16 January 2000
XFL Films Shoots Special Teams

Birmingham Thunderbolts

ORLANDO - A Holiday at Deerfield High - The best linebacker standing on the McCracken Field turf Tuesday morning was probably wearing street clothes and not a Birmingham Thunderbolts football uniform.

Visiting Birmingham's practice as the Bolts labored through a warm weather workout in preparation for Wednesday's 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 television's Deerfield High, where Butkus moonlights as a basketball coach.

Bowden Visits Bolts - Also visiting Birmingham's 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.

Film Crew - 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 XFL's more prominent rule differences pertain to the kicking game.

Special Teams Galore - The film crew couldn't 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.

Getting Ready - Even though Wednesday's 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. "I'm not concerned about showing anybody anything. I'm not hung up on that."

Step for 6, Fred Pickin' - 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.