NORMAN - Adrian Peterson knows his team’s 2007 non-conference schedule.


The relevance? Perception is Peterson won’t even be around for Oklahoma’s ’07 season, with riches and glory likely - barring injury - tugging on him mightily to make an early entry to the NFL.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Peterson said Wednesday, addressing the issue for the first time. “Anything can happen. Injuries or whatever - God’s will they don’t.

“I’m not worried about that. I’m focused on this season and making a run back to the Big 12 championship and hopefully a chance for the national championship.”

And beyond that?

“I could see myself being here,” Peterson said. “I ain’t even really been thinking about that. Plus, we’re playing Miami.

“I’m looking forward to playing Miami, too.”

And Peterson isn’t talking next January’s Orange Bowl game.

He’s talking Sept. 8, 2007, in Norman, when the Hurricanes roll into Norman.

“All the guys that have left early, they’re all telling me, ‘Stay as long as you can, stay as long as you can,’” Peterson said. “Because when you get to the next level, it’s all business.”

Of course, there’s much to play out between now and ’07.

But not even Sooners coach Bob Stoops is immune to speculation.

“I think it’s one of those things that’s to be assumed, depending on how it all goes,” Stoops said. “I think even he (Peterson) would say that’s the common belief, but you don’t know what will happen.

“I don’t think it’s ever a done deal until a guy gets into it and sees how it goes.”

Many a college star has stated his love for old Beloved U., only to reverse field with slick cutback moves into agents arms, paving their way into pro ball.

And the business side of the NFL - big paydays - isn’t all bad.

For now, Peterson makes it sound like he’s willing to let the NFL wait.

“I hope so. I hope so,” said OU running backs coach Cale Gundy. “He has goals of things he wants to accomplish in college. I think it’s been proven that you don’t have to go out as a junior, even though a guy might have been the first, second or third pick. You can always come back and possibly have that the following year. And continue to grow and mature.

“We’ll wait and see when that time comes. Right now, his goals are to win games and help this team be successful.”

And there’s Peterson’s success to consider.

As a freshman in 2004, he wowed the college football world on his way to finishing runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting - the best finish ever by a freshman.

There were other impressive firsts:

  • First OU freshman named All-America.

  • First freshman Doak Walker Award finalist.

  • First among Sooner rushers all-time in single-season rushing (1,925 yards).

  • First among NCAA freshmen all-time in rushing.

    Last season wasn’t so productive, due to lingering right ankle woes that Peterson said still caused him pain in the Holiday Bowl.

    “It was real bad,” he said.

    And Wednesday, Peterson revealed another injury that plagued his running, a severely strained achilles tendon.

    “If you ever had that injury, you ought to know that’s bad,” he said.

    Somehow, he managed to lead all Big 12 running backs with 1,108 yards, despite missing most or all of four games.

    Healthy again this spring, Peterson is running strong, appearing as fast, if not faster, than ever.

    “I’m back at full speed,” Peterson said. “I’m getting leaner. I’d say I’m a little quicker.”

    But not necessarily in a hurry to flee OU.

    “I’m not worried about that,” Peterson said. “I might be here five years.

    “I might be (Jason) White. You never know.”

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