As Adam Weber discussed Da'Jon McKnight's remarkable pair of touchdown catches in the Wisconsin game -- "He has the desire to be a star," Weber said of the sophomore receiver. "He goes up there and fights for the ball." -- a familiar name was invoked during the discussion: Eric Decker.
That got the Gophers' quarterback talking about his former passing-game partner, the All-Big Ten receiver who is still waiting to catch his first pass for the Denver Broncos. Weber said he talks to Decker every week, but since the third-round draft pick has appeared in just three games without a ball thrown his way, they mostly talk about the Gophers.
"He watches all our games. I know in the NFL, guys bet each other on their (college) teams," Weber said. Uh-oh, how's Decker doing in that pool? "Not too well, I guess," Weber said with a pained smile.
Still, Decker likes his situation for the moment, Weber reported. "He's young, and Denver's a great city. It's hard for him to go from being the man in college to having to work his way up again, but he understands he's got to put in his time. I know he's going to develop a great relationship with (Denver quarterbacks) Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow. He's going to be a star eventually."
Decker has also confirmed what Weber said he believed anyway, "that there's nothing like college football," Weber said. "This is special. Obviously it's nice to make a paycheck, but there's not that same camaraderie, that same love for your team."
Which is why, even after five straight losses, even after four years as Minnesota's starter, Weber stands behind a statement he made before the season: He wishes he could play another year.
"I've played with a lot of guys who aren't here anymore, who are out there doing the nine-to-five. I can tell you they'd give up their left arm to come out here and do what we're doing," Weber said. "It's about putting this in perspective. It's hard to do sometimes, you start aching, practices are long, and your mind can play tricks on you. But I put it in perspective. If I could play football for the rest of my life, that would be a good deal."