It's one long day in life of Parcells
By Jennifer Floyd Engel
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
OXNARD, Calif. - Cornerback Terence Newman has seen him at a driving range.
Owner Jerry Jones has taken him for a swanky meal. A couple of times.
Him, of course, is Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, and none of the aforementioned non-football activities has taken place since the coach arrived in California 24 days ago. The clubs are at home. The meals are at the dorm. And training camp is all about football, football and more football.
"He's locked in," Cowboys scouting director Larry Lacewell said. "I mean, I like to talk football X's and O's, players, strategy, but he likes it all. He'll talk weight room and practice and everything."
What follows is a typical Parcells day at training camp:
5 a.m: Rise and shine. Parcells rarely sleeps past 5:30 a.m.
5:30: Breakfast time. When former Oklahoma coach Chuck Fairbanks was at training camp, he and Parcells talked about poor habits on secondary drills while eating cereal and toast with peanut butter. The only other person around is defensive tackle Shaun Smith, who has been nicknamed "Rooster" by Parcells because of his diligence in chasing food.
So who does Parcells eat with now that Fairbanks is gone?
"No one. I'm O.O.T.," Parcells said. "Do you know what that means? One of them."
6:50: Parcells might work out. Usually, though, he goes to his office and does the things he is too busy to do the rest of the day. He scripts practice, not for that day but the next. He goes through his pre-camp to-do list that he started compiling in January. He is jotting down personnel, trying to get to 43 so all that is left is 10 spots.
"I'm having some consternation of the squad makeup here," Parcells said Thursday. "I'm pretty far down the road mentally, but this last 20 percent is bothering me. I've got a lot of things I could do, and any one of them could be wrong. That's really what it amounts to. The question is picking the right one."
7:45: This is among Parcells' favorite parts of the day. He goes into the training room and locker room and talks to different players. Sometimes, he gives them a little technique hint. Sometimes, he talks to them about life in the NFL. Mostly, he just talks to them.
8:50: The first part of two-a-days usually begins early. Parcells is in the middle of the field, hands shoved in his pockets, watching it all. Once players finish stretching, Parcells pulls the practice schedule -- which was prepared the morning before -- out of his pocket and the day begins. Parcells loves coaching and can be heard instructing safety Tony Dixon on which arm to use in one breath and screaming at guard Andre Gurode to be more physical in the next.
11: If Parcells does his elliptical training early in the morning, he spends this break completing errands. If not, he exercises and arrives at his daily media briefing still soaked in sweat. He does not care.
11:30: The 11:30 Club, as Parcells' daily media conference duties have been dubbed, is probably the most entertaining part of the day. When it is done, he rides off in a golf cart.
12:30 p.m.: Parcells has lunch. Maybe.
"Then, I go check with my secretary and see what crises are there," he said.
1: Parcells gets together with his coaches to watch morning film and discuss personnel. And while Parcells is not afraid to berate a player, he also isn't afraid to scold his assistant coaches.
So, if the running backs fumbled four times in practice, Parcells is going to jump on Maurice Carthon and stay on him. What has changed a little, in Parcells' second Cowboys camp, is he trusts his coaches more. Especially defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, a holdover from Dave Campo's staff.
"He asks my opinion this year," Zimmer said.
2:15: Parcells says he uses this 35-minute block to "do any little thing I have to do or maybe just rest."
In an 18-hour day, Parcells gives himself 35 minutes of break time.
2:50: Players and coaches return for the second part of two-a-days, and almost daily Parcells includes a situational play.
One day it was what to do when it is the end of a half with no timeouts after completing a pass or run to get into field-goal range, but the player went down in bounds, and there are 15 seconds or fewer to kick a field goal.
The next day it's a different scenario. All of which were written on a dry-erase board in his office when he first arrived at camp.
"I think Bill emphasizes it more than anybody I've been with. He's very paranoid," special teams coach Bruce DeHaven joked. "He's been here how long? And you do not know how paranoid he is? Come on. He is the most superstitious guy in the NFL."
5:30: He returns to his office and watches film from the afternoon practice. So does Jerry Jones.
"It's a time for me that not only can I evaluate and understand what the player is doing or not doing, but, just as important, is what Bill's expecting and what he is trying to do at that position or with an individual at that position," Jones said. "By having that framework, that can make me a better listener and have a better understanding of what Bill's trying to accomplish and help me make decisions relative to whether we require a player or not."
7:30: Parcells usually speaks to the team before they go into their nightly meetings.
"He is always talking about hidden yardage or what we can improve on or things to work on," Terence Newman said.
7:45: Parcells retreats to his office and watches film.
9/9:30/10: Once back in his room, depending on what happened during the day, he watches a little news, a little SportsCenter, until his adrenaline stops going.
Cowboys will call Oxnard home again next summer. 12D
Jennifer Floyd Engel, (817) 390-7760 email@example.com