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Adrian Peterson Q & A
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Former Georgia Southern Eagle Adrian Peterson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday in New York. - photo by Special to the Herald
Georgia Southern's Adrian Peterson was one of 10 former collegiate players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday night in New York.
The former Eagle great was inducted along with household names like Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk and Brian Urlacher and for once he was the "only" Adrian Peterson in the spotlight.
Our Josh Aubrey had a chance to talk with Peterson about Tuesday's ceremony, his playing days at Georgia Southern and what he is currently working on.
Statesboro Herald - What was Tuesday night's ceremony like?
Adrian Peterson - It was a huge honor.  To be up there with those guys and have my career and numbers read out was really cool.
SH - It had to be validating in a way to be there with the likes of Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk, Brian Urlacher and Steve Spurrier.
AP - It was definitely cool.  I played 8 years with Urlacher in Chicago, so it was good to catch up with him.  Faulk was a little before my time in the NFL, but he was amazing, and I talked to Peyton too.
SH - You played against Peyton in the Super Bowl, did that come up?
AP - Well, I didn't want to bring the Super Bowl up.  That's still a tough one to look back on, but yes we talked.  He played with my brother Mike at Indy so we have met and talked before.
SH - You had a lot of local support up there as well.
AP - Yes, about 50 people came up.  Of course my family was there, and a few former players, as well as a lot of Georgia Southern fans and supporters.
SH - Was anyone there surprised at the stats you put up at Georgia Southern.
AP - Yes, but that happens all the time.  I have people come up to me and say the Googled me and are those numbers correct? The 48 straight games of 100 yards seems to impress them the most.
SH - And those career numbers didn't even include the playoffs which they count now.  If they did it would have pushed you over 9,000 yards and 111 touchdowns.
AP - Yeah I know, I just wish they would use at least one of my playoff games, or national championship games.  I don't expect them to use all of them but just pick one per year, like the UMass. game (333 yards, 5 TDs) or the Youngstown championship game (247 yards, 3 TDs).
SH - I'm going to throw out a couple of games you played in at Georgia Southern, and let me know what stands out to you about them.  Let's start out with Oregon State (Oregon State 47, Georgia Southern 41).
AP - We showed we could play with a good PAC 10 team that ended up going to a good bowl game.   We hung 41 points on them and had a chance to win in the final seconds of the game.
SH - The UMass game from 1999 (Georgia Southern 38, UMass 21) that you already mentioned a little about.
AP - Well, that one goes back to us losing in 98 to them in the championship game.  That helped fire us up to play and I really wanted to prove something.  That was probably my best game as I had 333 yards and five touchdowns.
SH - The 2000 Georgia Southern vs UGA (Georgia 29, Georgia Southern 7) game.
AP - We kept hearing “is this Adrian Peterson guy for real,” and how they were going to break my streak (48 straight 100 yard rushing games).  I was motivated and kept the streak alive against a top 10 team who plays in the SEC.  I didn't like the final score though.
SH - The 2000 National Championship against Montana (Georgia Southern 27, Montana 25).
AP - A cold wet tough game.  That one went down to the wire I ended up with 148 yards and two touchdowns.  They took the lead in the fourth and I knew we had to answer.  On the first play I had the 57 yard touchdown, and everyone called it "the run 2" or "son of the run."  There wasn't as much contact as the first run but it was a big play. 
SH - The 1999 National Championship with Youngstown State (Georgia Southern 59, Youngstown 24).  You were on crutches the day before and we didn't know if you'd play or not and you end up with 247 yards and three touchdowns.
AP - The injury I had was turf toe.  No matter what you do you are going to put pressure on your toe.  I knew I was going to play but I just didn't know how much.  I felt like I had enough adrenaline to keep me going a little while.  Once things started I wasn't about to come out.  We won it easily, what a feeling it was.
SH - In that game you produced "the run" which has to be the most exciting run in Georgia Southern history, and one of the best anyone's ever seen.  Did you know how special it was in the moment?
AP - In the midst of it, no.  It felt like it only took a few seconds, but after seeing it yes, it is an amazing run.
SH - When you watch it now are you more impressed by it, or frustrated you were tripped up by your own teammate and didn't score?
AP - I am very frustrated.  As a competitor you want to score on every play.  I did all those moves, and stiff arms, and then I fell on a trip, which still upsets me a bit.
SH - Right after "the run" you got stood up on a big hit at about the 5-yard line, but bounced off and scored.
AP - Yes, he got me pretty good, but like I tell the kids I'm working with now, a big hit is just a hit, if they don't wrap you up keep running.  That's the problem with a lot of kids playing defense, they just want a big hit, when what they need to do is wrap up.
SH - So you are now doing work with kids.  Working with them on techniques and getting stronger and faster.  How did that come about?
AP - I am working with former NFL players Jason McKie and Alex Brown.  We own a gym in Chicago and are working on sports performance.  This is not just for football as we work with soccer players, basketball players and track athletes. doing speed and agility, as well as strength and conditioning.
SH - What kind of things do you tell them when they ask how you were successful and made it to the NFL?
AP - I tell them not to just watch my highlights watch the whole game.  When I played, if we had 55 snaps I was out there for 55 snaps.  If we had 70, I was out there for all 70.  That was my best attribute, my conditioning.
SH - Did working with your own son Aaden help get this started?  I've seen him on the field and Coach Lunsford better hurry up and offer him a scholarship.
AP - He's a great kid and extremely motivated for an 8-year-old.  He works hard, we run hills, I work on his stiff arm, and when we run I lean on him to help him with his balance.  When we watch his game film we see how it helps and he continue to want to improve.
SH - Has he watched your highlights and games you played in?
AP - He's seen some, but I don't want to push it on him, I want him to ask to watch.  When they ask to see it you know they really want to know. Same goes for training — I don't push it. He asks, then I help.
SH - I know you are also continuing your motivational speaking.  How is that going?
AP - I'm actually delivering the commencement speech at Georgia Southern Friday, something Hope Aldred kind of surprised me with.  The speaking engagements are rewarding and they keep me busy.
SH - How much do you open up to the groups you speak to?  Do you talk about A.J. (Adrian's son who passed away at age 7 of brain cancer)? How do you decide?
AP - I usually tailor my speeches to the audience.  I let them know about my background.  I have two supportive parents who were strict but fair.  I have an older brother who gave me the blueprint for success.  The basis of my speech is overcoming obstacles, so I discuss my speech impediment and my football career.  At the end I field questions, and many times people will ask if overcoming my speech impediment was the toughest thing I've been through, and then I usually will open up about A.J.
SH - Finally, what do you think about the current state of Georgia Southern football?  Are you concerned?  
AP - I feel like we have hit a minor bump.  We always have athletes, I think they are still here.  I wasn't happy about how things have gone the past two years but I have confidence we will be back.
SH - How well do you know Chad Lunsford? AP - He's a great guy.  He came to my camps about three years in a row.  He knows the culture at Georgia Southern and turned some jobs down to stay here.  I think he will do a great job.