Below are excerpts from Oklahoma quarterback Jason White's weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.
On Adrian Peterson being a Heisman candidate, and if he is the best player on the team
"I think he's a legitimate Heisman candidate. The way he plays, how hard he's worked to get there. What he does on the field proves that he is. He's a great player, he adds a lot to this team. He deserves the amount of attention he's getting."
On Adrian's Peterson's pass blocking
"It's gotten better. It started off kind a rocky at first, especially in two-a-days, but once he learns the system and continues to learn and continues to work on it in practice he'll get better. I just look for him to improve in that area throughout the whole year. I think he's realizing all the guys work hard for him to run the ball. If he does his job pass protecting and everybody else is doing their job pass protecting, he realizes it's a team concept and that's what he wants to be part of."
On how special it is for a running back like Peterson to learn to be patient and wait for holes to develop midway through his first season in college
"I don't think he's got it yet either. That's what is amazing about him. The more and more he gets out there and plays and gets experience, and the more he understands his footwork and where the holes are supposed to be, the better he's going to be. You saw at the start he'd get the ball and the hole wasn't even close to being open, but it was eventually late but he wouldn't see it. As the season's gone on he's slowed down his footwork, he's got better with his footwork and realized where the hole's going to be. But still to this day, he misses holes every now and then. Once he gets that down, he's going to be amazing."
On if Peterson has the work ethic to make the most of his talent
"Yeah, he definitely does. His work ethic is far and above a lot of guys, and that's why he's so good. He came in and showed us how his work ethic was in the summer and a lot of guys took to that and respected him for that. And it's carried over to the season."
On if Peterson is luckier to have him, or is he luckier to have Peterson
"From my perspective, I'm luckier to have him. He's a big play guy and any time he touches the ball he can make something happen. For a quarterback, defenses have got to be worried about that and sometimes they're going to crowd the box and stop it. So, it's going to open things up for you."
On leading the team back on a scoring drive after throwing the interception which was returned for a touchdown
"I think it was good not only for me, but for the whole team to overcome adversity. That's as bad as it gets to let the defense score. It was a pretty long drive too. We had a good attitude about it coming out on the field. We knew we had to do something about it, and it shows that we've grown up a lot from last year."
On opening up the offense after the running game was held in check early
"I think that's what we're looking for – the balance we achieved. They can't always be in the right place at the right time for every play. If they're going to stop the run, we're going to throw. We have a gameplan and we're going to use that gameplan and execute it the way it's supposed to be executed."
On if the play that was intercepted against Kansas State was the same play that was intercepted for a touchdown early in the year
On him telling Long he wanted the ball back after the interception, and if he's every done that before
"No, not really. I think that was the first time that anything was said. I just knew that we were an older team, more mature players, more experience. Any time you make a mistake you want to make up for it. Our offense did a great job of that — not only did we go down and score, we took a lot of time off of the clock doing it. So, it helped our defense out. We know as an offense we want to keep them off the field and do our job, and any time you give up a touchdown on your part you want to get it back."
On going up against former coach Mark Mangino
"He was here the first two years I was here. Coach Mangino is a great coach and he's a motivator, so I know he's going to have his team ready to play and looking forward to the competition."
On what he remembers about Mangino when he was at Oklahoma
"I just remember he was real intense. He'd coach you. He wasn't a guy to sit back and not be a coach. Hed get in your face, tell you what you're doing wrong and help you correct it. He was just intense in that way."
On Mangino's intense way of chewing a player out
"That's Coach Mangino. That's the way he coached, that's the way he got his point across. A lot of guys learned from their mistakes afterwards and they didn't want to mess up again."
On if the offense hasn't shown all of its passing game yet this season
"Each week we go in with a different gameplan. It's pretty balanced. It's always a little run, a little pass. We're just going to execute our gameplan on what we've got that week, and whether it's pass or run we're going to try to do what we practice all week."
On Travis Wilson scoring touchdowns on six of his 16 catches
"Travis has learned a lot from last year and he's really matured over the summer and worked hard to become better. A lot has to do that they're all looking at No. 9 and other guys are open. So, you've got to take advantage of that and I think receivers are. Mark's happy with it to. He's the first to congratulate you when someone else scores. If they're going to key on Mark other guys are going to be open."
On how much his confidence in Wilson has grown this season
"I think confidence with all the receivers has grown. Not only Travis, but Will Peoples, Mark Bradley, JeJuan Rankins – it's all grown. But any time a guy catches the ball like Travis has been you gain confidence in players."
On his health and the protection he's getting from the line
"Feeling great. Haven't had any problems. I haven't even had to go to the training room yet. So, that's a first for me. I think it gives credit to the offensive line and the fullbacks and tight ends for the way they're passing blocking. They're giving me a lot of time. And also, the play-calling. A lot of times when you run play-action you get a little more time to throw, so it's definitely been helpful."
On the offense having more potential at the end of this year than last year
"Definitely. This year our run game is head over heels over last year's, and that's going to help us out in the end. Last year we kind of got one-dimensional at the end of the year. We still ran the ball every now and then, but we threw a lot last year. This year the defense has to prepare for both. They're playing a guessing game with our offense on what we're going to do. It's going to help us out in the long run."
On J.D. Runnels' blocking
"J.D. doesn't get enough credit. He comes in the huddle and you just know he's going to do something, whether it's catch a pass or make a big play. If you was to watch film, that's one thing I watch besides myself is when they run it back I always watch J.D. and see what he does. He's either making a big hit or he's opening holes up for somebody. He's an exciting player to watch."
On if he looks for Mark Clayton even when he's double-covered
"A lot of times he's not actually double-covered, they're just aware of where he is and what he's doing. A lot of plays he does get is from other receivers doing their jobs. We scored on a screen pass the other day. He might have been double-covered there, but that's a screen pass and receivers did a great job blocking for him, and he made one guy miss. Yeah, he does continue to make plays. Making a guy miss and scoring is a huge play. I think the biggest play that a lot guys didn't notice was in the end zone when he knocked the pass down from almost being intercepted. That's a play that people don't give him credit for, but that's a big play in the game."
On Kansas' defense
"They've got a lot of great athletes. They do some things similar to Kansas State as far as coverage-wise, but nothing we haven't seen and nothing that's just mind-boggling. They play sound in their coverage. They mix it up pretty good. You can tell they're well-coached. They're always in their areas and always making plays on the ball."
White says Peterson deserves Heisman attention
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