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Exclusive Interview: Peterson
This spring, Adrian Peterson is being protected from defenders by a âhands-offâ blue jersey during spring scrimmages and some practice sessions. Obviously, Oklahoma can ill-afford to have its star running back hurt, especially after the problems he experienced last season with nagging injuries.
Healthy, happy and anxious for the arrival of the 2006 season, Peterson took off the blue jersey when he sat down recently with Sooner Spectator and spoke candidly about his time in Norman, his future in the NFL, chasing other running back legends and a long-anticipated reunion with his father.
The following are excerpts from that interview which appears in the Spring Football issue of Sooner Spectator, available on newsstands April 7:
Sooner Spectator: Talk about last season. What was it like going from a Heisman runner-up to a guy who kind of fell out of the national spotlight because everyone talked about Reggie Bush, Vince Young and Matt Leinart?
Adrian Peterson: It was a different feeling in a way, but I really didnât look at it that way. Life is full of ups and downs. Just being able to sit back and see Reggie Bush and all the other guys do their thing â itâs kind of funny that you say that because during the Heisman ceremony this year I was at the house and I just happened to be vacuuming the floor. And Iâm looking at the TV and Iâm like, âDamn, last year at this time, I was right there. I was sitting right there with those guys and now Iâm vacuuming the floor!â It was kind of crazy and motivates you to do whatever you can to get yourself back and get prepared to first, help the team, and everything will fall into place.
SS: So you werenât going through anything last year thinking about missing the Heisman, it just came up all of a sudden?
Peterson: Yeah. It wasnât anything like that at all. I take things in stride and everything happens for a reason and thatâs how I feel. Weâll just see how things happen and how they come out this year.
SS: You are such a competitive person, did you ever feel guilty because the team struggled last year and you werenât able to play? That obviously had to be tough on you.
Peterson: I wouldnât say I put that on myself because I know one person doesnât make a team. It did hurt to sit on the sidelines watching the guys and not being able to help. It hurt.
SS: It is well documented how hard youâve worked since youâve been at OU, how hard you work in the weight room. What do you think it is inside you that makes you such a driven person?
Peterson: I guess I could say itâs that dog mentality. I think it starts from when youâre young and it just carries on. Iâve always been that way in grade school, middle school, high school â I was just brought up that way. I wanted to be the first in everything. I wanted to work harder than everybody. I wanted to work hard, do extra, thatâs always been that way.
SS: What about off-the-field stuff? Itâs been pretty well-publicized how you are in such high demand for autographs and things. Has any of that died down at all? People waiting for you after study hall and stuff like that?
Peterson: Yeah, itâs died down a little bit, but the only reason is because I stay in my little cave. I stay to myself at the house. Iâm always chillinâ at the house. I really donât come out that much. I guess thatâs why it calmed down.
SS: After two-and-a-half years here, what is your take on Bob Stoops?
Peterson: Heâs a hard-core coach. Heâs cool.
SS: Coach Stoops has really gone out of his way to make sure you arenât overwhelmed at times, hasnât he?
Peterson: Yeah. Heâs always looked out for me, especially during my freshman year. He made sure I wasnât just thrown into the media and caught off guard. Heâs a cool coach. I wouldnât have gone anywhere else. Iâm glad I came here, man. I really am. I really appreciate the whole coaching staff.
SS: So if you make the national championship this year, thereâs a good chance heâd get to watch you play for the first time from the stands?
Peterson: Yeah. So Iâll try and get there. It really becomes a big-time goal. We talk about it. He says, âI donât know if I can make it to any of your games son. But if you can make that last one, I might be there.â So at least if we do get there, heâll be able to make it.