Thunder & Lightning? Sunday Practice Notes

SAN ANTONIO – Julius Jones tried "Thunder and Lightning.'' Somebody else suggested "A Mack Truck and a Ferrari.'' Around here we like "JuJo'' and "MB3.''

Julius recently referred to himself as a "robot.'' One night at the team hotel, we heard Terry Glenn's teenage nephew refer to Marion Barber III to his face as "The Squid.''

So they've got a lot of nicknames, Jones and Barber, the pair of running backs who figure to share time at the position again this year. And they've got no problem with any of it.

"You need two of ‘em,'' said Jones, sounding like a Fantasy GM. "We're both cool with it.''

Again on Sunday, Jones worked with the first team and Barber worked as his backup. Beyond that, the coaching staff says it hasn't determined exact roles for each guy.

"Julius is an open-field guy, and Marion is more of a bruising runner,'' O-coordinator Jason Garrett said. "We need to find a way to maximize all of that.''

Jones' claim to fame is that tease of a stretch in 2004 when he rushed for 803 yards in seven games. Barber's claim to fame is having led the NFC in rushing TDs a year ago.

And if they ever achieve as much true fame as they have apparent harmony, maybe they can solidify some monikers that stick.

"I'm going with ‘Thunder and Lightning,'' Jones said. "It just means we have a lot of weapons.''

Yeah. … and, for now, a lot of semi-lame nicknames.

MORE ON ‘SQUID': We never did get an explanation for Glenn's nephew's "Squid'' nickname for Barber. But we did get insight into MB3's low-key approach to life.

As the young man was yammering chummily to the running back, Marion quietly leaned into him and whispered, "Son, you're too young to be that cocky.''

WHO'S HOT: Marcus Spears. The big defensive end, no great fan of Bill Parcells, is in a put-up-or-shut-up spot but hadn't been a camp standout – until Sunday. He made it very difficult for the offense to run his way, an effort that marked his best practice of the week.

WHO'S NOT: Isaiah Stanback. Maybe the Cowboys end up stashing him on an injured list, and that wouldn't be the worst fate for a rookie trying to switch from college QB to pro WR. But he's spent five days here in gym shorts. And there goes one-third of the camp because of that foot problem.

OFFBEAT BEAT: We've had some weird things happen to us over the years in San Antonio . For instance:

1) A crazy man once drove his motorcycle up onto a sidewalk and tried to hit us while doing a wheelie. The crazy man turned out to be Dennis Rodman.

2) An irate man once delayed our checkout from a hotel room by insisting his bill was incorrect. The argument was over a bowl of room-service chili. The man was Moses Malone. And Moses' argument was, "I mighta ordered it, but I don't remember eatin' it.''

3) Dave Campo, showing off for the HBO "Hard Knocks'' cameras, installed a "punch-in-and-get-on-the-clock'' machine outside the Alamodome locker room. One day, when the cameras weren't around, only four of the 80 players bothered with the silliness of punching in.

All pretty good stories to tell the grandkids. But now comes this week's tale:

4) We're walking into Sherlock's, a suburban saloon, when we notice a body in the bushes. Aw, just another drunk, right? No. By the time we left the bar, the place was about to be surrounded by yellow police tape. The guy in the bushes? Dead.

QUOTABLE: "That sounds crazy, don't it?'' Greg Ellis, after cryptically suggesting he might retire. And yeah, it don't. Or something.

FISHELLANEOUS: Courtney Brown registered an interception of Tony Romo, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that might make it just two Romo picks for the entire week. … Not a great day for Leonard Davis, whose 366 pounds comes in much handier for him as a run-blocker than as a pass-blocker. … Terry Glenn required some attention for what looked like a mildly twisted ankle. … The Cowboys are scheduled for a two-a-day session on Monday (9-11, 3:30-5).

CowboysHQ Top Stories