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Working at the Manning brothers’ quarterback camp and throwing to NFL wide receivers during Larry Fitzgerald’s unofficial summer clinic, Weber has gained plenty of valuable experience since last season ended.

“I think Adam will do some big things,” fullback Jon Hoese said.

Weber said he devoted himself to the sport even more than in the past, knowing this is his final opportunity.

“I’m in the best shape since I’ve been in college,” he said.

New offensive coordinator Jeff Horton was hired to help Weber rediscover his confidence and refine his mechanics, simplifying the scheme and trying to get the Gophers back to being the powerful running team they were when Glen Mason was the coach.

“If we run the football, we’ll be successful,” Weber said. “That’s something that we’re really going to make a concerted effort to do. It’s who we are.”

The defense lost nine starters from last season, one reason why the Gophers aren’t getting much attention at all from fans or analysts around the Big Ten. They’ll play their toughest schedule in recent memory, too, with the season opener at dangerous Middle Tennessee, a home game against Southern California and visits from Penn State, Ohio State and Iowa.

Minnesota must also travel to Madison to play rival Wisconsin.

That challenge, Brewster said, is just want the Gophers want.

“I think there’s a great deal of excitement about our team and what our team can accomplish,” Brewster said, “when so many people have lower expectations for our team.”