For junior running back Adrian Peterson, this weekend's match-up with Iowa State may be the biggest of his career.
Peterson has played in a number of big games already at OU, but he never played in front of his father, Nelson, who was recently released from federal prison and will watch his son on a college football game for the first time this Saturday.
Peterson sat down with OUInsider.com on Monday to talk about that and a number of other topics for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: What does this team learn coming out of the Texas loss?
AD: "We learned that we have to do the little things better. We have to protect the ball and not commit penalties. We have to keep our attitude positive."
JH: What do you feel you need to be better at to make sure you are better in the future on offense?
AD: "Turnovers and penalties are what beat us against Texas. You take those away and that game is a different ballgame. Those are the things that you have to be consistent on. After that first game when we turned the ball over, then for the next two games we had no fumbles. It is all about being consistent in your play and being consistent every week in taking care of the ball, and getting rid of the penalties."
JH: What is happening to the offense with all the procedures penalties?
AD: "Obviously, in a game like that it is hard to hear. Then with the Texas defense shifting and things it kind of got us a couple of times. We practiced against it all week, but it is different in a game. Like I was saying, it is all about being consistent each week with the little things. It is not like you are not going to go out there and jump offside every once in a while or something, because that is going to happen. We can't afford to do it as many times as we had procedures against Texas. We can't afford to keep doing that."
JH: What are your feelings know that this is the week that you dad will get a chance to watch you play college football in person for the first time?
AD: "It is not easy getting over the loss to Texas, but it is good that my dad is going to be there and I will be very excited that he is going to be there. I am going to be pumped up, but nothing can take away the pain of that loss."
JH: Have you talked to your father about it much?
AD: "He has talked to me about it. We had a long conversation about the game and different stuff. He said that we have a long season ahead and I look forward just going out and being a leader like he has taught me to be. He told me to be a team player and help the team any way that I can."
JH: You have always been a great team player and it is obvious that you care a great deal about the team, but you have a chance to do some great things individually at this point. Do you care about those things and what do you hope to accomplish the rest of the year?
AD: "I just need to go out there each week and prepare myself to play a game and help my team win. My goals still stand and it is just a matter of going out there and being prepared to play. If I do that, the team will win and the individual goals will take care of themselves."
JH: Your mom was one of the best sprinters in the history of Texas track and your dad was good enough to scholarship in basketball, so how much of an influence did your parents have your athletic career?
AD: "It was tough when I was little with my mom being an All-American in track and my dad an All-American in basketball. I don't want to say it was all pressure, but they knew what it took to go out there and be a success and to be great in sports. I always got a whole lot of advice from both of my parents on a lot of things when it came to sports. Heck, my uncle played a couple of years for the Arizona Cardinals at running back. I am just trying to pick up where they left off. There were a couple of things that got in the way of my parents that kept them from moving forward, now it is me completing our circle. I am just staying focused and making something athletically out of myself."
JH: Since your parents were such good athletes what was little league and Pop Warner Football like for you? Were they pretty demanding or did they stay away and not try to push you?
AD: "I got different instruction from both. My mom worked on my running form because she was great track runner. She was always telling me to keep my knees up and pump my arms. It was different stuff from my dad. He was on me real hard about the little things like cutting on my outside leg, to use my stiff-arm and to keep the ball in my outside arm. It was just little stuff like that."
JH: So that stiff-arm of yours has been developed since you were in little league right?
AD: "I kind of got away from it, but I like using it now."
JH: Did your mom get you started in track or was that just a natural progression since you were blessed with so much God-given speed?
AD: "In high school I ran track also and I did pretty well. I got a lot of pointers from my mom, especially on my start, because I was bigger and taller than most sprinters in high school. She taught me to keep my knees up, how to run relaxed and how to breathe when I ran. She helped me a lot."
JH: You were a great track athlete in high school so have you ever thought about running track during the outdoor season here at OU?
AD: "It has crossed my mind several times. But with football being so demanding, and then with class on top of that, it is hard finding time. I was thinking about getting out there this year, but it probably won't work out. We will just see how things turn out."
JH: Now that you are a collegiate athlete with a pro career right around the corner in ways, how do your parents encourage you today?
AD: "My mom and dad both tell me that success is like a light-switch and it can be cut on and cut off. They tell me to never stop doing what got me here. They tell me to always stay humble and always remember where I came from, and what it took to get me to the point I am at now. A lot of people might look at me and think that maybe he is doing this and he is doing that because he is going to the league this year or next year, and that is crazy stuff that just goes in one ear and out the other. My whole mindset is that I know where I came from, I know what it took for me to get here and I am going to continue to do that. That philosophy hasn't failed me yet. Even when I got hurt last year I just kept my mind focused and worked hard. I am going to carry that philosophy until I am gone."
Peterson pumped to see father in stands
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