July 25, 2008

Nobody is talking about Adam Weber

Top 5 storylines surround the Golden Gophers heading into the 2008 football season.

1 - they were bad last year
2 - the defense was REALLY bad last year
3 - Tim Brewster uses the word tremendous a lot
4 - Tim Brewster had a tremendous recruiting class last year
5 - Eric Decker played baseball

I wonder why there is so little talk or coverage of Adam Weber's tremendous freshman season. Weber wasn't exactly on a Heisman list nor was he even under consideration for All Big Ten, but when you really look at things, he did have a very good season as a freshman starting in the Big Ten.

Just looking at the numbers alone Weber had a good year. Weber finished top 4 in the conference for Passing Yds and TDs. And don't give me the "product of a system" argument because more teams in the Big Ten run a spread or spread variation than teams that run a more traditional offense. So even if he is a product of a system it is a similar system employed by most of his peers.

The areas that were not as pretty were of course completion percentage an interceptions. This is where we break down the numbers to compare Weber to previous quarterbacks who started as freshmen in the Big Ten. Obviously 19 interceptions and completing only 57.5% of your passes are areas that need improvement but when you compare numbers to the following you realize it was pretty good "for a freshman."

PCT Yds TDs INT Rsh Yds
Juice Williams (Ill)
39.5 1489 9 9 576
Kellen Lewis (Ind)
54.9 2221 14 7 441
Chad Henne (Mich)
60.2 2743 25 12 0
Jeff Smoker (MSU)
52.3 1365 6 7
Brett Basanez (NW)
58.5 2204 7 7
Zach Mills (PSU)
55.2 1669 9 12
Adam Weber 57.5 2895 24 19 617

The interceptions stand out as bad no matter who you are comparing it to. That has to improve. But everything else looks very good.
  • 1st in yards
  • 2nd in TD
  • 3rd in completion %
  • 1st in rushing yards
All in all what a solid year for a freshman starting all 12 games for a Big Ten program. Juice Williams is a phenominal athlete who gets a lot of press but when you break it down Weber had a much better freshman season (more yards, more TDs, higher completion % and even more yards rushing).

What does this mean as he heads into his second season as QB1? That is hard to judge. I'd love to assume his good numbers will go up and his bad numbers will go down. I looked at Brett Basanez (ran Dunbar's spread), Juice and Kellen Lewis to see how they fared from their freshman to their sophomore seasons. Lewis and Williams saw all good numbers increase dramatically and INTs also increased slightly. Basanez's numbers actually decreased as he threw only 4 TDs to 12 INTs as a sophomore. I don't know what the reasoning was behind this dramatic drop in production but let's hope Dunbar does not let this mistake repeat.

What I wasn't looking for but was pleasantly surprised was the increase in their team's wins from freshman to sophomore seasons.

Win +/-
Juice Williams +7
Kellen Lewis +2
Chad Henne -2
Jeff Smoker +2
Brett Basanez +3

Last year was painfully bad for Golden Gopher fans. For this season to be considered a success we need more than a +2 turnaround. But I fully anticipate Weber will modestly increase completion % by 3-4 points, INTs will reduce by -4 while TDs and passing yards will remain about same (maybe down a little bit as defense improves and running game is more consistent). If this were to happen +3 in the win column is a very real possibility with hope of +4 or +5.

After a record breaking season as a freshman, Adam Weber is poised to put his name to the left of several more school records and potentially Big Ten records. It is simplistic math to take his freshman numbers x 4 and assume he'll throw for over 11,500 yards and 96 TDs. Both would be top 2 in Big Ten history, but history shows us that injuries and defenses often have a lot to say about how Weber's career shakes out. I don't care about Big Ten records at this point, what I care about is winning games. And I think Weber gives us a very good chance to do just that. Whether anybody else is talking about it or not.


PJS said...

Considering Brewster said the other day MarQueis Gray is comparable to Vince Young, why is it that Weber is being handed the starting job?

Yes, his yards and TDs were up, but a large part of that had to do with the Gophers playing from behind almost all of the time, and because the defense was a virtual sieve.

GopherNation said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GopherNation said...

Even Vince Young split time with something called Chance Mock in his freshman year.

And what do you mean about the defense? They played with tremendous heart and fought their tails off.

Eugene said...

Actually, Young redshirted his freshman season, then split time with Mock the next year. The rest is history.

Gray's not ready yet, and Weber's going to be much improved.

BTW, awesome site. As a Minnesota grad now living in Texas, I feel very fortunate to have a site devoted to Gopher football. :)