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Friday, May 2
Parcells puts his unique brand on first Cowboys' practice

Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Bill Parcells finally took the field as the Dallas Cowboys' coach Friday, and he didn't take long to set a tone for how he plans to do things.

When one player wasn't paying attention, the entire offensive unit had to run across two football fields and touch a distant tree before returning to try the play again.

"That's the way I do things. It's nothing new,'' Parcells said. "The point of it is they need to pay attention. That was just for emphasis. There are a lot of reasons they can run to the fence. Get used to it, you will see quite a bit of that.''

Missing from the helmets of the 19 rookies was the Cowboys' famed star logo, a decal Parcells said they will have to earn.

"It's the rookies, they're just numbers right now,'' Parcells said.

And when there was a break during the one-hour, 45-minute practice, rookie cornerback and first-round draft pick Terence Newman from Kansas State -- the fifth overall pick in last weekend's draft -- was fetching water for Parcells.

It's a job Parcells says Newman will keep for the next year -- until there is another first-round pick.

For the first time in more than three years, since his last season with the New York Jets in 1999, Parcells was back on the field coaching.

"It was fun,'' said Parcells, a head coach for 15 NFL seasons.

Parcells seemed at ease Friday, the start of a three-day minicap in which 46 players took part. In addition to the rookies were 25 veterans, including quarterbacks Chad Hutchinson and Quincy Carter.

Wearing a navy blue Cowboys T-shirt, Parcells paced the fiel d throughout the practice. At times he yelled orders to players, and at other times stood with his arms crossed or hands stuffed in his pockets just observing while his assistants ran drills.

Parcells was hired Jan. 2 to replace Dave Campo, who was fired after three straight 5-11 seasons.

He was the type of proven coach that owner Jerry Jones was looking for in hopes of returning his team to prominence. The Cowboys won the last of their five Super Bowls -- three for Jones -- in 1996 and haven't had a winning record since 1998.

Parcells took the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets from losing records to the playoffs in two seasons. He has a 138-100-1 record in regular-season games, and is 11-6 in the playoffs with two Super Bowl wins for the Giants and an AFC title with the Patriots.

Jones watched the practice from the sideline, finally getting an up-close look at how the coach he gave a $17.1 million, four-year contract handles things on the field.

"I thought Bill demanded the full concentration,'' Jones said. "Considering that some of these guys had never been together as a team, I was impressed with how the practice went.''

Jones said he liked Parcells' idea about removing the star logo, and the running punishment for the offensive unit.

"Bill's from the old school, and this probably points that you can get players to do it the old way, and the old way is a good way,'' Jones said. "He's won championships doing it that way and I was pleased with his first practice.''

Parcells said the weekend minicamp is primarily an orientation for the young players, as well as an opportunity for his coaching staff to work together on the field.

Reporters weren't allowed to talk to players after the first practice.

When asked what will determine if his first minicamp is a success, Parcells said he doesn't expect to classify it as that -- no matter what happens the next two days.

"Oh, I'm pretty sure I won't be saying we had a good camp,'' Parcells said. "It's just like chaos right now. It's hard to get a feel on everything.''

Except that Parcells is already in control at Valley Ranch.

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