Posted on August 14, 2012 at 6:37 PM
DALLAS, TX - As football practice began, Woodrow Wilson head coach Bobby Estes was keeping close eye on his players.
"The UIL rules allow us to wear helmets right now, but just to get acclimated to the heat, we go without helmets the first two days," Estes says. "Most of the heat is collected in the head."
The first four days have been mandated as an acclimation period.
The UIL limits workouts to three hours of practice and no more than five hours on days when there is more than one practice, and this year they've added even more. Requirements now include no multiple practices on consecutive days which eliminate back to back two-a-days.
Players must also have two hours of rest and recovery time between the end of one practice and the beginning of the next practice.
"You're initial reaction is that Texas is getting soft and football is getting soft," says Estes.
That was certainly the reaction when the Cowboys didn't put their pads on until their fifth practice during training camp in Oxnard, California.
"To a large degree, this is not going to be a big change for many coaches," says Dr Mark Cousins, director of athletics for the UIL. Cousins says the idea came from their medical advisory committee to make sure that Texas has the right approach.
"They just felt, based on the information that was out there, what they've seen be done at the college level and at the professional level, felt like they needed some tweaking, to be consistent and current with what's going on across the nation and we put those out for effect this school year," Cousins said.
"What it causes you to do is be a better teacher," Estes says. "You have a shorter amount of time to teach it and you have to be a better teacher."
"If their minds are fresh, they're going to learn," says Greg Dykman, a trainer for DISD. "You have kids out here for four hours. After two hours you're screaming at kids you know, we're going to do it until we get it right, and they never get it right."
It’s quite a difference from the old school, two-a-day practice philosophy.
"The older I get, the smarter everyone else gets," says Estes.