The refs are here and not going anywhere

IRVING -- The Cowboys used five officials for Thursday's practice and plan on them coming back again on Friday.

Moving forward, Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said the referee's could be a regular staple at Valley Ranch on Wednesday's and Thursday's, the two heaviest days of practice.

There was just one NFL official in the group the other four were college refs.

"We realize penalties are hurting us and we're trying to do everything we can," said Phillips, who's team has committed 49 penalties, third-most in the league. "Part of it was putting the officials out there and giving them specific things to look at on offense, defense and special teams."

Phillips said there were penalties in practice, though he wouldn't say how many were called. Players were able to ask questions about certain calls and what the referee's are looking for.

"When we went through our tape with the players, coaches also," Phillips said. "Anything that wasn't seen during practice we noted those things and we are doing [something] about those things."

Phillips also read a memo to the team from NFL officials regarding illegal hits. There was a video with the memo showing legal and illegal hits. The NFL is cracking down on this area after three players were fined for hard hits that led to injuries last Sunday.

"It's part of player safety, they made a point and we made a point again," Phillips said. "Now we have not had any problems with any of that. But we still want to make them aware of it and we did."