FRISCO, Texas – There are obvious advantages to having training camp at home.
For starters, the Cowboys happen to work at a world-class, state-of-the-art facility. And even though many of them are sequestering at the team's on-site hotel during training camp, they're still just a short drive from their homes and their families.
Those are all nice things, but it's safe to say that no one has forgotten the difference in temperature compared to Oxnard, Calif., where the Cowboys would be conducting camp during a normal year.
"It's great to be here in Texas, but I mean that California, Oxnard weather – we all know you can't beat that," said Joe Looney with a laugh.
It's just another obstacle the Cowboys are working around during this bizarre year. For most of the last two decade, they have held mid-afternoon practices in Oxnard, where the temperature hovers between 65-80 degrees. When they took the field at 8 a.m. Friday morning, the Texas heat was already in the mid-80s, with a high of 104 degrees for the day.
"Practicing in Texas presents a different challenge for us," Looney said.
To that end, this summer you'll notice that the team has constructed four large, air-conditioned tents – two near the middle of the practice field, and one behind each end zone. Several times per practice, the entire team will dip into the tents for an obvious purpose: to cool down.
"They've got popsicles in there, they've got water, Gatorade," Looney said. "You're basically just sitting down, and the whole purpose of it is to try to take down your core temperature and whatnot."
As a 310-pound center with long hair and a bushy beard, Looney no doubt appreciates it. He allowed that his favorite popsicle flavor is blue raspberry – so much so that his teammates can see his blue tongue during workouts.
Leave it to Looney to find the humor in the situation, but it's no laughing matter considering the temperatures will be scorching throughout this abbreviated training camp.
It's one more hurdle to clear in addition to COVID-19, but the Cowboys appear to be handling it.
"The No. 1 thing is that the athletes are safe, and I think they've put great effort into making sure we have the good medical care we need just in case something does happen," Looney said.