Peterson's replacement a `crusher'

Friday, October 20th 2006, 11:22 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Substituting for the nation's No. 2 rusher and a former runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, Allen Patrick already has big enough shoes to fill. He might at least have Adrian Peterson beat in the nickname department.

``They used to call me the All Out Crusher,'' Patrick said this week as he geared up to take over the starting role in Oklahoma's backfield.

A former defensive back, Patrick earned his nickname by delivering punishment in high school in Conway, S.C., and then at Independence (Kan.) Community College. It's not nearly as well known as Peterson's ``A.D.'' moniker, which his father gave him because he could run ``all day,'' but it certainly has proven to be appropriate.

In the same game that Peterson was hurt, Patrick had a highlight-reel tackle on a kickoff return by Iowa State's DeAndre Jackson that resulted in a season-ending knee injury for Jackson.

``He'll throw his head in wherever he needs to throw it. You can see it on special teams, on kickoffs and punt team making tackles,'' said running back Jacob Gutierrez. ``That's a good quality. He's not afraid to throw his head in and go get it. And he's got great athletic ability too.''

Patrick will be making his first start Saturday when No. 20 Oklahoma (4-2, 1-1 Big 12) takes on Colorado (1-6, 1-2), and the Sooners are counting on him to provide the type of battering ram-style running that was Peterson's hallmark.

Patrick was an all-state selection after amassing 105 tackles as a senior in high school and then an all-conference selection after his freshman year of junior college. But then, he broke his leg in the first quarter of his sophomore season and had to sit out the entire year.

He said he knows exactly what Peterson, his former roommate, is going through.

``It hurts. You go out there and see your team working and you can't do nothing about it,'' Patrick said. ``You just sit to the side, looking, wishing you could be out there.''

Peterson is expected to miss the rest of the regular season, although he optimistically suggested he might be able to return after missing only four weeks. It's the second straight season Peterson missed time with an injury. Last year, Oklahoma went 3-1 while Peterson was nursing a sprained ankle.

``One player doesn't make a team. With that being said, we have been through a lot and overcame adversity,'' Peterson said. ``Guys are going to take over. ... I would say they've got a positive attitude about it. They're ready to move forward.''

Gutierrez, a 5-foot-6 junior who ran for 173 yards in an overtime win against Baylor last season, also figures to get some carries, and freshmen Mossis Madu and Chris Brown could also see playing time.

``Losing a player like Adrian, an amazing athlete, no one person's going to fill that spot and we're not expecting to,'' Gutierrez said. ``We have an offensive unit and know that everybody's got to pick up the slack and do some things that they hadn't been doing.''

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said he doesn't expect massive changes in Peterson's absence, but the Sooners will tailor their play-calling to the strengths of Patrick and Gutierrez. Patrick, a strong inside runner, figures to take the most snaps when Oklahoma uses the I-formation or one-back sets while Gutierrez excels in spread formations.

``You know what to expect when you go against Oklahoma,'' Colorado linebacker Jordan Dizon said. ``You can expect a headache. You expect a whole bunch of power, a whole lot of confidence.''

The Buffaloes snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 30-6 win against Texas Tech last week.