RB Adrian Peterson

2004 Statistics

Coach: Bob Stoops
67-12, 6 years
2004 Record: 12-1
Texas WON 12-0
at Kansas State WON 31-21
at Oklahoma State WON 38-35
at Texas A&M WON 42-35
at Baylor WON 35-0
vs. Colorado WON 42-3
vs. Southern California LOST 19-55

2004 Final Rankings
AP-3, Coaches-3, BCS-2

2005 Outlook

With the loss of 12 starters, there's no question this will be coach Bob Stoops' biggest rebuilding/reloading effort. Listen to the coach and he offers up an Alfred E. Neumann, "What, me worry?" kind of image despite losing a Heisman Trophy winner and four all-Americans. "I'm excited about (2005)," Stoops said. "We've got some great young players. I keep saying it, but our team that won the national championship in 2000 was probably our youngest and least experienced. We can still have great chemistry and a strong team even though we're somewhat young. Project what you will… [But] this has been built the correct way, and we've got a great nucleus and great number of young players. We've got consistency in our staff."

The running game will classically set up the pass, and this part of the Sooner machine will work early and often. Whichever QB emerges will (ala Palmer and Leinart) make a quick transition so that fans won't have time to linger on the Heisman winner's legacy. But the defense will assuredly allow more points, so the usual control the Sooners display over a game (clock differential of +6:22 per contest) won't be easily reestablished.

Still, we all know it comes down to OU vs. Texas in the Cotton Bowl (10/8/05). Texas (yawn, like every year) is really looking to get revenge, and this squad they now have has destiny written all over them. These points we stress that need development will be exploited if not shorn up, ahem…the secondary. The Sooners' schedule is otherwise favorable, with very win-able road games. We feel A&M may pose the other biggest threat, for they come into Norman (11/12/05) full bore and warmed up in mid-November. Similar to the Texas breakdown, Reggie McNeal will show just which bowl game OU goes to.

A top five finish is again within reach, but expect a few heartbreakers as each foe puts a "revenge bulls-eye" on the Sooners' jerseys, proving too much in hindsight for such a young bunch to shine through. Two losses seems like the end of the world in Norman (they would be the highest ranked two-loss team if true), but signs of what is to come - a new dual-threat QB project and the ever-tougher Adrian Peterson Show - will appease such offseason pains. "Sooner than later" is in their blood, so we'll just see how patient the fans and coaches are before anyone panics. Just build the secondary and offensive line, and the wins will come…

Projected 2005 record: 10-1
QB - 4 DL - 4
RB - 5 LB - 4
WR - 3.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Tommy Grady, 14-12-0, 63 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Adrian Peterson, 339 att., 1925 yds., 15 TD

Receiving: Travis Wilson, 50 rec., 660 yds., 11 TD

Scoring: Adrian Peterson, 15 TD, 90 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Trey DiCarlo, 8-16 FG, 45-48 PAT, 69 pts.

Tackles: Rufus Alexander, 74 tot., 49 solo

Sacks: Larry Birdine, 7 sacks

Interceptions: Lawrence Dampeer, 1 for 31 yds.; Rufus Alexander, 1 for 5 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Travis Wilson, 9 ret., 15.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Jejuan Rankins, 9 ret., 6.3 avg., 0 TD


LB Rufus Alexander
OFFENSE: Jason White-QB, Brandon Jones-WR, Mark Bradley-WR, Will Peoples-WR, Mark Clayton-WR, James Moses-TE, Wes Sims-OT, Vince Carter-C, Jammal Brown-OT, Trey DiCarlo-K (left team)
DEFENSE: Jonathan Jackson-DE, Lynn McGruder-DT, Dan Cody-DE, Lance Mitchell-MLB, Gayron Allen-WLB, Antonio Perkins-CB/PR, Donte Nicholson-SS, Brandon Shelby-NB, Blake Ferguson-P, Brodney Pool-FS (NFL)

Competing for the position are Paul Thompson, Tommy Grady and Rhett Bomar. Thompson, who was redshirted in 2004 for the express idea of having two full years of eligibility remaining, is a dual threat and comfortable in both facets. Grady is a redshirt freshman who might have the best arm, but no feet. Bomar, top QB recruit from two years ago, also redshirted and might be the best of the three. "It should be wide open," OU offensive coordinator Chuck Long said. "I'm going to throw the ball out, give them an equal number of reps and let them have at it. It may not finish after the spring competition. We may carry it into fall ball. So who knows? No one has an edge." No one may have an edge, but if you had to hedge a guess now, it is Thompson. Make no mistake...Thompson is the real deal. His 2004 spring performance turned out to be one the best in Sooner spring history. Some talk even existed he had the potential to unseat the defending Heisman trophy winner Jason White. Instead, he took the redshirt and preserved another year of eligibility…a smart move in the long run. That race can begin now.

OU must replace its all-time leading receiver in Mark Clayton. In fact, three of the top four receivers from 2004 will depart, leaving Travis Wilson to anchor a new group. Wilson was steady, but now has to make an unknown QB look good. Rivals.com lists a handful of four-star recruits over the last two classes, so the undeveloped talent is just waiting. Newbie Malcolm Kelly has a 6'4" leaping base and a superior ability to run deep routes, while similarly-sized Eric Huggins has a penchant for hitting DBs harder than they hit him - in other words, he is fearless over the middle for YAC galore. All of the untested talent has size and toughness, which fits well into the Sooner's integral schemes. Once the field is stretched, there will be plenty of room underneath for each to get his due. A mild setback becomes a strength by mid-season, at the latest.

Running Back
The most heralded freshman since Herschel Walker, Adrian Peterson is back for his sophomore year after rushing for 1,925 yards and 15 touchdowns. His "backup", the also physical Kejuan Jones, has a better set of hands, giving a job to this guy who looked to be the next great RB before Peterson redefined the position/expectations in Norman. Making holes for both is FB J.D. Runnels, who is also a pass-catching option when two backs are in (about 30% of the time). There is depth at FB with incoming Matt Clapp. Now, before everybody gets all foaming-at-the-mouth excited, remember that Peterson will not have the same players surrounding him that he did last year, either on the line or (White) at the skill positions. A good portion of the offense fell to him last year; a huge BURDEN will be on his shoulders this year, and that's two different things to carry, so to speak. Defenses will again key on him, meaning he cannot afford to lean on just his raw ability anymore. Peterson (first-team NC.net all-American) has to be the consistent back that is needed, not one who gets one, three or four yards per clip and then (usually) break a few. USC didn't give up a big one to him, and his average Orange Bowl numbers show what happens when he is contained this way (ESPN's Albert and Mays may never believe this can possibly affect the team's outcomes, but it does). Talent alone will allow him to rush for 1,500, but he has to be the complete back we have yet to see him be for OU to have a chance to get back into the BCS. Bottom line: Peterson also has to catch more passes - five receptions in '04 means teams know what will happen when he is in. Knowing he won't catch a pass makes defenses have that much more focus on stopping his assured 25+ carries per game, which is why - though it may not seem so from the media smoke screen labeling him as the next "sliced bread" - he has been contained this much so far. But without White to take the pressure off him, we will see if Adrian's hips live up to last year's over-slaught of hype. He may be the country's toughest back to bring down (often a man amongst boys), but that fact alone doesn't win games.

Tight End
Simply put, this is rarely, if ever, a ball-handling position. That might change this year with the loss of the wideouts and the holes on the offensive line, but don't expect too much. Between them, James Moses, Joe Jon Finley and Willie Roberts caught a combined 25 balls in 13 games last season. All three are back, and they're mostly blocking tight ends. But watch out for Roberts. If Bob Stoops and Chuck Long really want to get creative, they can utilize his 6-foot-7 frame as a quick hitter over the middle.

Offensive Line
There's a rebuilding project here. Outland Trophy winning tackle Jammal Brown? Gone. All-America center Vince Carter? Gone. Davin Joseph (NC.net third-team all-American) will now anchor this unit by moving from guard to tackle. Kelvin Chaisson and Chris Bush will occupy the guard slots well, so the rest is up to the vaunted recruiting classes from last year and the year before. "We've got some work to do," offensive line coach Kevin Wilson said. "We're gonna miss some experience because we're replacing guys who played so much, they just saw things. They knew things. I don't know if the talent level will drop off as much as the experience level." That says it all, for the overall performance may marginally suffer, but even then, it will be adequate and will get better, regardless. This unit is strong, but the Red River Shootout will tell all as a seriously stacked Longhorn line/squad will measure OU's entire season right here. A mobile QB means his feet gets this unproven crew out of a few mistakes, but Peterson's numbers will be how this squad is best judged and measured.

Any offense that starts with Adrian Peterson at TB and features Kejuan Jones as his backup is pretty good. But, again, the question is how much of an eight-man front will Oklahoma see early on and how will the Sooners respond? Expect to see Bob Stoops and Chuck Long throw some wrinkles into the offense. Bomar and Grady are runners, and that's one option to utilize that they didn't have last year. There is too much talent at QB to think White isn't replaceable, and the receivers will earn their keep quickly. It all starts and ends up front, for the level of line play will be tell-tale by mid-season, and you will know quickly if this team is for real or not. Look for adjustments from last year's approach to compensate for perceived weaknesses. An increased role for TEs will help the line adjust, as will increasing the FB's role/playing-time and play-action with AD.


OL Davin Joseph


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Paul Thompson-Jr (6-4, 208) Rhett Bomar-Fr (6-4, 208)
Tommy Grady-Fr (6-6, 219)
FB J.D. Runnels-Sr (6-1, 246) Russell Dennison-Sr (6-3, 236)
RB Adrian Peterson-So (6-2, 210) Kejuan Jones-Sr (5-9, 200)
WR Jejuan Rankins-Sr (5-11, 180) Lendy Holmes-Fr (6-2, 180)
WR Travis Wilson-Sr (6-3, 216) Triston Ross-So (6-1, 205)
WR Quentin Chaney-Fr (6-6, 205) Fred Strong-Fr (6-3, 188)
TE Bubba Moses-Sr (6-3, 242) Joe Jon Finley-So (6-6, 234)
OT Davin Joseph-Sr (6-4, 312) Branndon Braxton-Fr (6-6, 300)
OG Kelvin Chaisson-Sr (6-5, 303) Cameron Schacht-Fr (6-5, 288)
C Chris Bush-Sr (6-4, 284) Chris Chester-Sr (6-4, 278)
OG J.D. Quinn-Fr (6-2, 286) Bret Rayl-Sr (6-7, 304)
OT Akim Millington-So (6-6, 300) Chris Messner-Jr (6-7, 278)
K Garrett Hartley-So (5-9, 175) ..



Defensive Line
Nothing ever centers around one player. But if it did, it's DT Dusty Dvoracek, whose double-team demands free up a dependable pass-rushing defensive end. Although he plays at tackle, he's enough of a presence to impact the entire approach opponents choose here. Yeah, he's that good, as is 2005's best DT-recruit in the country (Rivals.com) DeMarcus Granger. Now the question is, can Dvoracek keep his personal problems in check (violent, alcohol-fueled altercations)? Larry Birdine, who made more headlines for his shots at USC quarterback Matt Leinart before last year's national title game than for his play on the field, is nonetheless a solid end. The last three incoming classes have yielded nine four-star linemen, so the power and speed exist for success here. Once honed, this group will be as good as any OU has recently seen.

While the Sooners have solid returners in Clint Ingram and Rufus Alexander, although a replacement in the middle must be found. Ingram is sharp in run-plugging, while Alexander drops back better into coverages. Right now, that looks like Zach Latimer. Incoming blue-chipper Ryan Reynolds will have to develop, but his potential on the outside is huge. The strong reserve stable that OU garners just has to get some reps for improvement levels to soar, so what is a marginal strength becomes a huge one by mid-season. OU's linebackers aren't yet great, but they're highly serviceable/upgradeable and should thrive behind this line. What was a question mark last year shows its worth in '05.

Defensive Back
Notice how we haven't mentioned OU's 55-19 collapse that much until now? Well, when you allow under 100 rushing yards on average (sixth ranked), it is your secondary that takes the heat (Leinart shredded this unit). Clearly, this is the biggest concern on the team. Both safeties are gone, as is CB Antonio Perkins. The depth is just not there. Two players, Eric Bassey and Tony Cade, missed games because of disciplinary reasons. Two more simply did not get the experience they needed. In 2004, for the first time in four years, OU slipped out of the top 10 in total defense, falling to 13th. That was mostly due to a secondary that was 48th in pass defense. Nine four-star DB products have in-fluxed in the past three classes, and they all have size and huge upsides. But, until exposed to the reality of game-speed play, this area shows its underbelly. Expect teams to just come out throwing until OU gets this situation under control.

Coaches like to say it all starts up front, and for this team it really does. Many will think that because the Sooners can stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback - just like they've always done - that this defense is going to be fine. But the ability for the secondary to hold its own, enough so that the bend-don't-break-approach works, isn't there. Nickel and dime packages will not be as tight as usual, meaning the LBs will have to compensate and therefore affecting the security of "the box". When Texas Tech, A&M, UCLA, and the Longhorns are up, a complete defensive effort will be needed, and it looks marginal that the two early ones (UCLA, Texas) will exploit this lack of cohesion. When this unit again looks tight by year's end, it will be a case of coulda-woulda-shoulda in looking back at the mid-season tests.


DE Larry Birdine


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Larry Birdine-Jr (6-4, 254) C.J. Ah You-Jr (6-4, 262)
John Williams-So (6-5, 242)
DT Carl Pendleton-So (6-6, 277) Steven Coleman-So (6-5, 286)
DT Dusty Dvoracek-Sr (6-3, 300) Remi Ayodele-Sr (6-3, 301)
DE Calvin Thibodeaux-Sr (6-1, 249) Alonzo Dotson-So (6-4, 241)
SLB Clint Ingram-Sr (6-2, 241) Demarrio Pleasant-So (6-3, 222)
MLB Zach Latimer-Jr (6-3, 231) ..
WLB Rufus Alexander-Jr (6-1, 210) ..
CB Marcus Walker-So (5-11, 180) D.J. Wolfe-So (5-11, 192)
Jowahn Poteat-Sr (6-1, 197)
CB Eric Bassey-Sr (6-1, 199) Chijioke Onyenegecha-Sr (6-2, 205)
SS Lewis Baker-So (6-3, 210) Jason Carter-Jr (6-0, 195)
FS Darrien Williams-So (6-0, 200) Tony Cade-So (6-3, 205)
P Cody Freeby-So (6-3, 217) ..




Once a finalist for the 2003 Lou Groza Award, Trey DiCarlo has decided to give up football after a disappointing 2004 season. His inconsistencies lead to Garret Hartley coming out of his redshirt at Baylor in late season. Hartley kicked the only Sooner FG in the Orange Bowl Championship Game. Obviously, it's now his job to lose.

Sophomore Cody Freeby looks strong to keep the boots long and high (4.2 hangtime average in prep). The No.2 punter nationally coming in (Insiders.com), this former-DB will be an extra hat blockers have to account for, making the net again strong (ranked sixth in I-A). The defensive jockeying for (starting) position(s) makes this ranking, and those for KO coverage, stay high.

Return Game
JeJuan Rankins is back, though he handled kickoffs mostly in '04. Look for CB Chijioke Onyenegecha to step up here, but Rankins will still be in the PR mix, too. There is so much untapped speed that Memorial Stadium will assuredly get a no-name to emerge for a new legacy to replace Perkins'.



The Sooners have not been able to see a starter emerge in this spring three-man race…all struggled in the spring game. Much of this had to do with the offense using a limited playbook so others could not scout the scrimmage. The coaching staff will review the competition before naming a starter. Thompson, for the time being, is the likely candidate given his experience level. Thompson started the spring slow but did just enough to hold off the up and coming Rhett Bomar. Bomar has great feet and accuracy, with the mentality of a LB. He did the best this spring in terms of leading the team to scores while maintaining an incredible deep threat. Grady seems to be developing a nice pocket presence but has the worst mobility of the bunch. Most were thinking Thompson would be the sure starter. Instead everyone is wondering just how long it will be before Bomar takes over. Thompson has not been as accurate as Bomar.

Spring Game Stats
Paul Thompson (13 for 24, 131 yds., 1 TD, 2 int.)
Rhett Bomar (9 for 19, 71 yds., 2 int.)
Tommy Grady (5 for 15, 33 yds.)

Adrian Peterson missed the entire spring after having successful surgery on the left shoulder he dislocated in fall practice. The surgery is very common and Peterson should be 100% sometime this summer. He is cleared for conditioning and weightlifting. Also doing more watching than playing was the already experienced Kejuan Jones, who was basically held back by coaches to avoid unnecessary injury.

The only question was who backs up Runnels. Russell Dennison is locking down the spot after being a top special teams performer in the past.

Tristen Ross is back after improving his grades and managed to put a spring season in his resume. Quentin Chaney has been working as the starting split receiver this spring working exclusively with the first team as the No. 3 man. Lendy Holmes saw plenty of action as Rankins' backup.

Joe Jon Finley is ready to see an increased role, and he is the heaviest he has ever been at 242 pounds, which makes him a better blocker. Senior Willie Roberts caught more passes this spring than he has in his entire career, so expect more yardage directly from him.

Akim Millington made great progress replacing NFL draftee Jammal Brown at OT. Millington is young, but coaches say he could be one of the nation's best. The middle of the group is still undetermined. J.D. Quinn had problems snapping the ball when the QB was in shotgun, which forced Chris Bush into the mix at center. Chris Chester played well this spring but his overall strength is a concern. Too many youngsters saw action to mention, but Chris Messner stands out as the firm No. 3 OT. Coach Wilson would like eight guys ready to play/start up front, he has about seven now.

Dusty Dvoracek had surgery to repair a torn left bicep just before the spring game. He is expected to make a full recovery to subsequently be ready by August. Dvoracek was unblockable all spring and is sure to garnish all-American status again if it continues. Remi Ayodele may be the most physically gifted player on the DL outside of Dvoracek. RS freshman Cory Bennett made great strides in the transition to tackle from his high school position of DE. He is undersized by his quickness made him a part of this rotation. The biggest improvement came from Steven Coleman who is now injury free. Some feel Carl Pendleton is no longer part of the starting rotation, but he continues to improve and remains one of the most active guys up front. He is still bothered by the same nagging injuries of 2004.

C.J. Ah You is a pass rushing specialist from junior college, but he still needs work on his run game responsibilities. Larry Birdine has become the emotional leader for the defense, but minor injuries kept him limited this spring. Alonzo Dotson made the best strides and has made a case for sharing starting duties with Calving Thibodeaux, who plays opposite Birdine. Thibodeaux is back from major knee surgery last season and had (all be them) brief, but still impressive results. John Williams looks like the next star judging spring play, but again he seemed to be overshadowed by Dotson for the first time. What a good 'team' problem to have.

Clint Ingram had the best spring of any Sooner. He is one of the best athletes and he is showing a better understanding of the system. His surprising development in the pass coverage department should keep the need for a (substituting) nickel back to a minimum. Rufus Alexander was the leading tackler this spring. Some witnesses claim he is starting to master the WLB spot as well or better than Butkus winners Teddy Lehman and Rocky Calmus, yikes! Zach Latimer has shown enough that he can start in the middle and has proved himself worthy in the passing game as well. Demarrio Pleasant played well enough this spring to earn his way into the starting rotation. He looks to be the future for Oklahoma as promised.

D.J. Wolfe has moved from RB to CB and the change appears to be working. By the second week of spring, Wolfe was working with the first team opposite senior Eric Bassey. Although the transition went well, he has a ways to go before he becomes an every-down player. Chijioke Onyenegecha is the best package of size and speed, and he spent the spring game making plays and roaming the entire field. But coaches are still waiting for him to become a proven star as his hype suggested. Bassey had the best spring of any CB. After taking much heat in the past, Bassey was the only player at corner who took the field every time with the first unit. Much of the above news had to do with Marcus Walker as he sat out the entire spring recovering from off-season shoulder surgery just like Adrian Peterson. He will likely have a starting job waiting in the fall and is the team's only true cover corner. Coaches were hoping Jowahn Poteat could elevate his status, but he continues to play a backup role.

Lewis Baker moved here from LB and ran most of the spring with the first group as a strong safety. He is still not quite ready to be the main man. Tony Cade has been disappointing up to this point. In fact, Darien Williams easily overtook Cade this spring at free safety. Williams' light came on this spring, and he could be that missing link in the secondary that turns this group around. Jason Carter is still being used as a backup at best despite his knowledge of the system.

Oklahoma hired former Sooners linebacker Chris Wilson as the team's new defensive ends coach, filling a position originally vacated when defensive coordinator Bo Pelini left for LSU.