draft

The truth of the matter is that no one knows how good the Bolts drafted until the season is over. Rather than comment on the players they drafted I feel that draft strategy is more important. Securing a "Field General" is a first priority. Casey Weldon certainly fills that need. Securing the Heart and Soul of your team is definitely
the next step. The BIG UGLIES are the Heart of any great team and Dinardo wasted no time in making Michael Lies, an Offensive Lineman from Kansas his second choice. Overall Dinardo took 6 of his first 10 draft picks for lineman. Dinardo seems to be looking to the "local boys" to fill his need for skill position players. One exception
is Stepfret Williams. Look for Stepfret to cause major down field problems for Memphis on February 4th.

Overall I have Birmingham a "B" in drafting. There were other notable teams in the draft. Memphis, Chicago, and Los Angeles took a lot of good players.

Overall

Overall I give The XFL and the Birmingham Bolts a sold "B+". They are way ahead of other professional leagues have been in the past at this point and I hope it translates to a first every XFL Championship for Birmingham.