Maciejowski content with current role for Minnesota

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Jules Ameel

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Five years ago, Ohio State was one of several marquee football schools recruiting Mike Maciejowski . In their stadium Saturday, he took his first snap in over two years for the Gophers . A fifth-year senior, Maciejowski has learned to live the life of a backup, a position heâÄôs had since committing to Minnesota in 2004 . âÄúIâÄôve come to accept the role, even though IâÄôd obviously like to play in every game,âÄù he said. âÄúWe know who our starting quarterback is, but this is football and anybody can be needed at any time.âÄù The native of Columbus, Ohio bought upwards of 25 tickets for the game, and Brewster wanted to get him in the game in front of his hometown friends and family. So he told Maciejowski before the teamâÄôs final drive to be ready, âÄúbecause weâÄôre going to get you in this one.âÄù Maciejowski hoped to play a full drive , but 10 plays later still stood on the sidelines as the Gophers faced fourth-and-14 with just over a minute left . âÄúThat can be the life of a backup,âÄù he said. âÄúI was just thinking, âÄòCâÄômon, please complete something.âÄôâÄù Starter Adam Weber found DaâÄôJon McKnight in the end zone, and Maciejowski was sent in for the two-point conversion . Not a full drive, but still his first action since Sept. 16, 2006 . He converted, finding junior receiver Eric Decker on a quick pass, the first scoring play of his career . âÄúHe’s one of the most consistent guys I’ve ever met,âÄù Weber said. âÄúHe doesn’t get very many reps in practice but somehow finds a way to get things done. Obviously, playing in front of 100,000 people, a lot of them being his friends, to go out there and complete a pass like that is a big, big honor for him.âÄù Coming off the field, Brewster told him he would get a chance to operate the âÄútwo minuteâÄù offense if the Gophers recovered their onside kick . As heâÄôs done so many times before, Maciejowski warmed up to get in the game, only to sit back down. âÄúHe’s as good of a kid as we have on our team. I love the kid,âÄù Brewster said after the game. âÄúHe deserved the right to play in Ohio Stadium against the Buckeyes. ThatâÄôs a memory that he’s going to take with him the rest of his life.âÄù Rated the 35th best player to come out of Ohio in 2004 by Rivals.com , Maciejowski had interest from the Buckeyes, Notre Dame, Illinois and Boston College . He visited Minnesota because of a relationship with then-coach Glen Mason, who played at Ohio State with his father, Ron . An early commitment , he was No. 2 on the depth chart as a redshirt freshman, and it was assumed that he or fellow backup Tony Mortenson would take over when starter Bryan Cupito graduated. But that same year, coach Mason was fired . In came Tim Brewster and his coaching staff, who named then-freshman Weber as their starter. As a dual-threat quarterback, Weber was a much better fit for BrewsterâÄôs âÄúspread coastâÄù offense than he wouldâÄôve been for MasonâÄôs run-heavy style. âÄúWith the style of offense they brought in here, Adam fits that perfectly, and heâÄôs one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten,âÄù Maciejowski said. âÄúI don’t know what would’ve happened if Mason had stayed. You can’t really be sure.âÄù Weber has started every game since taking over at the beginning of last season , leaving Maciejowski and Mortenson with sparse opportunities for playing time. Last year, he left just one game, which Mortenson was put in. Mortenson said that after five years of competing, he and Maciejowski, who are also roommates, no longer debate who is No. 2 and who is No. 3. âÄúWeâÄôve seen a lot of quarterbacks come and go since weâÄôve been here,âÄù Mortenson said. âÄúI think weâÄôve accepted our roles as backups. We know Adam is our guy, and itâÄôs obviously tough when a game goes by and you donâÄôt get in, but weâÄôve adapted and itâÄôs been a lot of fun.âÄù