To stand next to assistant strength and conditioning coach Gary Calcagno and hear him yell "Go," would serve just as well as an alarm clock in the morning and it was getting highly motivated Cowboy football players to bounce off the ground and right into the agility drills on Tuesday afternoon as for the 13th time in his tenure as the Coordinator of Speed, Strength, and Conditioning Rob Glass and his staff finished up conducting the Competition Day portion of the Cowboys off-season program.
Head coach Mike Gundy and his staff were all there observing as the team led by offensive tackle Zach Crabtree and linebacker Justin Phillips and the team led by defensive back Ramon Richards and offensive guard Marcus Keyes battled through the six events for the Competition Day College Football National Championship. Eight teams drafted by each of the pair of captains started the competition and the final places were determined Tuesday inside the Sherman Smith Training Center.
The finalists were pretty close all the way with Team Crabtree/Phillips leading by one after the tractor tire flip. The lead had switched over to Team Richards/Keyes after the agility drills. It stayed close through the tug-of-war and individual tug, but there was some separation on the bag drills before the Team Richards/Keyes clinched it on one of the last several obstacle course reps. It was linebacker Reshawn Parker, a 6-2, 215-pound red-shirt freshman linebacker from Hooks, Texas, that had the clinching run.
"I know that (Zach) Crab (tree) may have won for the last two years, but I've been beating the odds all my life," Richards said as he was a huge motivator and cheerleader for his team. "That is what I do, I beat the odds and win. My guys were great. You have to credit (Marcus) Keyes because he was a big part of this and all of our team did good. I like to draft some sleepers, athletes that some of the guys and our fans don't know about, but you will. (Philip) Redwine-Bryant (6-2, 215-pound safety out of Harker Heights, Texas) and (Reshawn) Parker were my key sleepers. They were awesome, won almost every time we put them in there. They competed!"
The final score was 21-16 by our count, but it was made slightly confusing in that one obstacle course rep was judged a tie and each team was awarded a point. Oddly enough, it was Redwine-Bryant on that rep for Team Richards/Keyes and he came from way behind to get to the line in a virtual dead-heat.
The other members of Team Richards/Keyes are defensive end Jarrell Owens, linebacker Kevin Henry, cornerback Rodarius Williams, offensive guard Matt Kegel, offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, cornerback Malik Kearse, punter Zach Sinor, offensive lineman Brett Wilson, and defensive tackle Vili Leveni.
The winning team will eat a "turf and surf" dinner at training table sometime soon, and the second- and third-place teams will get some prizes in the form of workout gear.
"These guys really competed, those two teams battling for the championship they were going from the start to the finish," assistant strength coach Mark Smith said. "What we do in the workouts in the weight room and on the field and then Friday mornings in the stadium (stadium steps), that is a grind. This is more like what they do on the field in the fall, this is competition and they love it. It is really good for them and for the team as a whole."
The Cowboys have the rest of this week and next week to finish up the formal off-season program. There will be more early workouts including Thursday morning and stadium steps at 6 a.m. Friday. Next week more workouts, but on Tuesday, in place of competition day since that has been completed, there will be a dodge ball tournament.