17 January 2001
Fire Alarm Marks a Tough Day for the Thunderbolts
Birmingham Thunderbolts

ORLANDO - The workday started with the hotel fire alarm blaring a warning 15 minutes before the Birmingham Thunderbolts were set to board the bus to the Citrus Bowl, and according to coach Gerry DiNardo, Birmingham's XFL entry should have heeded that warning.

"We got our butts kicked today, basically stunk the place up," DiNardo said following a joint workout with the Orlando Rage. "We are going back to work Thursday and bring our lunch buckets.

"There were probably some good things, but we will have to look at the film and find them," DiNardo said. "It's still preseason, though. Thankfully we don't have to play until Feb. 4."

XFL policy implemented following last week's scrimmages doesn't allow teams to report stats and scores from workouts with other teams, but Birmingham players admitted they probably could have used some help from Orlando Fire Engine 101 that responded to the false alarm at the hotel.

"They were moving faster than we were and we didn't play good technique," linebacker James Willis said. "Every player will look at himself on the film and we will learn from it."

After Wednesday's session, the Bolts medical staff could be easily convinced that the sirens sounding at the hotel were injury warnings. At least eight Birmingham players required attention from the training staff during the drill.

Three tight ends were hobbled during the workout, with Nicky Savoie suffering a concussion, Scott Thompson a knee injury and Ed Smith a hip pointer. Alex Hass was the only tight end left standing for the major portion of the practice.

Defensive back Fred White also suffered a knee injury. Both White and Thompson were scheduled for MRI testing and more details on their injuries should come Thursday.

Defensive backs Calvin Jackson and Chris Shelling both suffered neck strains, while running back James Bostic came away with a forearm contusion and receiver Damon Gourdine bruised ribs.

Quarterback Casey Weldon said Birmingham's work against the Rage was not all bad, noting a successful two-minute drill while lamenting the Bolts inability to take care of the football.

"We had a turnover on a 13-play drive, but we played well in our two-minute drill," Weldon said. "Most of the rough edges were little things that won't happen when the season starts. We will be better because of today."

The Bolts return to work Thursday with a 3:15 p.m. practice before resuming two-a-days Friday.