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Young Auditorium

Burlington native Romo addresses Packers, Rodgers

Wedig personally invited for first time

June 30, 2010 | 08:28 AM
Burlington — Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo understands the importance of teaching young kids the right way to play football.

On June 23 and 24, he was back at Burlington High School, his alma mater, for his annual football camp. And during a June 23 press conference, he made it clear what his visits back home are all about.

"Football can be hard for a young kid," he said. "They need to learn fundamentals first and foremost. They need to be taught in broad strokes. You don't want to say something specific and be wrong. Once you see a kid is talented, then delve into the technical side. I like to teach the older kids about leadership and younger kids that their parents are the most important people in their lives."

The camp, which featured more than 700 third-graders through high school seniors, also had about 45 coaches, including Badger defensive coordinator Ed Krien and Big Foot head coach Rodney Wedig. Each position had its own stations, and Romo made sure to work with each kid during the two-day span.

Romo stressed the importance of coming back to the area where he was an all-state football, basketball and golf performer in the mid- to late 1990s.

"The people are fantastic in Burlington," he said. "I've been back so much, and people are generally very nice. Everyone's down to earth. I also love to hang out with my parents and play golf and basketball."

In the past, Romo has been spotted at weddings in Lake Geneva or having fun with buddies at Lake Geneva bars such as Hogs and Kisses. But he refuted any rumors about buying a home on Geneva Lake.

"They're just rumors," he chuckled. "I'm done house hunting."

The 30-year-old isn't done with his playing career by any means, however. He is a three-time National Football Conference Pro Bowl selection, and his career quarterback rating of 95.6 ranks third all-time.

However, his ability to win has been questioned. In his nearly four full seasons, the Cowboys have won a mere one playoff game despite being the top seed in 2007. Despite his share of playoff nightmares, Romo isn't thinking about the playoffs in July.

"A lot of this game is mental," he said. "We took a big step as a team getting that playoff win. But I try to worry about getting better every day and taking a narrow focus. Right now, that's out of our control."

With many key parts back, the Cowboys should contend for a division title. Romo is excited about the team's offseason so far.

"We have had some really good Organized Team Activities (OTA) and minicamps," he said. "We've never really that in the past as far as execution. It's something I'm really excited about."

Romo also touched on the Green Bay Packers, specifically starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Recently on ESPN 540, Rodgers said Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the game right now. Rodgers received flack for expressing his opinions what he likes and dislikes about the reporters on ESPN's Monday Night Football.

"He's a great kid," Romo said. "He's a talented young quarterback who has a bright future. I got to know him a bit at the Pro Bowl. I can't fault anybody for being honest. Personallly, I like the guy. I try to be honest in a very diplomatic way."

For the third time in four years, Dallas will travel to Green Bay for a November 7 tilt. Romo loves playing at Lambeau.

"I've played in about four of five places in my life, but I'm going to hit up Lambeau about nine times," he joked. "It's an easy place to play."

Finally, Romo addressed concerns about his commitment in the offseason. He tried his hand at golf in the U.S. Open last month, opting to possibly miss an OTA with the Cowboys. But he simply enjoys competing.

"I like ending the day seeing if I won or lost," he said. "I love competition. I enjoy the challenge of golf or something difficult to do. I haven't changed my schedule for the last 15 years. I always try to play five or six events in the summer. There are so many swings in momentum in football. Golf helps me prepare for that because I have to bounce back after a bogey. You have to come out and execute the next play or on the next hole."

Wedig has a blast

Back in May, Wedig received an unexpected e-mail from a stranger.

It was actually a message from Burlington High School head coach Hans Block, inviting Wedig to come work with linebackers at the Romo camp. The coach of the defending Division 4 state champion Chiefs was ecstatic.

"It was a really neat experience," he said. "I like what Tony does with the kids. There are very good coaches. Just the fact that Romo comes there is huge."

Wedig imprinted footwork, reads and shedding blocks, basically the fundamentals of a linebacker. He even learned some new techniques.

"I was able to pick their minds," Wedig said.

The coach even had the opportunity to coach his son Cristian for the first time. The incoming Big Foot freshman has his heart set on playing linebacker someday for Dad.

"Hopefully this prepared him for a nice football career," Rodney said.

While Cristian was the only Big Foot player at the camp, Badger had two incoming freshman attend the camp. Rodney added that many of his varsity players were at a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater camp those days. But he is interested in sending future players to Romo's camp.

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