Mossman Prophecies No. 025
July 2, 2007
Adrian Peterson lived up to the hype. Billed as one
of the greatest running backs in the storied history
of Texas high school football, A.D., fulfilled the
wild expectations and also became one of the greatest
at a school that has perhaps rushed the football better
than any other, Oklahoma.
The memory of his many notable runs is still fresh
enough that making a list of his attributes is easy.
But someday, someone will ask, “What was it that
made Peterson so great?”
For me, that answer will be just as simple 20 years
from now as it is today.
Many will say “speed.” Almost as many will
say “power.” Some will point to his vision
and still others will reflect on the elusiveness of
his spin move.
All are good answers, but none are mine. To me, the
thing that set Adrian apart was his effort, and to
be more precise, his effort when meshed with all of
that natural ability.
I once heard a coach say that if your best player is
also your hardest worker, your team has a chance to
achieve greatness. Don’t think for a minute that
Oklahoma’s success during Peterson’s tenure
was somehow unrelated to the example he set.
Bob Stoops has often said that he’s “not
much into comparisons” so I’ll resist the
temptation to label Peterson with the “est” tag,
but I don’t think this program had any one who
played harder on game day or worked harder in the off-season
during the same time frame.
Fortunately, he had the physical resources to put forth
such effort. He was one of the few that could walk
away from a Jerry Schmidt workout still capable of
But Adrian never rested on that fact, even though it
would have been easy for him to do so. He understood
the value of hard work and had a drive that most of
us can only dream about.
Because he was a great worker in the summer, he was
a great player in the fall.
And what an irrepressible player he was.
We all remember him jogging to the locker room at Texas
A&M with a separated shoulder. After having the
joint adjusted by team physicians, he returned to spur
a game-winning drive.
We cannot forget the Holiday Bowl game when a freak,
but potentially dangerous accident bloodied him
on the sideline. During a moment of celebration, a
teammate caught him with a helmet square to the forehead
opening a gash that left him groggy and horizontal.
Moments later he was back on the field, carrying out
a physical, 14-yard run that, for my money, will go
down as the most memorable of his career simply because
of the circumstances.
Indeed, Adrian’s approach to the game and running
style were that of an unbroken stallion, which leads
to this for a closing.
When the greatest race horse of all-time, Secretariat,
died, veterinarians learned that his heart weighed
somewhere between 21 and 22 pounds. The normal thoroughbred
has a heart that weighs between eight and nine pounds.
My guess is that Adrian Peterson is similarly built.
Yes, the speed is blinding. Yes, the power is overwhelming.
Still, it is the heart behind those attributes that
I will remember most, and it was that heart, in my
humble opinion, that made him a Sooner legend at the
age of 21.
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.