Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

Continued: Weber leaves U with no regrets

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 25, 2010 - 11:35 PM

It took five long years, hundreds of practices, thousands of workouts, dozens of interviews and 33 dispiriting losses before Adam Weber finally said something even vaguely negative about the University of Minnesota.

"I hate to say it, but I'm really tired of school," the Gophers quarterback admitted this week. "I'm ready to graduate and be done with college."

He was talking about classwork, not football, since he already possesses a business degree and has been taking grad-level courses this fall. But who could blame the 23-year-old senior if he was anxious to walk away from a football experience that didn't come within a season's worth of Hail Marys from what he hoped and expected?

Yet Weber approaches his 50th start in the Gophers backfield on Saturday, his final game in a remarkable college career, with sanguine emotions, an against-all-odds feeling that it was worth all the effort. Weber long ago came to terms with his team's naggingly persistent failure to live up to its ambitions, and said he can appreciate his career for the adventure, however frustrating, that it was.

The journey was supposed to take him somewhere, in other words, but he's discovered that the quest can be fulfilling by itself.

"I'm proud of many things we've accomplished. I know we're here to win games, and I wish we had done more of that," the senior from Shoreview said. "But we had some great moments, big wins. And there are a lot of great experiences that I'm grateful for because of football. We work with Hope Kids -- I can walk into a room at a children's hospital and make a sick kid smile, just because there's a Golden Gopher in his room. ... How can I say anything bad about [my career], when it allows me to do something that makes you feel so good?"

That's extraordinary maturity, those around the program say, from a player whose confidence and competitiveness make each loss -- and no quarterback in recent memory has suffered more of them -- a surprise and a heartache.

"You're measured by wins and losses, but you're also measured in how you respond to adversity. And nobody ever dreamed there would be this much adversity," athletic director Joel Maturi said. "Adam has been affected by a lot of factors outside his control, and he's never complained. I'm sure inside he's wondering, 'What if?' He's human, how can he not? But he's never said it, not to me or anyone I know of. And that's maturity far beyond his years."

A mixed legacy

Actually, Weber insists he never dwells on the road not taken, never second-guesses his choice of Minnesota, his father's alma mater, over Wisconsin or Iowa. He had to work with four offensive coordinators in his five years, first becoming a spread-offense conductor creating on the run, then morphing into a drop-back pocket passer. He rarely had much depth to work with at receiver -- but helped one notable exception, Eric Decker, develop into an NFL player. He had to face the brunt of fans' frustration over the Gophers' record and their unpopular coach, and the lingering feeling that his smashing freshman year -- "It was amazing how comfortable he appeared at an early age," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz -- was his ceiling.

Instead of all that, he could have gone to Madison and played for a trip to Pasadena that the Gophers dreamed of but never came close to achieving.

Weber's what-ifs, however, involve that unsuccessful two-minute drive against Northwestern, or the lead that slipped away against Kansas in the Insight Bowl two years ago, or failing to score against the Hawkeyes in a winnable game last November. "There are so many games I'll look back on and think: If I do this or something else, we win. And that hurts," he said. "We could have won so many more games here, and I can't separate my responsibility for it. I didn't get it done."

Yes, that's the odd, mixed legacy of Minnesota's most statistically accomplished quarterback in history. He's known for his amazing durability, having played virtually every offensive down of every game in his career -- "I take pride in the fact that I've missed one practice in my five years, the day after my knee surgery," he said -- and for the clockwork amassing of yards and completions. Only two quarterbacks in Big Ten history have thrown for more yards than Weber, only three have completed more passes, and only four can match his 72 touchdowns.

But Adam Weber is at once better and worse than those statistics suggest.

He bounces balls at receivers' feet two or three times a game. He slings the ball into traffic when prudence dictates a Plan B. He can perfectly complement an effective offense but rarely create one by himself.

Yet his teammates insist Weber will be missed far more than outsiders realize.

"He's got great stats, but that's not what makes him great," tailback Duane Bennett said. "If people were around Adam Weber every day the way we are, they would understand that he's an even better person and leader than his numbers. We don't have many wins, but Adam Weber is a winner."

See, that's the hang-up that complicates Weber's place in history. He's having another typically solid season, ranking fourth in the league in passing and fifth in total offense. But the Gophers are 2-9 and have never had a winning conference record, never even won a trophy game, during his tenure. As he says himself, "I've played 50 games -- but how many wins?"

"Winning and losing is bigger than any one player. I can tell you he's been tough to compete against for a long time, and we've got an awful lot of respect for him," said Ferentz, the Iowa coach. "It seems like he's been there for eight years."

Now what?

Sometimes it seems that way to Weber, too. After Saturday's finale -- "It's going to be a very emotional day. It'll be emotional just putting on my shoulder pads, knowing it's the last time as a Gopher," Weber said -- he will move back to Shoreview, decompress for a few weeks at his parents' home, then begin training for a shot at the NFL. He will pursue that ambition for as long as he can, then someday utilize his degree and contacts within the Gophers football community to get a job in business somewhere.

And only then will he contemplate what he has achieved as the face of Minnesota football for almost a quarter of his life.

"When he leaves here, he'll look back and realize he did some really special things. He'll be remembered as a special player, just caught in a tough situation," Gophers interim coach Jeff Horton said. "The truly unique thing about him [is that] he's never once blamed anybody or anything. He's always taken it on himself. And that's just so rare these days."

It even extends to his sense of his place in history. Does he envision his No. 8 retired someday, his career remembered with other Gophers greats, such as Sandy Stephens or Bobby Bell? It's just not in him.

"What made them great was what they were able to do as a team. They won national championships, Big Ten championships," Weber said. "My individual accomplishments fall to the wayside beside our team's lack of success. I don't compare myself to those guys because of what they did that we weren't able to."

  • GOPHERS VS. NO. 24 IOWA

    2:30 p.m. Saturday • TCF Bank Stadium • TV: BTN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Denver 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Carolina 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Detroit 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Denver 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Portland 7:00 PM
Houston
Utah 7:00 PM
Memphis
Toronto 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Dallas
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Washington
Nashville 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Florida
Arizona 9:00 PM
Vancouver
San Jose 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 64 FINAL
Bradley 54
Brown 67 FINAL
Central Conn St 55
Stetson 59 FINAL
Florida State 63
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
Northwestern 63
Ohio 49 FINAL
George Washington 77
Southern Utah 61 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 70
Elon 67 FINAL
Kennesaw St 65
Dartmouth 49 FINAL
Penn State 69
Green Bay 70 FINAL
UC Irvine 72
DePaul 58 2nd Half 3:51
Colorado 76
Lewis & Clark 39 2nd Half 6:04
Portland 67
SC State 30 2nd Half
Abilene Christian 23
Manhattan 22 1st Half 5:56
Fordham 21
Truett-McConnell 16 1st Half 7:10
Ga Southern 27
Citadel 22 1st Half 6:49
Michigan State 23
Miami-Ohio 14 1st Half 5:43
Ohio State 34
Gardner-Webb 22 1st Half 7:17
Purdue 29
Idaho 18 1st Half 7:57
Northern Ky 20
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Albany
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Butler
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
UCF
Oakland 6:00 PM
Clemson
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Norfolk State 6:00 PM
James Madison
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Towson 6:00 PM
Navy
Long Island 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
William & Mary 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Liberty 6:00 PM
Princeton
Delaware 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Colgate 6:00 PM
Syracuse
Kansas 6:00 PM
Temple
Mercer 6:00 PM
Tennessee
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Va Military 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
New Orleans 6:05 PM
Indiana
Columbia 6:30 PM
Connecticut
Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
Wofford 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
Baylor
UAB 7:00 PM
Chattanooga
Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
North Florida 7:00 PM
Iowa
NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Rice 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Mich 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Michigan
Furman 7:00 PM
Minnesota
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Weber State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Grambling St 7:00 PM
TCU
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Penn 7:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Chicago State 7:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Simpson 7:05 PM
Drake
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
UMKC
Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Wisconsin 8:00 PM
California
Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
LSU
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Marquette
Northern New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
UC Santa Barbara 8:00 PM
Oregon
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Providence
Northeastern 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Kent State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
UC Davis 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Lewis-Clark State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Walla Walla 8:05 PM
Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:30 PM
Houston
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Washington
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Hawaii
BYU 48 FINAL
Memphis 55
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Holy Cross 78
Temple 59 FINAL
Villanova 64
Georgia Southern 68 FINAL
Southern U 52
Xavier 60 FINAL
Kennesaw St 61
Eastern Michigan 52 FINAL
Michigan 81
Brescia 56 FINAL
Marshall 127
(21) West Virginia 54 FINAL
Ohio State 96
UMBC 87 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 78
Cornell 79 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 61
St Bonaventure 70 FINAL
Georgetown 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Northeastern 62
Eastern Washington 67 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 63 FINAL
Texas Southern 69
Butler 72 FINAL
Illinois State 60
UC Davis 53 2nd Half 3:15
(16) Stanford 65
Washington St 73 2nd Half 5:49
Loyola Marymount 46
Sacramento St 65 2nd Half 11:21
San Jose St 68
SIU-Edwardsville 34 2nd Half
UMKC 18
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(14) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Longwood
Kansas 6:05 PM
Creighton
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Missouri
Hampton 7:00 PM
DePaul
Florida State 7:00 PM
Tulane
Murray State 7:00 PM
Illinois
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close