Saturday the Sooners gave the Oregon Ducks something to think about heading into this Saturday's game in Eugene. Oklahoma showed glimpses last week of a new formation with an empty backfield and Peterson lined up in the slot as a wide receiver. Even though Peterson didn't get the ball coaches in Eugene, and Austin as well, started popping Rolaids like candy.
"That gives us some flexibility, especially when he's catching the ball like he's catching it now and doing some things in space," co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin said. "He's a viable threat in the passing game releasing him out of the backfield. Why not get him out there where he's in space already, throw him the ball and see what happens?"
Peterson's 69 yard touchdown reception against UAB could be a preview of what's to come from OU's Heisman candidate.
So far, Oklahoma has shown the formation five times, including the first play of the Washington game and four subsequent third downs. Each time, quarterback Paul Thompson was able to complete a pass, including two for successful third-down conversions.
"It's making the defense think," receiver Malcolm Kelly said. "When you put him out there, it spreads the defense out even more. There's just a few little things that we're doing to mix up our offense a little. We have a little different stuff week in and week out, different game plans for different teams."
Imagine the match-up problems this will create with Oregon. The Ducks are already short handed in the secondary and now they have to worry about who is going to cover Peterson when he lines up in the slot. Even if he's out there as a decoy he's still a major distraction for the defense.
"I wouldn't just let him run out there and let us throw one to him and see what happens," Sumlin said. "Somebody's going to cover him. If they don't, we're going to throw it to him."
"He's a threat. We want him to be a threat in the run game, which he already is, and in the passing game too," Sumlin said. "I think over the course of the year, you're going to see that expand a little bit."
Through two games Peterson has three catches for 75 yards and is on pace to for 450 in the regular season. That's only 50 yards behind Stoops goal of 500 for Peterson but look for production to increase as we get further into the season.
"That's part of being a complete player," Peterson said. "Not that I couldn't do it my freshman or my sophomore year, they just never put me out there. They put me out there, and hopefully we can make big plays out of it."