NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says he’ll decide later this week whether suspended tailback Adrian Peterson will start Saturday against UCLA.

“We’ll determine that as the week goes,” Stoops said Tuesday. “We’ll see. At this point, we anticipate him playing. Start or not depends on how we feel practice is going, what we feel we need to do. Depending on what further happens from here, we’ll see.”

Peterson, who rushed for 220 yards and three touchdowns in Oklahoma’s 31-15 win against Tulsa on Saturday, was suspended from practice on Monday and Tuesday after missing classes but was allowed to participate in team meetings and other activities. He is not being allowed to speak to reporters.

Peterson’s suspension was a result of an Oklahoma athletic department policy on class attendance. Stoops said he supported the policy and even helped suggest it to Gerald Gurney, the school’s associate athletic director for academic programs.

“In the end, they’re here to go to school, and it should be our job as administrators or as coaches that if they’re not, we can’t put you on the field,” Stoops said.

Oklahoma announced the suspension in a statement sent to a limited number of news organizations following the Sooners’ closed practice Monday night. Stoops said he didn’t have to announce it at all.

“I probably shouldn’t have said (Monday), but everyone finds out anyway,” Stoops said. “ ... In fairness to him, it probably doesn’t need to be me coming out and saying that. In the end, that’s the situation, and it’s better than all the rumors being around about it.”

Peterson’s suspension came nine days after the team’s starting quarterback, Rhett Bomar, was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor. Bomar is 20.

“We’re doing things discipline-wise, and everything else like we always have,” Stoops said. “That doesn’t mean it’s right or good, and it’s fair to criticize me because some teams accept it better than others and listen or are disciplined better than others. You can put it on both of us.”

Stoops said most teams have different disciplinary issues to deal with each year, and the actions by two key starters didn’t mean the school was softer in its dealings with violations.

“It’d be fair to say we’re tougher now because maybe in the past, have we taken a guy off the field for missing class?” Stoops said. “Maybe we’re more disciplined now. Maybe we’re tougher now.”

Senior tailback Kejuan Jones, who was Oklahoma’s starter before Peterson took over and has since become the backup, said he spoke with Peterson about missing class.

“That’s just one of those deals. That kind of happens to everybody,” Jones said. “He knows we’re going to need him. He’s going to play this week. I just told him to keep his head up and stay in the film room still.”

After the win against Tulsa, Peterson said he was trying to become one of the team’s leaders. He set an NCAA freshman record with 1,925 rushing yards and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting, but that team had numerous senior leaders.

“That’s a role I’ve got to pick up. Be a leader,” Peterson said Saturday. “Normally, I don’t say much. I just go out there and run the ball, but I know right now I’m going to have to start talking and getting the team pumped up.”

When asked whether Peterson had been becoming a leader, Stoops’ reaction was mixed.

“He has been in the way we work. I’m going to tell you there is not a guy who goes at it harder in the weight room in the summer and on the field. You watch him, the way he plays determined,” Stoops said.

“But there are other parts of what we do here as college students and on a college team that also need to be fulfilled.”


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt said he was glad to see offensive guard Zac Tubbs back on the practice field on Tuesday.

Tubbs had not practiced since suffering a high-ankle sprain in a preseason scrimmage. His availability for Saturday night’s game is still in question.

“He (Tubbs) got some snaps today and I was really proud,” Nutt said. “It was good to see him out there, and now I hope we can keep him out there.”

The Razorbacks worked out for 90 minutes in preparation for Saturday night’s showdown with top-ranked Southern California at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“The guys really came out with a good attitude and worked hard,” Nutt said. “Now we have to go back-to-back and have another good practice tomorrow.”

Arkansas will be facing a two-time national championship team as well as its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Matt Leinart.

“Offensively, (USC) has a lot of weapons when you talk about (Reggie) Bush and (Matt) Leinart,” Nutt said. “The USC receivers and tight ends are very tall and explosive. They move them all over the field, and really utilize them.”

On the defensive side of the football, USC lost six starters off its 2004 squad, but the Trojans still have some of the best talent in the country.

“On defense, they are equally as physical,” Nutt said. “They really chase the football and get pressure. Our guys have an awesome respect for USC and they know how good they are. But I also think our guys have a lot of pride ... otherwise I don’t think we would have as good a practice today.”


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