2006 gave us a final look at the greatness of Adrian Peterson as well as a peek into the future. Allen Patrick, Chris Brown and Jacob Gutierrez all flourished when thrust into action. Patrick was by far the surprise of the season after he put the team on his back and carried them to the Big 12 Championship.
Adrian Peterson was exceptional before suffering a broken collarbone. I'm convinced that if he remained healthy then he would have finished the season as a Heisman finalist. Waiting on his decision to enter the NFL draft was agonizing because any level-headed sane person knew he was gone.
Allen Patrick proved that he was capable of being the feature back at OU in Peterson's stead. His performance at Texas A&M was one that will be talked about for a long, long time.
Chris Brown was pulled from redshirt during the Colorado game and started for the first time against Baylor where he rushed 24 times for 169 yards. His most memorable run of the season came against Texas Tech when he dashed 40 yards for a late touchdown to put the Sooners in control.
Peterson may be gone but the stable is far from empty. I believe that the 2007 Sooner rushing attack will be a two headed monster. Allen Patrick will be the feature back but it's not a given that the second back will be Chris Brown. While Brown has the size, ability and experience to share the backfield with Patrick he'll have to fend off Mossis Madu and DeMarco Murray who sat through a redshirt this season.
Bob Stoops is a firm believer in earning your spot in the starting line-up. That should make the spring very interesting as the quarterbacks and running backs battle it out.