Nathan Peterson Q&A

Defensive end Nathan Peterson led the Cowboys with four quarterback sacks a year ago as a freshman despite playing in just six games before a knee injury ended his season. In his first ever collegiate start against Iowa State, the 6-2, 250-pound Peterson had three sacks, one forced fumble and four tackles for losses. Two weeks later, his season ended when he went down against Texas A&M. We visited with Peterson on Saturday.

GP: How's the knee?
Peterson: It feels pretty good after the first two days. It's going to be sore but it feels pretty good.

GP: Is going through the nine months of rehab the hardest thing you've ever had to do?
Peterson: Absolutely. It's probably mentally harder than anything, but you have to realize that there are 100s of players a year that go through the same injury so you're not any different than anyone else. It's not a lot of fun. You ask, how could this happen to me and you wonder where you'd be as a player if it had not happened. But you can't think like that.

GP: Is the knee healthy?
Peterson: I'm good. I'm 100 percent.

GP: Will you be wearing a brace this season?
Peterson: I don't have to. I'll be wearing it during practice just to be cautious. I don't imagine I'll be wearing it during a game, though. It's a big brace and it would slow you down, so I imagine I'll just be wearing a sleeve or something.

GP: What do you expect out of yourself this season after making such an impression in the first few games of last season?
Peterson: I expect a better year (than last season). I don't think I have a reason not to. I mean I've had nine months to rehab this knee, and that's plenty of time. So there's no excuse for not to be able to do what I did last year. Even more, because I have even more knowledge of the game at this level and more feel for how it is, and the speed of the game.

GP: What type of season do you think you would have had last season if you hadn't been hurt in the Texas A&M game?
Peterson: I don't know. I felt like I was getting stronger as I went along. It seemed like each game I was getting more comfortable and getting a better feel for the college atmosphere, as far as playing football. I wish I could have seen what I would have done. I don't know.

GP: Were you surprised that you were playing as well as you were?
Peterson: Yeah, I was. I got the first start against Iowa State and played the best game of my life. I couldn't have asked for more.

GP: How much did your success and experiences at Tulsa Union High School have in your success last season?
Peterson: I think a lot. When you come from a big, successful program like that you ... honestly, I'm not used to losing very much and I'm not used to not playing. My last game that I got to play in last year against Texas A&M, we were losing it and that's not something I experienced ... you know, I lost two games in high school. I'm not used to that and definitely don't like the feeling of it.

GP: Opposing teams will know who Nathan Peterson is this year as compared to early last season when you were a freshman coming off the bench. Do you think it'll be tougher this year?
Peterson: No, not exactly. A lot of what I've been hearing is a lot of people don't expect me to come back as strong as I was. I use that as a drive to come out and prove people wrong. I can come back from this knee injury right now, and not sit out a year. And that's what I'm determined to do.

GP: What will you consider a successful season for Nathan Peterson? 10 sacks? 12 sacks? 15 sacks?
Peterson: As far as myself, honestly, as long as we have a successful season as a team. Stats and all that, they don't matter because our defense is built to where it's not an individual thing. Obviously, we want to get sacks and we want to get pressure on the quarterback, and that's something I'll be working for, and we also want to stop the run game.

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