Witten and buddy Romo gear up for training camp   

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

  With his football camp out of the way, Jason Witten's attention turns towards the Dallas Cowboys' training camp, which will take place in Oxnard, Calif., beginning July 31st.
  Of course, the tight end will work to improve his game for the 2004 NFL season like others on the team, including his good friend and current Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo.
  "I'm excited about it," Jason said. "I've got two or three weeks off before that. Hopefully, we can build where we left off and try to take it a little bit further."
  "The biggest thing you learn from that is (Coach Bill) Parcells is always going to bring competition in," he said. "The best man is going to win the job every year and that's all you can ask for is a chance."
  Romo enters camp in the midst of the five-quarterback race for the Dallas starting position.
  The additions of Vinny Testaverde and Drew Henson only make things more interesting for Romo, 2003 starter Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson this fall.
  "You don't try to think about competing against them, you compete against yourself every day," said Romo Saturday at Rider Field. "I control how I do. If I go out there and do the best I can, the rest of the stuff controls itself."
  No matter what happens this off-season, Witten was full of good things to say about his friend who attended Saturday.
  "With him playing quarterback, we've gotten a lot of reps together," Jason said. "I don't think a lot of people realize it yet, but he'll have a good future in this league."
  Romo, the Wisconsin native who won NCAA 1-AA football's highest honor with the Payton Award at Eastern Illinois, willingly took time to help out his friend.
  "It's fun," Romo said Saturday. "Jason's my best buddy down in Dallas and I definitely wanted to try to help him out a little bit."
  The quarterback got a test drive of what to expect for his own football camp, which will take place in Burlington, Wisc., a small town similar to Elizabethton, next week.
  "It's similar. I have my first camp coming up next week and I'm sure it'll be similar," he said. "It's good to give back and see the looks on all (the kids) faces. You'll never forget it for sure."
  QUESTION AND ANSWER
  Several reporters asked Jason how he felt about a numerous amount of subjects involving the NFL.
  Signing of Vinny Testaverde: "Testaverde's past and how successful he's been will help us out. It will help us even if he's not out there on the field because he's kind of like an assistant coach out there. He came in and the first thing he said, 'I'm coming in to be the starting quarterback.' He definitely wants to play."
  Playing for Bill Parcells: "It's amazing. He's a tough coach, but his expectations are so high of you. He installs a work ethic and the ability to be successful no matter what you do. That's really what he's done with me. He's had a lot of great tight ends in the past, and hopefully I can get on that list. I'm just trying to give everything I have, and I want him to get us wherever we can go."
  The jaw injury: "Injuries are going to come. They are just obstacles in your way, you just learn from them and move on."
  Differences in pro game: "There is a difference in Coach Parcells and where his standards were and how much he commanded out of his players. I think the biggest difference is that it's a job and not just going to school and playing on the side. There's a lot of pressure on you, but you're in an elite group."