Cortland (WSYR-TV) - Football season is right around the corner, particularly on the SUNY Cortland campus as the New York Jets prepare for training camp.
The team officially arrives on campus on Thursday, July 25 with the first day of practice the following day .
Mowers are going over the field at least three times a week to keep the grass at an inch long and the school has already handed over to the Jets' day-to-day care of the practice fields.
There's hardly a a weed to be seen, but even among the plush blades of grass that cover the field SUNY Cortland Head Groundskeeper Dan Dryja can spot the tiniest of imperfections. They've been working to keep out annual bluegrass.
“One I can't stand it, but two with it having shallower roots it will start to be more susceptible to drought,” Dryja said.
Shallow roots means the grass will have a better chance of being ripped up by players.
The grounds crews are concerned about high humidity and the rain that has fallen lately.
They say the factors make the field prime for disease so they are constantly monitoring it to make sure that doesn't happen.
They have replacement sections in place for damaged areas, too.
“You got athletes making millions of dollars out here,” said Dryja. "I don't want someone getting hurt because we didn't do our job right."
They’re focusing a great detail of attention on the dining facility too.
When the Jets visit, burgers and grilled cheese will no longer be on the menu, which will be carefully checked by team nutritionists who consult with school dining officials to ensure variety and healthy options.
“Lots of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lots of green leafy vegetables and they definitely know how to eat so they're eating right to fuel their bodies versus eating more or less for enjoyment,” said SUNY Cortland Director of Dining Services Bill McNamara.
McNamara was surprised at first when the team required small bags of potato chips and pretzels at each table, until they explained that the salt prompts athletes to consume more water.
“It’s about the salt content and getting people to consume liquid, so as they get thirsty they consume liquid. Their main concern is about hydration,” he said.
No piece of the operation is left to chance. The goal is to give the team every chance to succeed on the field.
McNamara said that with a new staff under head coach Rex Ryan, there are some changes on the schedule and other tweaks they’re making at the dining hall