On Wednesday, the football season started in earnest. From now until early January, we will have real, substantial Cowboys news to report every single, glorious day. At this point, the rookies and injured veterans are gathered at Valley Ranch for what equates to a mini-camp. This weekend, they will pack up and head out to California. On Monday, the entire team will gather for the first training camp practice. Next Wednesday, they will practice in pads for the first time. If you are like me, this timetable gets you geeked.
In case you're wondering, here is the complete schedule:
Monday, July 30 - 2:30 p.m. practice
Tuesday, July 31 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Wednesday, Aug. 1 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Thursday, Aug. 2 -- No practice
Friday, Aug. 3 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Saturday, Aug. 4 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Sunday, Aug. 5 - 2:30 p.m. Blue-White scrimmage
Monday, Aug. 6 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Tuesday, Aug. 7 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Wednesday, Aug. 8 - No practice
Thursday, Aug. 9 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Friday, Aug. 10 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Saturday, Aug. 11 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Sunday, Aug. 12 - Walkthrough TBA
Monday, Aug. 13 - Preseason game at Oakland
Tuesday, Aug. 14 - No practice
Wednesday, Aug. 15 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Thursday, Aug. 16 -- 2:30 p.m. practice
Friday, Aug. 17 - Walkthrough TBA, break camp
That's almost three full weeks of football paradise, people. And here's the beauty of it all: BTB will be in Oxnard covering every practice. One Cool Customer, our resident cyborg, touches down first, and will cover the first week. I'll join him on August fifth, for the "Blue-White Scrimmage." and then carry the baton the rest of the way, including a drive up Interstate 5 to Oakland, where I'll report on the preseason against the Raiders. If you are planning on attending one or more of these practices, make sure you drop by and say hello. Both of us will be wearing "Blogging the Boys" t-shirts, at least some of the time.
What are we planning to look at during training camp practices? Make the jump to find out!
Both O.C.C. and I have a preliminary list of interests, stories or players that we already know we want to focus on. Here's a brief blurb from each of us on what we're thinking about bringing to you over the next three plus weeks:
O.C.C. (July 30-August 5):
"No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy," Helmuth von Moltke, a 19th-century head of the Prussian army and fellow German, famously observed. And I'm sure the same will happen to me: since this'll be my first training camp I'm sure that all the plans I have now will have to be redone on the spot once I'm actually at camp. Having said that, I'd like to look at storylines not in the headlines: How are the position coaches interacting with and teaching their players; how are the second year players (who've received almost no coverage this year) like Alex Albright, Orie Lemon, Rob Callaway and Mario Butler doing; how's the offensive line depth coming along; how's the organization, focus and tempo of camp and much more.
Rabblerousr (August 5-17):
My training camp coverage will operate on two levels: 1) a local investigation of small pedagogical moments between players and coaches as Jason Garrett and Co. work to install their respective schemes and 2) a more global assessment of the state of the team. So, the kinds of questions I expect to ask (and that I hope to answer) will start with these: What is the teaching process? How does it how does it accrue day by day? How are the coaches teaching the install to the players? How have they broken down the various personnel groups, and formations into discrete teachable units? What are the different coaches' teaching styles? What are their priorities-i.e., what do they teach first each day, when the players are freshest? What can we tell about their intentions in 2012 by the kinds of plays they are installing? What does it say about what they want to improve upon from last season? How is the depth chart shifting? Which bottom-of-the-roster guys are making a bid for the "53"? How are my pet cats (Cole Beasley and Adrian Hamilton) progressing? Which units look strong? Which units look shaky? Why?
And, of course: just how long are Gina Miller's legs?
Of course, these initial lists are subject to change as stories develop and guys emerge, fade, or are hurt. So, expect our coverage to be a protean entity.
And that's a good thing, because we want to adapt to what you, our loyal readers, want to read about. O.C.C. and I will be your eyes and ears in Oxnard, and we'll do whatever we can to supply the storylines you want to see and hear. So: what do you want us to focus on? What players should receive a little extra attention? Which position groups merit extra coverage?
Here's your chance: go to the comments section and let us know what interests you, and we'll do what we can to give it the attention it deserves.
And, while you're at it, don't forget to contribute to the BTB Training Camp Fund! Any and all contributions heartily welcome and much appreciated!