Nothing makes scouts happier and owners more eager to drop millions on a prospect than to hear they live and breathe the game. Peterson qualifies.
Peterson is 6-foot-1, 222 pounds, has developed into the type of player LSU had not seen in years, if ever. His LSU record 257-yard all-purpose performance against North Carolina in the opener caught the eyes of those who were not already aware of his talent. And just to be sure he had caught the attention of football America, three weeks later Peterson electrified the Tiger Stadium crowd with a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown against West Virginia that he finished off with a Heisman Trophy pose.
Photos of the pose appeared in sports pages across the country. "It's something that happened," said Peterson of his pose.
The Pompano Beach, Fla., native has seemingly been a star ever since he stepped onto the campus. A five-star prospect by every major recruiting service, Peterson did not wait long to make a name for himself. In fact, he did just that, changing his last name from Johnson to Peterson just before arriving at LSU.
"I was supposed to have my last name changed when my parents got married," said Peterson. "But my dad told me that when I got to college it would be an easy transition. So I got it changed right before I got here."
Peterson's impersonation of LSU third base coach Javi Sanchez on Chad Jones' 93-yard punt return for a touchdown that had Tigers fans talking.
"Leading Chad Jones to the end zone is my favorite moment since I've been here," said Peterson. "After Chad got into his (auto) accident (in June), I went to see him in the hospital and he asked me to do the windmill before I left."
Cramps have slowed Peterson in some games. "I pretty much have had cramps since I played little league football," said Peterson. "The doctors tell me that it is a bit of a hype deal. They tell me to stay calm and focus on breathing and to try to get my muscles the most oxygen I can."
Entering this season, Peterson was named to numerous preseason All-America teams and was considered the best defensive back in the country. The highest profile player on the team, he found himself on this year's LSU schedule poster. Combined with several other popular pictures that have circulated over the Internet, Peterson has become a photographer's best friend.
"My favorites picture is the one on the poster," said Peterson. "That picture shows the demeanor that exists in our football program."
Peterson's defensive stats haven't been high this season because he's been a lonely cornerback. Opponents haven't thrown his way. They make it a point to avoid No. 7.
Asked if he was an opposing coach, would he punt to him? "No I wouldn't." replied Peterson.
The much ballyhooed matchup between Peterson and Alabama receiver Juilo Jones last week didn't disappoint, even though Jones was able to come away with six catches and a touchdown, but managed to get only 51 receiving yards, and six of those came on a short pass in which fellow receiver Danus Hawks ran interference for Jones and Peterson had no chance to make a play.
"I'm always trying to improve my game," said Peterson. "I do things other corners aren't doing. I work on hand placement, hand speed and pad level to help me with my press coverage." He hits a boxer's speed bag in his apartment to improve his hand speed.
Peterson stays humble despite the attention. "The attention is all fine, but as a player I have to stay humble," said Peterson. "I have to keep God first because he is definitely the one that has put me into the position to be able to do the things that I'm doing."
SOME HITHER, OTHERS YON: New Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was on the Saints roster 1989-90 as a free agent quarterback. He didn't attempt a pass. His dad, Jim, was an assistant coach with the Saints 1976-77 and was head coach at Columbia in 1985...LSU is favored over Louisiana-Monroe by 32 1/2 points. The Tigers bring a 57-25-3 record in homecoming games. The Tigers have won nine straight homecoming games, including a 24-16 victory over Louisiana Tech last season. In 2008, the Tigers rallied for a 40-31 win over Troy. LSU's last loss in a homecoming game came in 2000 when UAB stunned the Tigers 13-10. The game on Saturday at 6 p.m. is available on LSU's pay-per-view cable channel called TigerVision for $34.50. To order, contact your local cable company.
THREE YEARS ago, the Dallas Cowboys tried to expand their web presence by acquiring the "Cowboys.com" domain. The only problem was the Cowboys thought they'd bought it for $275, but in reality the price was $275,000. Now, the day after one of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history, the Cowboys are missing out on the spike in traffic that would have occurred at "Dallas Cowboys.com," given the firing of coach Wade Phillips. As it turns out, someone allowed the registration of the domain name to expire. Though the Cowboys will have an opportunity to rectify the situation before someone else can squat on the site, the address currently points to the Network Solutions website. Bottom line? It appears like someone other than Wade Philips should be providing a "vivid example of accountability."...
by Ed Staton
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