All reports are Blackmon is doing really well and will be ready to play on Saturday.
For the coaching staff, Thursday morning represented an opportunity to go over everything again before the final polishing practice of the week. A few changes are made but for the most part the game plans are in on both sides of the ball and on special teams.
Staff meeting early goes over the itinerary one last time as the Cowboys will move to the Atherton Hotel later on Friday which is their home at home the night before the game.
There is also recruiting discussion as the Cowboys could very well be hosting more than 100 prospective student-athletes for the 2011, 2012, and even 2013 classes for unofficial visits on Saturday. Unofficial visits allow the school to provide complimentary admission to the game, tours of the facilities, and discussion with the coaching staff. The meal offered must be paid for by the recruits and their families.
The players get in some more tape watching and some meeting time before it is time to get ready for practice at 2 p.m. The just more than an hour long practice is in sweats and helmets.
All special teams scenarios are worked on first. Then the offense and the defense split up with their scout units. The defense goes to the grass practice field while the offense stays in the stadium. They each go over all kinds of scenarios and all of their game plan.
Defense will put a little extra emphasis on short-yardage and goal-line situations. Each group concludes the practice on their own time and they head back to the west end zone to clean up and prepare for a team Thanksgiving meal. Just prior to the meal the travel party, the 70 players slated to stay in the hotel on Friday, meet with the head coach.
At 4:30 p.m., the entire team, coaching staff and their families, support staff and their families gathered in the training table dining room for a Thanksgiving dinner that includes just about every traditional dish for the holiday and some not so traditional items. It is a major feed as far as meals go. Turkey, dressing, potatoes, green bean caserole, salads, cranberries, lots of fruits, pies and more are on the buffet.
Following the team meal, players that live within a reasonable distance can go home and spend some time with their families and many players will double and triple up and go home with teammates. Others will stay in the dorms and watch football, watch movies, play video games, and sleep.
All players are asked and trusted by the coaches to observe an 11 p.m. curfew on Thursday night. The team (travel party) will reconvene early Friday afternoon to go through meetings and eventually a walk through before heading to the Atherton Hotel.