Player's Diary #2: Andrew Weininger

Badger commit Andrew Weininger, a 6-5, 305-pound senior from Harrison High School in New York, is considered one of the top offensive linemen in the nation. After committing to Wisconsin in early August, Weininger began writing a weekly column for The Journal News, a Gannett newspaper in Westchester County, NY. Weininger has been kind enough to share his columns with Badger Nation. Here is the second column written by Weininger, which was published on Sept. 6.

Andrew Weininger is an all-state offensive lineman for the Harrison football team. After being courted by numerous schools, Weininger committed to the University of Wisconsin in mid-August. As the Huskies prepare to embark on their season-opener against Rondout Valley of Section 9 Sept. 8, Weininger reflects on the team's preparation. He will be sharing his thoughts as the school year unfolds.

Finally the season has arrived.

The three weeks leading up to the first game seem to take forever. The hardest part of the football season is behind us. The team worked really hard throughout double sessions and we are raring to go. The fun part now is playing the games.

Coach (Art) Troilo said that this was one of the most productive camps (double sessions) that he has run. I think it really has to do with the character of our team. We are very focused on having a successful season and working hard to achieve that goal

We are a very tight-knit team. The core of our team has come up together starting when we were six years old and playing T-ball, through Little League baseball, midget football, modified, and on to the varsity football team. We are very comfortable together and are all real friends.

This past Saturday (August 31) was our first opportunity to hit someone with a different color jersey on. We scrimmaged at Mamaroneck High School. We got to play Mount Vernon, Scarsdale and Horace Greeley.

Our toughest test was Greeley, the defending Class A section champions and state runner-up. We played pretty solid, scoring two touchdowns to their one.

One thing that we have been working on this camp is our pass defense. Kyle Hannon, Jay Colabella, Angelo DelBorgo and Steve Burton are our starters in the secondary. Jay and Steve are two linebackers playing in the secondary. They are two of the hardest hitters on our team. Angelo and Kyle have the ability to run with and cover any wide receiver we play.

The anticipation for our game against Rondout Valley started after our loss in the state semifinals (to Peru) and has grown steadily since then. Rondout Valley is one of the best teams we will play all year. They won the Class B state championship in 2000, the year after Harrison.

They have a lot of speed in the backfield, led by Chris Sebald, their star wingback. They return all of their running backs, their quarterback, and one lineman from last year's team, which lost in the Section 9 championships to Red Hook.

Rondout has a hard-charging defense. Their linemen try to penetrate the line of scrimmage and get into the backfield.

Our line will have to have a great game. We have two new starters on the offensive line, Eric Herron and Joe Brefere. It will be a good early test for them. They will do fine.

The speed of the game is something that our team has to be prepared for. The speed of an actual game is much faster than it is in practice.

Add to that the explosive speed of the Rondout team and the fact that we are playing on artificial turf -- we better come ready to play.

But, this is where being a veteran team will be a huge advantage. Myself, Rudy Arcara, Ricky Alvarado, Pete Kolasch, Luigi Rogliano and Nick Pennella are all three-year starters.

Include our two-year starters, Steve Burton, Jay Colabella, Ryan Lambiasi and Matt Monfort and our team has a lot of experience. We understand what it is like to play in big games against great teams.

As much as our loss to Peru last season has stayed in the back of our minds through the off-season, our victory over Somers (Class B final) has been as influential.

Playing in that game is one of the things that I am most proud of. Experiencing the high of winning that game and the low of losing two weeks later has made us work harder not to lose this season.

Sunday (Sept. 8) will also be an emotional game, as it will be the first game since the death of our friend and teammate, Rob Viscome. Everyone on the team was really close to Rob, including myself. Rob was a great teammate.

He was someone you could count on and was always there for you. If a person on another team took a cheap shot at one of us, Rob would be the first person there to stick up for you. We all really miss him and he is still and will continue to be present in our minds.

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