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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/14/2006 05:37:00 PM

Saturday Observations Part II: Adrian Peterson

Oakland Arena
Oklahoma star running back Adrian Peterson has 935 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns this season.
AUBURN, Ala. -- I was driving to Jordan-Hare Stadium when I heard the news. One word: heartbreaking. I don’t know if I can remember a year with so many devastating injuries to marquee players around the country, and obviously, you don’t get much more marquee than Adrian Peterson.

Talk about star-crossed. He injures himself A) while scoring a touchdown B) during arguably his best performance of the season (183 yards and two touchdowns) and C) most sad of all, on the day Adrian’s formerly incarcerated father, Nelson, was there to watch him in person for the first time. According to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, the best-case scenario is returning in time for a bowl game, but even that sounds optimistic for a broken collarbone.

Obviously, Peterson’s injury raises several immediate questions both for him and the Sooners. First of all -- does this change what was previously a foregone conclusion that the junior would turn pro after this season? Peterson previously stated that a serious injury was likely the one thing that would prompt him to return next season. I think we’ll have to wait and see how he recovers. Obviously, NFL types always have reservations when a player is coming off a serious injury, but this isn’t just any player. I can’t imagine Adrian Peterson would fall too far on too many draft boards, especially in a year projected to be light on running backs.

As for Oklahoma, it seems like the hits just keep coming. Last spring, this was going to be the Rhett Bomar-Peterson team. Now it’s going to be Paul Thompson-Allen Patrick. Patrick isn’t bad, but obviously he’s not Peterson. Thompson has performed very well (16-of-27 for 195 yards and two TDs against Iowa State) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson start leaning on him more heavily. Still, there’s no overstating what a devastating blow this is. OU should feel very fortunate if it makes it through the regular season with only one more loss.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |


Posted: 6:41 PM   by Anonymous
Ready to believe that the Big East is under rated? Big East teams are 27-4 this season outside the conference - the #3/#4 team just shut out Navy -- the top teams keep running the opposition out.
Posted: 6:41 PM   by Anonymous
There it goes again...the same old story. AD is never an AY (All Year). No doubt, he's an exceptional running back and if you want to take one positive from this, that'd be AD playing for OU again next season....I just don't want to imagine an OU team without both him and PT.
Posted: 6:58 PM   by Anonymous
I think they better lean on Paul Thompson...at least until Patrick can prove he is fumble happy.
Posted: 7:11 PM   by Anonymous
I'm a hardcore Sooner fan and you must understand how tough this is. I feel sorry for Adrian and the guys on this team. If you haven't seen him play in person, you just don't know how unbelievable this guy is. It has been a tough year for the Sooners. First they lost Bomar, then they deal with the loss and the Oregon ref scandal and now they have lost their all-world running back Adrian Peterson. Stoops is a great coach and they will overcome this. You're the man AD, thanks for the memories!!!
Posted: 7:13 PM   by Anonymous
i agree with you on this subject, however, i think that peterson MUST return, i honestly cant see him leaving college after his freshman year, without a heisman trophy, plus he will want to have his dad see him play more in college than just one game, without peterson this year, oklahoma can pretty much give up on its big 12 title hopes, and look foward to next season, in my opinion, peterson should return, of course he still will probably be drafted in the first round, just because of the fact that he is a special player, and that there isnt very many running backs in the draft this year, but i think he should return, so he can have another shot at a heisman and a national title
Posted: 7:55 PM   by Anonymous
first round?! try top five buddy!!
Posted: 7:58 PM   by Anonymous
I'm an OU alum and obviously a huge fan. While I'd love for AD to come back, I'd be shocked if he did.

With next year's QB being a freshman or transfer, it's hard to imagine a championship calliber team. And he'd probably be asked to put 350+ carries on his body.

While the Heisman run would be nice, he'd be leaving millions on the table if he came back. He's been injured every season. Why come back and risk a signficant injury that would impact his draft stock?

He needs to take the financial security of the NFL and the first round signing bonus money. Good luck AD and thanks for the memories.

(BTW, easy to second guess - but you have to wonder why Stoops (who has run AD like a rented mule in close games all season) still had him in a game that was in the bag.)
Posted: 8:01 PM   by Anonymous
My heart goes out to AD. He is so talented and I wish him the best. The team and fans will miss you.
Calif. fan
Posted: 8:03 PM   by Anonymous
Should Adrian trade a possible heisman campaign next year (and risk of injury), for a lower draft status with the possibility of a playoff-caliber team picking him? Tough questions abound, I think he goes and Dad can watch him in the NFL.
Posted: 8:08 PM   by Anonymous
Dang, feel bad for AD. Dad there too. Im a Buckeye fan and Im always interested in what he does Heisman-wise, but I hope he doesnt get too teamy and try to come back for a bowl game. Dang.
Posted: 8:43 PM   by Anonymous
i have been a big OU fan for many years now through the good times and very bad times. this new situation is a tough blow to the psyche of a team already with enough problems. the sooner program has been on a downward spiral ever since the USC game, and it doesn't seem to look any better for the near future, especially with whispers of conflict between stoops, the AD castiglione, and president boren. peterson should go to the NFL and not risk further wear and tear to his body or his family. it is going to be a few years before OU is the juggernaut of two years ago that can annually compete for a national title.
Posted: 10:03 PM   by Anonymous
I'm a huge Iowa State fan, and am sad to see this type of injury to one of the greatest combinations of class and talent we've ever faced but really "WHAT THE HELL WAS DOING IN THE GAME AT MOP UP TIME?!" This is a tragedy the heisman has turned into this sort of thing where a guy who has 125 yards with the game out of reach is still playing for the sole purpose being to get "heisman numbers." THat's sad.
Posted: 10:29 PM   by Anonymous
I don't know why the Big Least is so under rated! They play and beat the toughest teams from all the big time conferences. Let list the teams they have beaten from the Big10-Illinois 2(2-5), Indiana(4-3) SEC-Kentucky(3-4), Miss State(2-5) ACC- North Carolina(1-5), Virgina(2-5), Maryland(4-2), Miami(4-2) Big12-Kansas State(4-2) PAC10-0 Con.USA-Marshall(1-5), UFC(2-4) East Carolina(2-4). They have played 4 ranked teams but only beaten 1(Miami). And the majority of the team they have beaten have losing records. So after looking at all the facts, I still can't figure out why the Big Least is so under rated and get no RESPECT!
Posted: 11:10 PM   by Anonymous
Peterson is gonna end up like that BYU back Luke Staley...injury-prone. He's not going to make it in the NFL.
Posted: 11:12 PM   by Anonymous
It's easy to just jump all over Bob Stoops for leaving Peterson in a game that's "pretty much over." However, Stoops has never been a heisman number booster. That was obvious in the Josh Heupel days when mop up numbers would have given him the heisman over Weinke. I have to believe that Stoops' only reason for still having Peterson in the game was because Peterson's father was watching for the first time in years and especially because, after the Oregon game, "pretty much over" doesn't count as a win until it's all over. I am a Sooner fan and I do want to wish Peterson the best, a great college player and person. Thanks ...
Posted: 11:16 PM   by Anonymous
Here's a question: it's 27-9 with 6:40 left in the game. Why's Peterson even in the game? What's with all the coaches leaving star players in a game only to see them get injured during garbage time? Doesn't make sense to me.
Posted: 11:17 PM   by Anonymous
like the article said, this is ANOTHER very big blow to the Oklahoma Sooner's team. I am a huge OU fan, and it looks like we cant catch a break. AD's career may be over, but OU just needs to keep pushing ahead, like we have done all season. The guy is an animal, and hopefully we can see him for one more game before his OU career is over.
Posted: 11:19 PM   by Anonymous
Let me premise by saying Im a Longhorn fan. However, its sad to see a great player injured even if he plays for your biggest rival. Ive had the opportunity to see him play in person and I wont be upset if Texas doesnt have to face him ever again. I wish him a full and speedy recovery. The same goes for Michael Bush of Louisville.

Posted: 11:33 PM   by Anonymous
I am so Anti-OU that I cheer at nearly everything negative that happens to OU. I am a UT Alum 2005 and proud of it. I cheer everytime I see an OU Quaterback sacked...no matter who the opponent.

That said, I really wanted Adrian Peterson to win the Big Trophy in New York. I cannot imagine what this must do to Adrian's dad. My heart goes out to that family.
Posted: 11:42 PM   by Anonymous
"So Sad OU"..."So Sad". OU needs to think Independence Bowl now. Poor Adrian...No National Title...No Heisman Trophy...Should have gone to Texas...
Posted: 11:58 PM   by Anonymous
I am sure you will get a lot of comments about the Miami/FIU game and the brawl that ensued. And I am positive that suspensions will be handed down. My questions is with violence becoming more and more common among athletes why not set an example with these two teams and suspend their seasons? And anytime police need to be called in to restore order to a game, that should be the end of the contest. If players want to focus more attention and energy on beating each other with helmets and stomping on opposing players, then they don't need to play football for the rest of the day.
Posted: 12:24 AM   by Anonymous
The only thing he can do is take the money and run. As good as he is, and as much as I love OU football, there is no point in him coming back next year. They will lose key members of their already mediocre D, no experienced QB so that will add more pressure to him, and he probably won't win the Heisman. His best option is to heal, don't play in the bowl because he won't make an impact, and just get ready for the combine then prepare to run for a crappy NFL team. So long AD, thanks for the memories, and lets kick off the Demarco Murray era next season!
Posted: 12:27 AM   by Anonymous
Good point by the ISU fan. I'm an ISU alum and was also wondering the same thing...why in the world was AD still in the game? It was well out of reach with the way ISU was playing (less than stellar once again- time for a new coach in Ames!). There's no reason he should have still been in the game. What a waste of a wonderful athlete.
Posted: 12:41 AM   by Anonymous
i think the reason AD was still in the game was the fact that the ESPN ladies are hell-bent on giving troy smith the heisman, even though he puts up the most pedestrian numbers (didnt he pass for less than 120 yards in a game about three weeks back?). peterson is gonna miss six games, so i guess he has no chance for the heisman. that being said, isnt herbstreit an Ohio state homer, he's had troy smith at the top of his heisman ballot since day one. after OU got "oregoned" he said that peterson couldnt win the heisman since OU lost. since when did the teams' success directly reflect on heisman votes? paul hornung must be spinning in his grave.if the Heisman truly goes to the best player in college football, can't peterson still win? he is, after all, the best player in college football.
Posted: 12:47 AM   by Anonymous
If Adrian was showboating when the injury occurred, then I don't have any sympathy for him. If not, then I feel bad for his teammates.
Posted: 1:18 AM   by Anonymous
Terrible. Ridiculous. I really like Peterson. Seems like a quality person and awesome player. Poor guy jumped into the endzone and landed wrong. That's what I saw. Dude needs money for his family I'm sure. I would take it and bid Oklahoma adieu. Too many negatives stacking up in Sooner-land. Of course from my Longhorn perspective it looks really good. I will be looking forward to 4 or 5 Red River Shootouts going Texas' way. Sucks to be a Sooner. I can see them fighting for their lives against Texas A&M and Baylor, and maybe even Oklahoma State, who always plays them tough. I think Missouri will beat them. Those dumb-asses at Tech couldn't beat their practice squad, nothing to worry about there.
Posted: 2:00 AM   by Anonymous
For all you Sunday morning quarter backs that keep questioning why AD was still in the game, think about this . . maybe he wanted to be, he earned the starting job, and Stoops shouldn't coach defensively by pulling his starters out at the end of the third because they might have the game in the bag.

For those UT chumps that took the opportunity to take a cheap shot on the occasion of Peterson's personal tradgedy, once again your true nature is revealed. The intensity of the Oklahoma/Texas rivaly originated because Texas is arrogant and lacks class. Half a century later, that is clearly still the case.

Adrian, thanks for the memories. Best wishes with whatever decision you make.
Posted: 2:09 AM   by Anonymous
I am one of the "root for Texas and anyone playing OU" but the injury to AD (can someone tell me why AP is AD?) is wrong on many levels. The Heisman is not really a meaningful award anymore. It hasn't gone to best player in college football in years but to the most favored offensive skill player. For this reason he shouldn't have been in the game to get Heisman points. His dad was there. OK, that's kind of special, but he'd been missing for a reason. The thing that really bothered me about the injury was the unnecessary dive into the end zone. Too many players think it's cool to do this and now some has had a serious injury from it. I hope serves as a lesson to others that you could end a season, perhaps even a career trying to make the highlight reel.

Much like I thought (and still think) Vince should have stayed for a senior season, I think AD should return for his.

As for the comment about AD should not come back because of the QB situation next season, all I can say is never underestimate a (redshirt) freshman QB. Colt seems to be coming along just fine.

Beating OU is always a good thing. Beating OU when quality players are on the other side of the ball is a really good thing.

Here's hoping UT wins out, WV, USC lose along the way and OSU beats Michigan. That sets up the rubber game of the match against OSU and I truly believe the outcome will be much different than the second week of the season.

Hook 'em
Posted: 2:28 AM   by Anonymous
As a Texas longhorn fan, i gotta say i really felt bad for him seeing him go down. He is an amazing combo of speed, strength, vision, and balance, and was the only reason why OU kept it close for most of the game last week in dallas. I wish him the best and will cheer for him on sundays next.
Posted: 2:42 AM   by Sandyunderpants
Peterson is the embodiment of "hype". This guy is the most over-rated player since his OU Heisman predecessor, Jason White. It's easy to rack up big numbers against a schedule filled with sunbelt and big-12 cream-puffs. AP never won a big game in his entire career. USC 55-19 loss, Texas beat him the last two years in blow-outs, UCLA's 108th ranked defense shut him down last season, TCU stomped him, and the freakin Ducks beat him this year. The guy must be made out of glass because he's out injured every season. Last year it was a leg injury, then he knocked himself silly jumping up and down ON THE SIDELINES at the Holliday Bowl, and then today he breaks his collar bone trying to immitate a real Heisman winner, Reggie Bush (during garbage time).
Posted: 3:02 AM   by Anonymous
All of you that are questioning the decision of having Peterson in the game, stop and think for a minute? Maybe PETERSON asked to stay in the game. Maybe HE wanted to stay in the game and play for his father.
Posted: 9:13 AM   by Anonymous
We'll miss you Adrian!
Posted: 9:29 AM   by Anonymous
He was not showboating...I was there. It happened in front of me. That last Iowa State tackler grapped his ankle, and knowing AD, he say that endzone and reached for it...he just landed wrong. He is the best. OU will survive but AD is such a competitor. I feel for him personally.
Posted: 9:32 AM   by Anonymous
AD was not showboating. I was there. It happened in front of me.
He was running at full speed and that last Iowa State tackler grapped his ankle and, knowing AD, he saw the endzone and reached for it. He just fell wrong on his shoulder. OU will survive, but I feel for AD personally. He is such a competitor and a joy to watch live.
Posted: 10:36 AM   by Anonymous
Thanks for the memories AD. My heart breaks for you and your family that your college career ended this way...

But now I get to look forward to seeing AD go high in the first round and play on Sundays...And AD will get the benefit of not being asked to slam into the line 35 times a game.
Posted: 10:51 AM   by Anonymous
How sorry should I feel for Peterson? He could have gone into the end zone standing. No one made him dive. He was clearly show-boating, so he did this to himself. This isn't about Stoops leaving him in; if he'd been taken out, someone would be bitching that Stoops was hurting his Heisman chances. This is about a player who injured himself being a hot dog. I feel worse for his teammates, who will likely suffer for his absence. As for Adrain? He did it to himself.
Posted: 11:32 AM   by Anonymous
Hmm... Eighteen point lead with 6:40 left on the clock. I seem to remember a game up in Eugene, Oregon that OU had a thirteen point lead with a little over three minutes left. We all know what happened there, don't we? Eighteen point lead isn't enough with this up-and-down defense.
Posted: 11:39 AM   by Anonymous
This is why Ohio State is going to the BCS Championship game....because they keep their players healthy and Tressel pulls his players out when the game even starts to get out of reach. Smith and te Buckeyes don't care about Heisman...they care about the championship.
Posted: 2:29 PM   by Anonymous
I feel bad for Adrian Peterson - he's a quality player and a terrific talent. But as crushing as his dad getting to see him for the first time only to see his son injured, I doubt that's going to play a factor in Peterson returning to OU - in fact, I think it may drive him to the pros even more so. He'll be drafted high and be able to provide for his dad and family a lot better, and in the end, in a game where the line between college and pros is ever thinner, that's all that really matters
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