When I first moved to Ventura County in 1970, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys were holding their pre-season Training Camp at California Lutheran University (College in those days) in Thousand Oaks, California. CLU was about a five minute drive from my apartment in those days and the Cowboys had been a Summer fixture in Ventura County for most of the 1960s.
With Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry leading the way, the annual camp was a chance to get up close and personal with America's Team.
At CLU, the parking was free, there was no admission charge and fans were allowed to get as close to the action as they wanted.
I can remember standing about 20 feet from Heisman Trophy winner and #1 Draft pick running back Tony Dorsett when, as a rookie, he was lit up BIG TIME by a veteran linebacker on a one-on-one blitz pick-up drill. They just moved the drill over while the trainers revived Dorsett.
Entry Arch to Practice
Once Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys, Coach Landry was soon fired and the Cowboys stopped coming to CLU.
Years later, the Oakland Raiders decided to train on two manicured practice fields next to the River Ridge Marriott Hotel and Golf Resort in Oxnard about a ten minute drive from our home in Camarillo.
After a few years, the Raiders gave up on the Oxnard complex but a year or two after that, the Cowboys decided to return to Ventura County and train at the Oxnard complex.
About three years ago the New Orleans Saints trained in Oxnard for a week between two West Coast pre-season games.
Now, the Cowboys are back!
Money, Money, Money
Today it cost $10 to park the car, the admission was free but if you wanted access to the closest view point to the action they wanted another $20.
I opted to stay behind the fence and watch for free.
Friday was the Cowboys' second practice of their 2014 Training Camp. Thus they were only wearing helmets, jerseys (Offense in white, Defense in blue) and shorts.
Coaching up the Kickoff Return Team
Two Man Wedge
#97 is Terrell McClain, a fourth year player from South Florida.
Pinch and Wheel
#90 is DeMarcus Lawrence, a rookie from Boise State.
Center calling out protections
Easy Grab on a No Contact Day
#83 is Terrance Williams, a second year player from Baylor.
#24 is Morris Claiborne, a third year player from LSU.
Tackle's Pass Set
#78 is Jeremy Parnell, a fifth year player from Mississippi.
He is a third year player from Oklahoma State.
Coach on a Hot Seat
Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett needs a playoff team STAT!!!
This 12 year veteran TE out of Tennessee has a decent chance to make the team in my opinion.
Catch it at its HIGHEST Point
#13 is L'Damian Washington, a rookie from Missouri.
More Footballs than any
team in Europe owns
Wide Receiver Release Drill
Pizza in the Cheap Seats
It made my hungry.
Dez Bryant Stalk Blocking
Fifth year WR out of Oklahoma State, he needs to produce as much as his Head Coach does this season.
I love the coach's Body Language
"Bring Your Hips"
#64 is Andre Cureton, a rookie from Cincinnati.
#17 is Dwayne Harris, a fourth year player from East Carolina.
Linemen taking a break
Half Line at a time.
Field Goal Block
Watching and listening to some of the seriously demented Cowboys fans willing to spend the extra $20 to get in front of the fence was, shall we say, entertaining.
Hard to say from one no pads practice what the 2014 season has in store for America's Team.
Time will tell.