Kansas City Grounds Crew Battles Fields Prior to Camp

By Matt Tritten | mtritten@kq2.com

Published 07/24 2014 11:06PM

Updated 07/24 2014 11:50PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) When it comes to simulating game day situations during training camp, the Chiefs are pretty particular.

"Everything's similar to Arrowhead. They try to keep that consistency of a Sunday afternoon to everyday at the practice field," Jay White with Missouri Western athletics said.

That includes field conditions. But that job hasn't been easy leading up to the fifth year of camp in St. Joseph.

"Mother Nature didn't do any favors for the grounds crew out there," Thomas Howe with Grassroots Lawncare said.

Both 100-yard practice fields just north of the Griffons game day field are made up of Bermuda grass. It's a warm weather turf that's found throughout the sporting world.

"Golf courses in Arizona, Texas, Florida -- that's what they use there because it can take a beating; it comes right back," Howe said.

"When you have a 300-pound lineman pushing off, you want that grass to be solid so they do get great foot placement, and so they can push off," White said. "That field out there is definitely where they get it."

But an unseasonably cold winter took its toll, and despite an above average snowfall -- which usually serves as an insulation for the turf -- grass still suffered a severe winter kill.

"If you wanted to even fertilize that type of grass, you really kind of needed to wait until it got started, but with the cool temperatures it got a late start, lack of moisture," Howe said. "That crew, I'm sure, really had to scramble to get that field up and going."

Thanks to a late push, the grass at Missouri Western is green, and ready to take on another camp.

"The nickname is the devil grass. A lot of people typically don't like it, but it does so well as far as a lot of foot traffic and how resistant it is and how quickly it comes back. It's really, really good."

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