Training Camp News & Notes

The Cowboys had a light practice in the morning before getting after it in the evening practice session. Among today's notes, Scott Zimmerman was moved from linebacker to fullback, Micah Knorr is struggling to keep his job, and more news on the progression of Kevin Hardy.

The Cowboys had a very short morning practice, with only about an hour of actual on the field time. There were no 7-on-7 drills, and the team spent a good bit of time working on punt coverages.

This evening, a very interesting position change came into focus as Scott Zimmerman was moved from linebacker to fullback. Zimmerman had absolutely no chance to make the club on defense, but he could provide some much needed help as a big bruising fullback.

"He has to show that he can take a limited number of plays and do those well," said Dave Campo. "It's a unique position because he doesn't need to know a whole of things."

Zimmerman actually played as a fullback in high school, and he certainly has the physique to play fullback in the NFL. Early returns seem suggest that he can dish out the punishment as an offensive player.

He crunched a couple of linebackers in one drill this evening, and he seemed to understand what was going on around him. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the move pans out over the course of the next few days.

Of course, you might remember the same thing happening to another Cowboy only a few years ago. That's right- starting FB Robert Thomas is also a converted linebacker.

Meanwhile on special teams, Micah Knorr continues to struggle with his punting, at least in comparison to rookie Filip Filipovic. Filipovic clearly has more pop in his leg, even though his form may be a little unique.

"Even when he doesn't hit it just right, the ball still gets high up in the air with good hang time," Kicking coach Steve Hoffman said. "He's an NFL punter."

Demonstrating power on punts where the ball doesn't come cleanly off your foot in a tight spiral is a clear indication of solid leg strength. And when you put a powerful rookie up against a veteran who was nearly last in the league a season ago in net average, you have one of the more intriguing battles in training camp on your hands.

Of course, Knorr excels on kickoffs and even though he may have the edge in terms of pure distance, some coaches are starting to hint around that his job may be in jeopardy. "You're better off having an average punter and a good kickoff guy than a good punter and an average guy kicking off," Hoffman said.

"If you're consistently having short kickoffs without much hang time, sooner or later you're going to start getting gashed on kickoffs." Fortunately for Filipovic, Tim Seder has started hitting his kickoffs further down the field and higher in the air. If can continue to improve- Knorr is out of a job.

Kevin Hardy had some interesting words to say earlier about his progression from a season ending knee injury last season in Jacksonville. "It felt good to get out there and get a little pop in. I'm pleased with my progress, I'm pleased with how I'm running around out there, but I may not be back 100% until mid-season," Hardy said.

Hardy has looked great so far during training camp, showing good lateral movement and outstanding quickness. It looks as though the Cowboys might have picked up a winner with the former Illinois star.

Backup offensive tackle Aaron Gibson continues to impress the coaching staff, and he continues to perform well early on during training camp. "I am getting more impressed with him as it goes- he's working hard," said Dave Campo.

"I think for the first time, he is getting some positive feedback from the coaching staff. Obviously, when you get cut from a team there wasn't probably much positive going on. I like what I've seen to this point."

Quincy Carter, who has looked great up until Tuesday evening, struggled in the 11-on-11 drills when he had to face the blitz. Carter had a pass intercepted on one play when he threw the ball directly to defensive end Peppi Zellner. He would follow the turnover with incompletions in 4 of his next 5 attempts.

Finally, Troy Hambrick has also started catching the eye of Dave Campo. He was impressive in the middle drill yesterday evening, and he continued to look good throughout the day today.

Hambrick walks around the Alamodome with a sort of a swagger that you like to see in one of your top offensive backs. Call it hunch, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the ball more this season- especially earlier in the game.

Here are some images from today's practice sessions from the Associated Press:

Andre Gurode runs through a drill with teammates during a morning practice. (AP)


Linebackers coach Gary Gibbs works with players during the morning practice session. (AP)


Dave Campo is dwarfed by members of the team's offensive line during a team meeting following a morning practice at the Alamodome. Some of the players include Raghib Ismail (81), Larry Allen (73), Flozell Adams (76), Aaron Gibson (63) and Char-ron Dorsey (79). (AP)

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