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Gailey Looks To Fine-Tune Cowboys

July 16, 1998

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) _ A few extra looks at his team during the preseason might be just what new Dallas Cowboys coach Chan Gailey needs to fine-tune his squad.

Dallas has training camp and five exhibitions before games on the field begin to count.

``I feel fortunate this year, and I may not say that every year, that we do have five games,″ Gailey said Wednesday after his team began practice. ``We have the opportunity to see five times in game situations our offense, defense and special teams.″

Gailey pledged to forge a playoff team in his first season at the helm, although he admitted it wouldn’t be easy.

``I didn’t beat around the bush. I fully expect that to happen,″ Gailey said. ``I got a job to do. A lot of work to do. I can’t get distracted.″

Topping his list could be an offense that was 22nd in scoring last year.

``As coaches, we expect perfection in the first game. I realize that’s tough to achieve,″ he said. ``I can expect perfect execution and then work on what needs to be done.″

The former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator is happy to have veterans like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Leon Lett to serve as the nucleus for a winning squad.

`We are trying to take new players, younger players and mold them in with these more experienced players and build ourselves a championship team,″ Gailey said. ``And it will be done here (in Wichita Falls).″

The Cowboys won only six games last year, and the collapse prompted owner Jerry Jones’ search for a successor to Barry Switzer.

Also Wednesday, Jones announced special teams star Bill Bates would be an assistant coach.

``Bill will be a full-time coach, not a player-coach,″ Jones said of the 36-year-old Bates, who became a salary cap liability because of the raise to a $375,000 minimum for veterans. ``He will stay in shape and be available to play if we need him.″

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