Razorback Q&A: Jason Peters
Jason Peters should be in the circus because he is a freak. It may seem unwise to use such a name to describe the big guy in print, but what else can you call a young man who is 6-5, weighs 315 lbs, runs a 4.8 forty-yard dash and has nearly a 30-inch vertical jump?
The hulking sophomore tight end from Queen City, Texas, has the size and strength to be a dominating tackle, as well as the speed and baby-soft hands to excel at pass-catching. After playing on the defensive line his first two years on the Hill, Peters was moved to offense in 2001 and is now locked in as the starter.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack is not quite ready to wave goodbye to Peters just yet, and he is hoping to use him to help beef up the Hogs' defensive line for 10-12 plays a game. No matter which side of the ball he is on, count on Peters inflicting some pain and making a lot of Hog fans happy.
With both the Razorback offense and defense lobbying for the services of the gifted Peters, the young man is quite the hot commodity. Thankfully, he still has time for the little people, like yours truly, for this week's Q & A.
Nathan Striegler: You were highly touted coming out of high school but a shoulder injury kept you off of the field your freshman year. How difficult was that for you?
Jason Peters: It was real difficult. Especially with my team down. I was stuck on the sidelines and it was just hard.
NS: You've been shuffled back and forth between defense and offense and now you're playing both ways. Which side do you prefer?
JP: Right now it really doesn't matter. As long as I'm on the field, I'm happy. Tight end is more of a challenge for me. You've got to block and you've got to know your assignments. It's more complicated than defense. On defense you can just go out there and make a play. It's more instinct on defense.
NS: How difficult is it for you to make the transition between defense and offense? One minute you're protecting your quarterback and the next you're trying to kill the other team's quarterback.
JP: It's totally different. You could take a defensive player like… Jermaine Brooks and put him at guard and try to teach him a pass set. He would never get it. Never. You come in on d-line and rush the passer and then go to offense and have to pass block. It's just totally different.
NS: Would you tell Jermaine that to his face?
JP: Yeah I would. He would never get it. None of the d-line could. You could take (Raymond) House or Elliot (Harris) and put them in a pass set and they would never get it right.
NS: Was it a big challenge for you to learn that you couldn't always just use your physical abilities to get the job done?
JP: On this level you've got to use your head. In high school I just went out there and just played. They called plays but I pretty much just went out there and did whatever.
NS: Sounds like the Waterboy. Last year you tried out for basketball. Is that something that you've talked to Coach Heath about doing?
JP: I haven't asked Coach Heath yet. Matt (Jones) is always wanting me to come out there and play with him.
NS: Does he give you a hard time because he got to play and you didn't?
JP: Yeah. He's always braggin'.
NS: You started off quick when you moved to tight end last year and caught the deep pass from Zak Clark. At that point did you even know what you were doing yet?
JP: They just stuck me in there and told me to run the route. I knew what the route was and I thought that I might be open on it. I ran it. It was covered but I made the catch anyway.
NS: Sounds like the old street football plays where you tell the guy to go out and cut left behind the red Chevy.
JP: It was like a crack and go where you screen and then get up field, then they threw it to me.
NS: It's hard when you want the ball and you're just being used as a blocker. How tough is that on you?
JP: I want the ball every time I go out on the pass route. It's hard but you've got to just stick with your knittin'. You keep going and hopefully the quarterback will hit you.
NS: Have you dreamt about catching a pass and just plowing over about nine guys on the way to the end zone?
JP: All football players dream about that. The night before the game you lay down, say your prayers and then go to dream about what you're going to do in the game.
NS: I know that you've still got a lot of football to play, but with your size and ability you've got to be thinking about playing on Sundays in the future.
JP: Right now that's what I'm striving for, but if it doesn't work out, oh well.
NS: What could you see yourself doing if you weren't playing football?
JP: I'd probably start a business.
NS: Like a lemonade stand?
JP: Naw, nothing like that. It would probably be in housing or something. Whatever I feel like doing.
NS: What are you passionate about, outside of football?
JP: Playing basketball or playing videogames. We play a lot of Madden football.
NS: I've played with you up at the HPER and I keep waiting for you to bring one of those goals down. Do you guys approach Bama with a little extra motivation because of the school's rich tradition?
JP: Not really. It's just the next game and it should be to all the rest of the players too. They're just hyping it up because it's Bama and Arkansas. They'll hype up the next game against Tennessee, too.
NS: With Matt and Tarvaris rotating a little bit, what is the difference for you when you're in the game?
JP: When Tarvaris is in the game and I run my route, I have a tendency to turn around quicker but when Matt's in the game I don't turn around as quick. Tarvaris throws a lot harder than Matt and you have to concentrate more on catching the ball and then making a move. When Matt throws it you're ready to make a move because you know you're going to catch Matt's ball since he throws it so soft.
NS: When you and Shawn (Andrews) line up side by side you form a formidable obstruction. How do you guys like plowing the road together?
JP: Me and Shawn are really tight. He goes home with me and I go home with him. When we're out there on the field we pump each other up and we do what we've got to do to help the team get yardage. So if coach Nutt calls a play to our side and there's somebody head up on us, we're gonna take care of him.
NS: But can you eat as much as Shawn?
JP: No way. Shawn can seriously eat. When we go out and eat I just can't compete with him. He could probably put away about 10 or 12 pounds of food.