Monday, May 5, 2003

Cowboys wrap up first minicamp for Parcells

By Stephen Hawkins
The Associated Press

IRVING, Texas - Watching Bill Parcells coach the Dallas Cowboys for the first time took team owner Jerry Jones back to his playing days.

"He sounds like some of my old coaches yelling and demanding," Jones said Sunday after the Cowboys wrapped up their first minicamp for their new coach. "Bill was all over the place."

Jones likes that old-school approach.

And Parcells, hired Jan. 2 after the Cowboys' third straight 5-11 season under Dave Campo, said he's just getting started putting his mark on the team. The three-day minicamp included only 46 players, 19 rookies and selected veterans.

"I don't think I've done it to the extent I want. I haven't had the veterans," said Parcells, who has been to three Super Bowls in his 15 NFL seasons. "We'll see once we really get under way where we are. That will be in the summer."

A minicamp for veterans is scheduled in a couple of weeks, and the rookies will be back at the end of the month. Parcells doesn't plan to fully mix the rookies with the veterans until after that.

Several Cowboys veterans stopped by at different times this weekend to watch practice, and some got to experience Parcells firsthand while taking part in the workouts.

"He's everything I expected. He's really stern and that's what the team needed. He doesn't give you a chance to take a play off," said second-year cornerback Pete Hunter.

"He manages your attention and focus every practice, and gets your full potential out of you on the practice field," said quarterback Quincy Carter. "There's no joking and jiving, no horsing around. He wants your full attention. One of the things I took out of these three days, my attention goes straight to football once I get out there."

While the weekend sessions were primarily an orientation for the rookies, Parcells had all five of his quarterbacks on hand.

Parcells wanted to get a good look over the weekend at rookie free agent Tony Romo, who split snaps with returners Carter, Chad Hutchinson and Clint Stoerner. Woody Dantzler, a college quarterback who spent his rookie season with the Cowboys as a kick returner and backup running back, spent two days as a quarterback and another as a safety.

There is no front-runner for the starting quarterback spot yet.

"As we go from now forward, the repetitions will be divided more carefully with the idea of we are going to start progressing toward - who at least will play in preseason games," Parcells said. "I look at these kids here, they are all kind of rookies to me."

Carter was the primary starter as a rookie in 2001, but was replaced midway through last season by Hutchinson.

"I feel pretty good about it," Carter said. "He told us it's going to be a clean slate and everybody pretty much is on the same level."

Well, maybe at quarterback.

Rookie cornerback Terence Newman, the fifth overall pick out of Kansas State, found out his job will be to fetch Parcells water during breaks at practice, and bring the doughnuts to the practice facility on Saturday morning.

"It's part of the territory," Newman said Sunday. "I think it's funny. It doesn't bother me at all. It's just something I have to do."

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