30 Minutes with Adrian Peterson

OU star running back Adrian Peterson met with media from across the country on Thursday as a result of the overwhelming number of requests for interviews he has received this summer. Inside is a transcript of his entire news conference, which covered a wide range of topics. (AP Photo)

We have included the names of the reporters who asked the questions to give you an idea of who was involved.

JOHN HOOVER, Tulsa World – To an outsider, it looks like a lot of things come really easily to you on the football field. What is the most difficult thing you've had to deal with on the field?

PETERSON – Basically being able to be patient. To trust the offensive lineman and that things are going to open right. I would say when I first came in my first couple of years, just rushing things, doing everything a hundred miles an hour. A lot of people think its just about speed, but I just learned it's all about techniques and steps and waiting for different holes to open. You sit back and when you do a correct step and slow yourself down, you start to see little holes and little creases opening and you get ready to hit them. So I think that's probably the one thing.

HOOVER - A lot of guys might be overwhelmed by the summer workouts or the hard work. A lot of guys might be overwhelmed by the speed of the game or the defense and the size of the linebackers and things like that. None of that really bothered you, did it?

PETERSON - No, not really. Like I say, I just have to slow myself down.

HOOVER – How about off the field? Can you give us some examples of what would be a tough day for Adrian Peterson away from the football field?

PETERSON – I guess off the field, just going to different places, everywhere you go, people just come up to you. It comes with the territory. I'm not saying I don't like it, but you know, just not being able to do things that you normally do.

DANIEL MOGOLLON, The SportsMaster – How do you feel after having the spring relatively healthy to improve your skills and what specifically did you think you needed to improve on more? Would it be setting up the blockers, kind of like you hinted at as far as being patient, or pass blocking or pass catching?

PETERSON – I think coming being able to go through spring helped me a lot to get better in shape and just really put on a little weight also. Being able to go through spring for the first time really helped me a lot to see how much I could improve.

As far as what I need to improve on, you know technique, blocking, setting up the blocks and everything like that. Catching the ball, trying to make some things happen like that was some of my main focus in the spring.

MOGOLLON – A couple of years ago, Cedric Benson said he'd rather win the Hesiman than win the Red River Shootout. If I asked you that question, what would you rather do? Beat Texas again or take home the Heisman?

PETERSON – Absolutely beat Texas. I don't even have to think about that.

COREY MCCARTHY, Sports Illustrated – Last year you had the ankle injury and didn't make it back to New York for the Heisman Ceremony. Have those struggles of last season maybe left you with a chip on your shoulder for this year?

PETERSON - With a chip on my shoulder? I guess you could say. I'm not gonna sit here and say I'm not looking to improve on what I did last year. It is kind of funny that you'd say that, though. After staying here and watching the Heisman (TV show), I was sitting at the house and I was sweeping my floor. It kind of dawned on me, you know. Things that were happening, you just have to be able to handle what happened and to take it for what it is. Just take it the way it is and try to make up for it in any way you can. Just being at the house last year, watching it on TV and thinking ‘Dang, at this time last year I was up there sitting in a chair like they are'. I use that as motivation to be prepared for this year.

MC CARTHY – During that run at the end, you guys were able to get to the Holiday Bowl and take care of Oregon. How do you guys carry that momentum and that character that you built at the end of the season over to this year?

PETERSON – That's something to move forward from and to build from. It allows the freshmen something positive to come in on and know that we're back on the OU trail, how we can play. Just come into this year and focus and we can get it done and just have a new start.

TIM GRIFFIN, San Antonio Express - What was it like last year when you had to sit out, not being able to play, having to watch somebody else go out there? What was that like?

PETERSON – It was painful, not being able to go out there and go to war with my team. Just stilling there watching. That's not what I really like to do. It was hard for me, but it's all part of the game.

GRIFFIN – That was probably the worst injury you've ever had in football, right?

PETERSON – Other than my shoulder, I guess you could say that.

GRIFFIN – You also touched earlier on the fact that you've gained weight. How much do you weight right now? PETERSON – I'd say around 223.

GRIFFIN – Weighing that much, is it a case where you get to eat a lot or is it just workout stuff? How does that all work out?

PETERSON – It's all in the workout and eating properly.

GRIFFIN – Is it one of these things where you're drinking a bunch of protein shakes to get ready every day and that stuff?

PETERSON – No, not really. It's just the workout and making sure you get the right amount of meals. I been trying to focus on doing that and trying to put a little weight on, a little power weight.

GRIFFIN – Do you feel more comfortable at that weight?

PETERSON – Oh, yes sir, I do.

GRIFFIN – Just how has what happened to you last year helped you refocus for your junior year?

PETERSON – This year I just feel like I come in more focused on what exactly has got to get done to be able to win the Big 12 and have a chance to play for the National Championship.

GRIFFIN - Last year you guys had a little bit of a slump from what you'd been able to do earlier in your career. But this season, coming in you guys are ranked #1 in several of the pre-season poll. Are you a little surprised by that, that people have you that highly rated after what happened last year?

PETERSON - Surprised? No, I wouldn't say that, but I really don't pay that much attentions to those polls, because we have to do the work on the field.

GRIFFIN – Do you like the fact that people have that much respect for you coming in?

PETERSON – Yeah, I think I do.

TED LEWIS, New Orelans Times-Picayune - If the NFL rules were the same as the NBA rules, you could have come out after your freshman year. You never really got close to challenging that rule, but looking back are you glad you stayed in college or do you think you would have been ready a couple of years ago?

PETERSON – I think it's best that I stayed in college right now. I'm still learning and making myself a better player here in college. I probably would have just stayed anyway.

LEWIS - What about the idea of the rule being so restrictive that you can't come out until after your junior year?

PETERSON - I think that should be the rule. It's a different sport. It's not basketball, it's football. You go to the NFL, you're playing against grown men feeding their families. That's the way I look at it.

LEWIS – Sounds like you're enjoying college.


LENN ROBBINS, New York Post - When did you first start dreaming or thinking about the possibility of winning a Heisman Trophy?

PETERSON – When I was a little boy, seven or eight, I first started playing football and watching about the Heisman and all that stuff. So it was when I was little boy, playing Peewee.

ROBBINS – What would it mean to you if you did win it?

PETERSON – What would it mean to me? I don't know man, it's really hard to try and express what it really means, not having it right now, but I'm pretty sure it would mean a great deal.

ROBBINS - You were asked before about whether you'd rather win the Heisman or win the Red River Shootout. I'm going to up the ante a little. If you had your choice between winning a National Championship and winning a Heisman, which would you choose and why?

PETERSON – National Championshp. No doubt. As far as the reason why, you go through your workouts with all these guys, you go through your workouts out there sweatin' blood, tears sometimes out there to get ready for this, Big 12 first then National Championship. It's the whole team aspect, teamwork, there's no I in team. But without offensive linemen, I can't do what I do. Whitout the offensive linemen and quarterback, you can't get it done. Winning the National Championship is the goal that we set as a team, and as a team, that's what matters. So no doubt, winning a National Championship is what I'd pick.

CHIP BROWN, Dallas Morning News – Adrian, a lot has been made of the offensive line. Last year, it struggled at times. You lose three starters from that line. Can you tell us how this line is looking at this point and what you expect from this offensive line this season?

PETERSON – At this point, the offensive line, they're looking good. We've got some younger guys that came in, couple of guys from junior college that came in to help. So right now, they're looking good. They're out there working hard, making themselves better and becoming the best players they can to get ready for the season. As far as that, everything is looking good. We're just ready right now to get the pads on and get out there and get a little contact and see how things go.

BROWN - I think you were quoted when you made your decision to attend Oklahoma that it had come down to Oklahoma and Texas and someone quoted you saying ‘I'm going to Oklahoma because they win championships and Texas doesn't'. Of course, Texas has won a National Championship now. Did that just add to the rivalry"

PETERSON – Did it add to the rivalry? Yeah, I guess you could say that. I'm just used to that. It does.

BROWN – Are you motivated to make sure that you get that National Championship? Obviously, the school that you discarded has one.

PETERSON – Not necessarily because of that. Because as a team we want one. But that adds a little wind to the fire.

BROWN – What is your primary motivation right now? When you're sweating through workouts, when you're grinding away and toiling away in the summer, what are you thinking about.

PETERSON - A lot of things are in my head to keep motivated. My dad, my brother who passed, my daughter. I just want to do good for them, to make those people proud. My grandpa passed just recently so just stuff like that just keeps me motivated and keeps me on the straight and narrow.

BROWN - And what were you thinking when you watched Texas play USC last year?

PETERSON – What was I thinking? Man, it was a great game. I mean, I was hoping Texas would win. I was rooting for Texas.

JEFF CARROLL, South Bend Tribune - A lot of people here in South Bend are linking your name right now with Brady Quinn. They see you guys as kind of 1-2 in the Heisman race early on, obviously. Have you ever met Brady, do you know much about him and what have you thought just from watching him play?

PETERSON – I really don't know much about him but watching him play. Great player, good athlete, makes great decisions. He's just a good ballplayer, a special ballplayer.

CARROLL – You became a candidate during the course of your freshman season, Did Jason White talk to you about how to get through that or how was that and how much does that differ from this year when you kind of know the hype that you're going to expect? Is it easier this time around?

PETERSON - Yeah, you know it is easier. I know what to expect a little more and what I'm going to experience.

DENNIS DODD, CBS Sportsline - When is your dad getting out?

PETERSON – When is he getting out? Actually, he's in a halfway house right now so maybe in a couple of months.

DODD – What kind of impact is that going to have now with him back in your life?

PETERSON – It's going to be crazy, you know. Man, being able to look in the stands and see him in the stands, I don't know, maybe it will give me the extra drive that I need.

DODD – Yeah, I'm assuming he's going to be there for the opener and all the games.

PETERSON – God willing, everything goes good, he should be there.

BLAIR KERKHOFF, Kansas City Star - Adrian, I read somewhere that you had a conversation with Gil Brandt of the Dallas Cowboys, maybe it was during the Playboy shoot. Can you talk about what you guys talked about? Some of the things he was counseling you on.

PETERSON – It was pretty much just stay focused, you know, and always be in the lead, just little things like that. Just keep doing what I'm doing.

KERKHOFF – Did he talk about agents, people to stay away from?

PETERSON – Yeah, it's a football thing. They're always going to be there, always going to be buggin' , so you gotta do the right things. It's not about the things you want, you know, your needs. It's about business off the field, the classroom and fall workouts and being ready, get ready for the sason. Just things like those guys are going to be there, so don't waste your time talking to them. Just little stuff like that.

MARK GLENN, Touchdown Illustrated – Size, speed, vision, strength. What do you think is your best attribute and what do you think you have to improve upon the mos, especially as you're looking ahead to the NFL.?

PETERSON – Best attribute I'd say is my vision, but the thing I need to work on most is my pad level, getting my pads down a little lower. Improving on picking up my blocks and other things like that.

GLENN – You haven't caught a lot of passes. Is that just a function of the offense or is that something you need to work on?

GLENN – You haven't caught a lot of passes. Is that just a function of the offense or is that something you need to work on?

PETERSON – No, I can catch the ball out of the backfield. A lot of guys kind of quiz me on it, why I'm not getting the ball. Well, I don't call the plays. But I think this year, you'll see a little more of it.

GLENN – I was talking to a player from Oklahoma State. He said ‘I've gotten a good hit on him a few times, but every time we hit him good, he says he just tripped'. Does anybody hit you good or do you just kind of trip?

PETERSON – I don't think I've gotten hit that made me go "whoa". Well, I guess I can say Derrick Johnson (of Texas) he hit me one time in my thigh, put a little deep bruise in my thigh, but that's the only hit I really can remember like that.

PETE FUITAK , College Football News - Are you having fun with all of this? I mean, this year you ARE the Reggie Bush, you are the Matt Leinart, you're the signature star along with Brady Quinn coming into this season. With the media crush and with guys like us asking all these goofy questions, do you like this, do you have fun in the spotlight like this?

PETERSON - Really, it's OK being in the spotlight a little. Me, the type of person I am, I'm really laid back and chill, so sometimes it gets kind of shaky, but it's something you've got to go through.

FUITAK – You're obviously going to say you'd rather have any team-oriented goal over an individual award but if you could be the Heisman Trophy winner or the first pick in the draft, which would be cooler for you?

PETERSON – Hmm, I'll say if those were the choices, I'll say the Heisman Trophy winner. That's something I've been dreaming about since I was a little kid so being able to get that it would mean a lot.

FUITAK – Has the coaching staff done anything particularly to work with you to make sure to keep you fresh for the bigger games? Have they said anything to you so that you don't get 35 touches in a blowout game or anything like that or are they just going to run you, run you and run you some more?

PETERSON – I don't know. I just know I gotta prepare for whatever, you know, whatever they decide to do. Run me 20 plays or whatever, I'm just going to be ready to do that.

FUITAK – You were kind of sheepish before when you said you would probably have stayed (had there been early entry into the NFL) . You probably would have been the first pick in the draft if you had been able to come out after your freshman year. Knowing what's out there for you, how do you possibly stay focused – especially with your power running style and everything you do- how can you stay focused knowing you've got all those millions out there waiting for you?

PETERSON – You sit there and you can see what you think you're going to get but it's not there in a year. Basically, just stay above it, just continue to do what you did to get you here in the first place. Not thinking ahead, just think about what's coming in front of you each day. Taking it day by day. I'm just continuing to do that, just taking it day by day and game by game and let things unfold.

KEVIN WARD, Sports Animal Tulsa – Adrian, I wanted to ask you about your role in this offense with a new offensive coordinator. If you could talk about the things that you like that are new and the things that you're not too cracked up about that are new.

PETERSON – I'm VERY excited about our new coordinator. There's not too much there that I can say I don't like. There's a lot of different things that we added to the offense and we're all learning it right now. Whatever he puts out there in front of us, we're going to try our best to get it done. Not really much to complain about.

WARD – You like the fact that sometimes you're pulled off the field in certain situations? You feel like the team would be better off with you on the field the entire time?

PETERSON - Me being the competitive person that I am, I'm not wanting off the field anyways. That's just me being the competitive person that I am. To sit there and say I don't want to stay in, I'd be lying to you. But coaches make decisions based on what they think is going to make the play work, so I'm all for that.

CAREY MURDOCK, KREF Radio – Just to follow up on that, is that what you would like to get out of this year, to be a back that can be in the game every down now that you've been there for three years?

PETERSON - Oh yeah, exactly. I could have done a little more of that last year. Just being an every down back, that's the back that I am.

MURDOCK – Let me ask you about off season, because I know your coaching staff has been critical of the workouts and things during the off season last year that led up into the season. Do you feel as a team you've got a better understanding of the work that it takes in the off season to be a good team during the season?

PETERSON – Exactly, exactly. That's one thing that's hit this group the most. They understand what it takes to be like that 2000 team in the fall. Like I say, a lot of guys have impressed me with their attitude. It will be real nice to see how the season comes.

MURDOCK – I've never gotten the impression that you're a ‘rah-rah' guy or that you speak up a lot. Have you changed in that regard over the years?

PETERSON - Yeah, you know you have to accept the role of that leader. Not that I want to be spoken of as a leader, but now that I look and I'm looking around, I look at the offensive line, look at the quarterback and the receivers, and I'm seeing young guys. Freshmen out there at receiver, couple of sophomores, offensive line all young guys. Me and Rhett coming in, even though we came here at the same time, I've played more. You realize when it came fall, it's time for you to be a leader that everybody already sees from, you've got to try and be more vocal.

ZACH WEST, The Oklahoman – With the new NCAA rules, you're no longer allowed to wear your kind of trademark visor. I was going to see if that bothers you at all.

PETERSON - Nah, it doesn't bother me at all. To be honest, I was really thinking about taking it off this year anyway or maybe getting a little smoke tent or something but no, it doesn't bother me man, it's football.

JAMES HALE, Sooners Illustrated – You're one of the leaders of the offense now. I think you're a good guy to find out how optimistic you are about the offense, talk about some of the guys on the offense and just how good of an offense Oklahoma can have this year.

PETERSON – Just start off with the offensive line. You've got big Duke, Brandon Walker has come in from junior college, Brandon Braxton, so we've got some big guys that are working hard. They're going to try to make the offensive line solid. You've got Rhett coming back at the quarterback position, lot of experience for himself from last yea, finishing off the season with the MVP in the Holiday Bowl. Got a young group of receivers that came out last year, really put up some good numbers. Allen Patrick back there helping us carry the load. I really feel like, if we play as a team, we'll be pretty good this year.

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