100 Yards and Runnin’
For the most part, I'm on the "Yo, we should keep itâ€ side of the instant replay discussion. I'm all for anything that helps gets calls right in crucial situations. That said, if the zebras are going to continue screwing stuff up (with a zillion camera angles!) like they did the final minute in last weekend's Oregon/Oklahoma game, let me be the first to express how much of a mistake the experiment was. The botched call cost the Sooners the game and possibly a shot at the national title.
Adrian Peterson, OU's star tailback, may still get consideration for the Heisman, even with the loss. But ask the amazing 21-year-old future NFL star if he'd rather have 515 rushing yards and four TDs like he does or a 3-0 record and he'd likely say the latter. When we interviewed AD (called "All Dayâ€ by teammates) a few months before the season, we didn't ask him that specifically, but we certainly touched on a few other important topics. But no, getting Adrian's thoughts on instant replay wasn't one of themâ€¦
Things have come easily over your career, but what's been most challenging?
Being able to be patient and sit there and trust in the offensive line that things will open right. When I first came in, I was really just rushing things at 100 mph, thinking it's just about speed. I'm learning that it's all about the team and waiting on the different holes to open. You do the correct steps and slow yourself down and you start to see those holes, those little creases, and you can better him them.
Would you rather win the Heisman or beat rival Texas?
Absolutely, I'd rather beat Texas.
Would you rather win the Heisman or be the No. 1 pick in next year's draft?
With those two choices, I'd be the Heisman Trophy winner. That's something I've been dreaming about since I was a lil' kid. Being able to get that, it would mean a lot
You got hurt a bit last year. You comin' into '06 with a chip on your shoulder?
I'm not gonna sit here and say I'm not trying to improve on last year. It's kinda funny you said that â€˜cuz last year I was watching the Heisman while I was sweeping my floor and it just kinda dawned on me [that I wasn't there]. I just take it for what it is and try to make up for it any way I can. Being at the house last year and watching it on the TV, I was like, â€˜Dang, this time last year I was up there nervous, sitting up in that chair like they were. I used that as motivation to get me prepared for this year.
How'd you cope during the injury?
It was painful not being able to go out there for my team. Watching is not something I really like to do. It was hard, but it's all part of the game. Just coming off last year, you look back and learn from it. This year I see a lot of guys, including myself, coming in more focused and understands exactly what's gotta get done to be able to win the Big 12 and have a chance to play for the national championship. So, basically I understand those things coming into this year.
Would you have been ready for the NFL right after high school?
You know, I think it's best that I'm still in college right now, that I'm still learning and making myself a better player. I probably would have still stayedâ€¦I think that's pretty reasonable. The sport is football not basketball. You go to the NFL and you're playing against grown men out there feeding their families, so it's a whole different outlook.
When were your first dreams of Heisman?
When I was a lil' boy, about seven or eight. When I first started playing football. When I was a lil' boy playing pee-wee. What would it mean to me? I don't know, man. It's hard for me to express what it means not having it right now. I'm pretty sure it'll mean a great dealâ€¦The national championship. You go to your work-outs with all these guys. You go to the work-outs and work our butts off with blood, sweat and tears sometimes. Just the whole team aspect; it's a team sport. There's no "Iâ€ in "team.â€ Without the offensive linemen, I can't do what I do. Without the offensive linemen, a quarterback can't do what he does. So on and so forth. Winning a national championship is a goal that we set as a team, and as a team, that's what matters. No doubt, winning a national championship would be what I picked.
What are your best and worst attributes?
Vision [is the best]. The thing I have to work on the most? My pad level, getting my pads lower. I need to improve on picking up the blocks. [As for receiving the ball] A lot of guys ask, "Why don't you catch the ball more?â€ I don't call the plays. But I think this year, you'll see a lil' bit more of it.
Are you having fun with all of this attention?
Really, it's okay being in the spotlight like this. But being the person that I am, I'm real laid back and just chill. Sometimes it gets kinda shady but it's something you gotta go through.
How can you stay focused on college ball when you have all those millions waiting on you in the NFL?
You can hear what you think you're going to get, but it's not in your hand. Basically, I just stay focused and just continue doing what I did to get here in the first place, not thinking ahead but just taking it day by day. I'm just going to continue doing that and let things unfold.
They've outlawed your trademark visor on helmets this year. Your thoughts on that?
It doesn't bother me at all. To be honest with you, I was thinking about hanging it up this year anyway. Nah, it doesn't bother me. It's football.