Holding training camp at The Star has required the Dallas Cowboys to get creative when dealing with the Texas heat.
How so? Popsicles.
The Cowboys set up three cooling tents on an adjacent artificial turf field for players to use during the two practice breaks. In addition to cold towels, water and Gatorade are, yes, popsicles.
"The whole premise of it is to try to take down your core temperature and whatnot," starting center Joe Looney said. "I'm a big guy with a bunch of hair, so I need it. I'm in there dumping water on my head. I think it's wonderful. Practicing in Texas presents a different challenge for us, just getting used to the heat. I think it's an amazing technique that we can go in there, grab a popsicle, cool down and then head back out to practice and hit it real hard."
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Cowboys could not hold practice in Oxnard, California, their training camp home for all but one season of Jason Garrett's nine-year run as head coach.
In order to beat the heat, new coach Mike McCarthy will begin practices at 8 a.m. CT.
The temperature at the start of practice was around 85 degrees, but it was above 90 by the time the session ended. The afternoon forecast calls for temperatures to top 102 degrees. The Cowboys could use Ford Center, their 12,000-seat indoor facility, but McCarthy's preference is to practice outside as much as possible.
Friday was the Cowboys' first on-field work in helmets and shells. They are off on Saturday before another OTA-type practice. The pads come on for the first time on Monday.
"One thing I really respect about Coach McCarthy is how he takes care of our bodies," defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said. "When we're on the practice field, we go hard and everybody is very deliberate in what we're doing. His message is really when we touch the practice field, we go hard, and he's going to take care of our bodies."
"I'm a blue raspberry kind of guy," Looney said. "We're doing one-on-ones and people are asking me, 'Hey, Looney, why is your tongue blue?' I say, 'Because I've been crushing those popsicles in the tent.'"