Adrian Peterson does not act or play like a freshman.
Perhaps that is why he is being mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy winner with three games left in the regular season for No. 2 Oklahoma.
The Sooners’ star running back has impressed opposing coaches this season, running over and around defenders for 159 yards per game, second in the Big 12 Conference behind Texas senior Cedric Benson. Peterson leads the conference with 6.1 yards per carry.
Oklahoma moved to 8-0 after beating Oklahoma State 38-35 on Saturday thanks in large part to Peterson’s effort. His career-high 249 yards and a touchdown earned him Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.
Peterson’s success has been a surprise to many, mainly because he is playing his first college season, but Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he knew Peterson was capable of being a star.
“We understood how talented he was,” Stoops said during the Big 12 coaches’ conference call Monday. “We understood how hard he worked through the summer, so you believed he was going to have a great year. I don’t know if anyone anticipated he was going to do this well.”
Although Peterson’s season certainly warrants Heisman consideration, it is often difficult for a freshman to win the award.
Kansas coach Mark Mangino said experience should not be a factor.
“If a freshman performs well and does great things, I have no qualms with it at all,” Mangino said. “I think the best player in America should win the Heisman.”
Most of the coaches in the conference agreed with Mangino, but Texas Tech’s Mike Leach said in reality there are other determinants in who wins the Heisman.
The award is supposed to go to the best player in the nation, but Leach contended that it often goes to the best player on the No. 1 team or a senior who has played four solid seasons.
“They’re trying to anticipate who’s going to win the national championship and if they have a good player how you give it to him,” Leach said. “That’s always been a little bit entertaining in the whole process.”
RUUD AWAKENING: Nebraska linebacker and school all-time tackles leader Barrett Ruud won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. It was the second time in his four seasons that Ruud has won the award.
In the Cornhuskers’ 24-3 win against Missouri on Saturday, Ruud tallied 17 tackles, including four for a loss. The four tackles for a loss was a Nebraska single-game record for a linebacker and moves him into second all-time for any player at Nebraska with 46.
He has had 15 or more tackles in four of his past five games.
TACKLING THE VOTE: Although most of the coaches seemed more concerned about who will win their games Saturday than who will win today’s election, a few said they intend to encourage their players to vote.
Texas A&M’s Dennis Franchione said he talked with his team about registering to vote earlier this season as a part of a class called “Building Champions with Character” that deals with different aspects of college life.
“This being an election year we wanted to encourage our young men to vote and express their opinion,” Franchione said.
Leach said his team often discusses political issues, but he had not thought about bringing up the issue of voting until he was asked the question Monday.
“We talk politics all the time,” Leach said. “Our team’s got kind of an open exchange. We’ll probably talk about it today now that you mention it.”
BAD BREAK: Nebraska tight end Matt Herian will be on crutches for eight to 14 weeks after having surgery to repair a broken tibia and fibula in his left leg.
Herian, a junior, was injured in the second quarter of Saturday’s 24-3 win against Missouri. He had surgery Saturday night to insert a screw and rod in his leg.
Herian was the Huskers’ leading receiver, with 24 catches for 308 yards.
JAYHAWK GROUNDED: Starting Kansas quarterback Adam Barmann likely is out for the season after hurting his shoulder Saturday against Iowa State, coach Mark Mangino said Monday.
Barmann, a sophomore, was replaced by Brian Luke after being injured in the second quarter of the Jayhawks’ 13-7 loss in Ames. Junior college transfer Jason Swanson replaced Luke in the second half and is expected to start Saturday against Colorado.
Mangino said Barmann, who has thrown 12 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, might be able to play late in the season, but it’s not likely.
Associated Press reports contributed to this story.