I’m going to do something a little out-of-the-ordinary, here, and take the time to do a brief profile on one of the Badgers’ upcoming foes: South Dakota defensive end Jesse Weisbrod.
I’m doing this because, in someways this Saturday, Weisbrod will be coming home. You see, playing in Camp Randall will by no means be a new experience for Weisbrod.
Coyote Defensive End, Jesse Weisbrod
Weisbrod, a Waupaca, Wis. native, was the captain of his high school’s 2007 state championship team that captured its title playing on, well, you guessed it, the Badgers’ home playing field. Now, four years later, the 6-5, 275 lb red-shirt senior makes his way back to Madison to face his home-state team Wisconsin Badgers.
O yeah, and did I mention he was a high school classmate and football teammate of your RedZone contributing writers, Sam Oleson and Mitch Larson? Told you it was an interesting story…
We caught up with Weisbrod and asked him a few questions about what it’ll be like to return to Camp Randall.
What will it feel like stepping onto the field at Camp Randall for the first time since you won the state championship?
WEISBROD: Obviously I have some great memories associated with Camp Randall but I won’t really know how I’ll feel until I step onto the playing-field. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to play in such a historic stadium in front of a crowd usually am cheering along with. This Saturday, obviously, I’ll be pulling for the Badgers’ opponent.
Do you think it gives you an advantage knowing that you’ve already played in Camp Randall?
WEISBROD: I don’t think it gives me any advantage just because it’s been so long since I’ve played there.
If you had to sum up the style your Coyote defense plays, in one sentence, what would it be?
WEISBROD: I’d say our defense is unrelenting in its pursuit of the ball. Simply put, we just try to get out there and get after it.
What do you expect from the Badgers, come Saturday?
WEISBROD: As far as expectations of the Badgers, I know they’re going to come right at us, like any other team. I know they have Nebraska the following week, but I don’t believe they’ll be taking us lightly.
Are you feeling anything different preparing to play the team you grew up cheering for opposed to a team in your conference?
WEISBROD: It’s obviously very different getting ready to face a team I’ve been watching since I was a kid. Watching them on film is almost surreal. At the end of the day, though, they’re just another team like every other one we prepare for; I have to treat it as such.
What does it mean to you to get to come back and play in front of your family and friends who maybe haven’t seen you play in four years?
WEISBROD: Playing in front of family and friends that haven’t seen me play in four years adds a bit of extra pressure. But not only do I personally want to play well in front of them, I want to show them that our entire team can play well, too. I have a group of 60 people from my hometown coming down to watch and cheer for me, so I’m hoping to make them proud.
Weisbrod, number 96, deflects a pass against Minnesota
I know as sports fans we sometimes get caught up cheering for our home team. Sometimes–and probably more often than not–we can even get down-right nasty to our opponents and opposing fan-bases. I’m here to say that we need to keep some perspective and realize that, even though they may be facing off against the team we bleed for, they’re still collegiate athletes fighting for their teammates and fan-bases. But more importantly, they’re good people. Such is the case with players like Jesse Weisbrod. And while I’ll surely be rooting for my Badgers on Saturday, I wish all the best to stand-up players like Weisbrod and his teammates.