The redshirt freshman's first game had some rough spots, but his second-half performance shows he's ahead of the learning curve.
It happened a couple of times Saturday night at the Metrodome. Gophers redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Weber called the play, broke the huddle and began looking over the defense when the moment hit him.
"Wow, I'm really playing in a college football game," Weber said to himself.
He got another reminder when he took his first hit and his helmet got knocked sideways.
"I strapped it back up and said, 'OK, here we go. Let's do this,'" he said.
And so it began. Predictably, Weber's debut as the Gophers starting quarterback in a 32-31 overtime loss to Bowling Green included a mix of highs and lows, good and bad. But it was a respectable start to his career.
Weber overcame some early nerves with a composed second-half performance that saw him carry the ball as many times (11) as he threw it. He displayed good game management in leading the Gophers back from a 21-0 halftime deficit.
He completed 15 of 31 pases for 188 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. He also rushed for 72 yards. But he was 6-for-11 for 108 yards and two touchdowns and gained 62 yards rushing in the second half.
Perhaps just as important, Gophers coach Tim Brewster said Weber handled the speed of the game and was able to communicate what he saw from the defense after every series.
"I think everybody could see that Adam really had a sense of calmness about him," Brewster said. "At no point did I think he was not in control of his emotions."
Not even in the locker before the game. Weber said he stayed loose by trying to help his teammates relax. Nor did he panic when the Gophers returned to the locker room at halftime trailing 21-0.
"I told myself before the game that if anything bad happened, it's a long game, a lot longer than high school," he said. "You have a lot of time to come back."
Weber looked noticeably more comfortable in the second half. He made better reads and threw the ball with more confidence. His body language suggested he had moved past the this-is-a-big-deal stage.
"Coming into his first game there are obviously some jitters," senior left tackle Steve Shidell said. "We tried to help him get into his football zone."
Weber seemed to settle in early in the third quarter, and one sequence was particularly telling. Weber threw behind wide receiver Eric Decker on a play that would have resulted in a big gain, causing some grumbling from fans. But on the next play Weber fired a perfect strike to Decker for a 21-yard reception on third-and-10. The Gophers scored their first touchdown later on the drive.
"It's nice when [offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar] comes back with a pass play after I make a bad throw like that," Weber said.
Weber also had his number called a lot in the running game with 18 carries. Weber is athletic enough to be a factor with the option, but Brewster said Tuesday that he doesn't want his quarterback running that much. Ideally, Brewster said Weber will carry the ball six to eight times per game.
Weber said Bowling Green's defense dictated some of his carries in the option. But he agreed with Brewster's desire to reduce his potential punishment.
"Right now I feel fine," he said. "But it's a long season. I know as a quarterback you don't want to carry the ball that much."
|Minnesota||1||Top 8th Inning|
|Cincinnati||2||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Los Angeles||7||Bottom 4th Inning|
|Oakland||0||Top 3rd Inning|
|Arizona - T. Cahill||2:10 PM|
|Colorado - J. De La Rosa|
|Washington - G. Gonzalez||2:45 PM|
|San Francisco - M. Bumgarner|
|Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson||3:37 PM|
|Toronto - M. Buehrle|
|Chicago Cubs - J. Samardzija||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - F. Liriano|
|Detroit - J. Verlander||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - U. Jimenez|
|NY Yankees - H. Kuroda||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - J. Hammel|
|Seattle - B. Maurer||6:05 PM|
|LA Angels - C. Wilson|
|Philadelphia - C. Lee||6:10 PM|
|Miami - K. Slowey|
|Boston - C. Buchholz||7:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - H. Santiago|
|Kansas City - J. Shields||7:10 PM|
|Houston - J. Lyles|
|St. Louis - T. Lyons||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - B. Smith|