Peterson draws criticism after opening win
Tuesday, September 5th 2006, 10:22 pm
By: News On 6
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson walked into Oklahoma's locker room and sat down with Adrian Peterson.
The talented tailback had just run for 139 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns to help the Sooners to a 24-17 win in their opener against UAB. Wilson had a message for the 2004 Heisman Trophy runner-up.
``I said, `Hey, that ain't close to what you need to play,''' Wilson said Tuesday. ``He goes, 'I know.'''
Peterson's second-half performance was enough to prevent Oklahoma from losing its second straight season opener at home. But it wasn't what Wilson, in his first game as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator, was looking for.
``I told him after the game, `If you're a man, you need to go in and tell those guys you didn't play your best.' He was dancing too much early, he's looking for big plays instead of sticking it, being decisive and making great cuts,'' Wilson said.
``When he stops moving his feet, he's just another guy like everyone else.''
Peterson gained only 18 yards on his first seven carries before a 37-yard pickup on a toss sweep around the left side. Oklahoma and UAB went into halftime tied at 7.
``(When) you don't get a lot of carries, sometimes as a player you want to try to make the play instead of just playing fast and playing decisive,'' Wilson said. ``He's a mature guy and he's a talented guy, and hopefully this week he'll improve and not feel like he has to make big plays, but just play fast and play physical, because he will make plays if he does that.''
Wilson said Peterson also was responsible for the only sack the Sooners allowed and Peterson also failed to pick up a blitzer who hit quarterback Paul Thompson and caused a throw to fall short for an interception.
``If I would've gotten that block, he would have been able to follow through with it and put it in front of (Juaquin Iglesias) and it would have been an easy touchdown,'' Peterson said after practice Monday. ``Just watching the film, I'm looking at things I need to improve on more and focus on more.''
Peterson said he thought there were a lot of ``little things'' he needed to work on while the 15th-ranked Sooners prepare to play Washington on Saturday. Oklahoma fell five spots _ farther than any team that won its opening game _ in the AP poll that was released Tuesday.
``I'm not being critical of him,'' Wilson said. ``He played a good game, but it wasn't his best.''
Wilson said he believes Peterson, who set an NCAA freshman record with 1,925 yards rushing in 2004, is receptive to feedback and ``appreciates being pushed.''
``He's never going to be perfect. No one is,'' Wilson said. ``But you're striving to push him to get there. I think he understands because I think he takes a lot of pride in his performance.
``If I can't criticize him or coach him or correct him, I can't coach anyone on our team, and he knows that,'' Wilson added.
At Miami of Ohio, Wilson coached Travis Prentice, who holds NCAA records with 862 straight carries without a fumble and 73 career touchdown runs.
``This guy ain't close to either one of those two things, as talented as he is right now,'' Wilson said. ``That's the challenge, is to get him to be a great player. He's a great talent. He's close. But it's getting him to be more consistent and that's what we're striving for him to do.
``When he's told all the time how good he is and you start thinking those things, you take things for granted and you try to make great plays or you don't play with the discipline and structure you need. That's his challenge as he goes to find out if he will really be a great, great player.''