Weber must be more willing to take charge of Gophers offense
MINNEAPOLIS — Adam Weber is as gregarious a guy the Gophers have, but as a friendly freshman last fall he wasn’t always comfortable with the leadership responsibilities that came with being a quarterback.
Now that Weber has begun to master the complicated spread offense Minnesota installed last season, the latest challenge issued to him by coach Tim Brewster is to be more vocal in the huddle.
Not more outgoing, but more outspoken.
"I struggled with when to get on ’em, and when to be laid back," Weber said. "Now, with a year under my belt, I feel like I’ve earned respect and earned the right to say what I think and what I feel.
"I hope that if I do have to get on somebody or I do have to yell, people understand that I’m trying to make the team better. Before, I didn’t want to be the annoying freshman. I didn’t feel like it was my place, but as a quarterback you’re kind of forced into that position."
Sounds like he’s been listening to the coach.
"If you are the starting quarterback, quite honestly you don’t have an age," Brewster said. "You are the quarterback, and what do quarterbacks do? They lead."
Weber redshirted in 2006 after graduating from Mounds View High School. Last spring, with offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar’s system being taught for the first time, Weber said he felt like the coaches were speaking Chinese.
This time around, focusing has been easier. The field is easier to see. The pace of the plays has slowed down. Brewster raved about his increased confidence and poise at the conclusion of the spring practice session.
"It wasn’t Chinese anymore. I know that. Or maybe I’ve been in China for a year," Weber said, smiling.
Though the Gophers signed two highly touted recruits this year in David Pittman and MarQueis Gray, Weber is the unquestioned starter; the competition is for the spot behind him on the depth chart.
The first team offense sputtered at times on Friday night in the annual intrasquad scrimmage, but Weber completed 10 of 14 passes for 65 yards. He scored a touchdown on a designed rollout from 1 yard out and threw for a score on a 13-yard receiver screen to Ralph Spry.
The backups didn’t fare as well. Clint Brewster and Mike Maciejowski each threw interceptions, and Tony Mortensen went 2-for-5 for 6 yards. Gray is not on campus yet, of course; he’s expected to be redshirted.
Pittman didn’t play because of a strained hamstring suffered in Thursday’s practice. He’s a quarterback on the roster, but he’ll be used as a wide receiver, kick returner and even a defensive back if necessary.
"I’ve been moved around my whole life," said Pittman, a native of Georgia who played the last two seasons at Pasadena City College. "I’ve told coaches from day one, ’I can play any position,’ and they’ve taken advantage of it."
The spring game has historically been held on a Saturday afternoon, but this wet, gray evening was the perfect time to play inside at the Metrodome. A crowd of about 5,000 people showed up to watch the Weber-led maroon team beat the white squad 14-0.
Highlights? Marcus Sherels, the younger brother of three-year starting linebacker Mike Sherels, played cornerback after switching from receiver and recovered two fumbles. More impressively, he returned a punt 21 yards and a pair of kickoffs 60 yards and 38 yards, respectively.
On the down side, Joel Monroe missed three field goals. Two mid-range kicks went wide right, and a 52-yard attempt fell well short.