The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 8, 2006

Peterson back in the huddle

There was something different when Oklahoma practiced Friday afternoon. As offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson put it: There was a “stranger” in the huddle.

But Adrian Peterson didn’t need any introductions. The junior running back practiced for the first time since breaking his collarbone Oct. 14 against Iowa State.

“Everybody was aware of that when we got into the huddle,” quarterback Paul Thompson said. “It was like, ‘Hey, haven’t seen you in a while.’ It was good to see him back out there.”

OU coach Bob Stoops said Peterson was “cleared” to play in last Saturday’s Big 12 Championship game. But he, Peterson and OU’s medical staff elected to be cautious.

But Stoops said Peterson is still expected to play when No. 8 OU faces No. 10 Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.

“He’s cleared to play. He practiced today and we’ll give him more as we go,” Stoops said. “I’m not going to detail what he did every day, but we’ll give him more as we lead up to the game.

“I fully expect him to play. He’s anxious to play and wants to. As we work through each practice, we’re going to give him more and more. He looks great and he’s excited to play.”

Peterson was not made available to the media following Friday’s practice.

If he does play in the Fiesta Bowl, Peterson will have a shot at breaking Billy Sims’ OU career rushing record of 4,118 yards. Peterson, who has rushed for 3,968 yards over the last three seasons, needs 151 yards to eclipse the mark.

Peterson rushed for 935 yards in the first six games this season. Despite missing the seven games since, that total still ranks second in the Big 12 Conference. He was selected by conference coaches to be on the All-Big 12 first team.

Most expect the bowl game to be Peterson’s final game in an OU uniform. He is eligible for the 2007 NFL draft. If he makes himself available, he’s projected to be a high first-round pick.

John Shinn366-3536jshinn@normantranscript.com

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