Oklahoma senior running back Dominique Whaley saw his first game action in three weeks Saturday, when OU won 35-20 at Iowa State.
Whaley was only in for a few plays, though, and got just one touch — a 2-yard run in the second quarter. The former walk-on from Lawton became Oklahoma's starter last year before a season-ending ankle injury against Kansas State, and has never seemed able to reach his 2011 success through eight 2012 games.
“He's healthy,” running backs coach Cale Gundy said after Saturday's win, “but I don't know if it's ever completely 100 percent like the first go-round.
“He's just a little hesitant. Just is what it is.”
Whaley was a backup at NAIA Langston before eventually walking on at OU, bursting onto the scene as a junior and leading the Sooners with 627 yards before his injury.
Whaley started OU's 2012 season opener at UTEP, but quickly fell behind junior-college transfer Damien Williams on the depth chart.
Before Saturday, Whaley — who was featured in a 2011 Sports Illustrated edition — hadn't touched the game field since a six-carry, 51-yard outing against Texas on Oct. 13.
Williams was severely limited Saturday, still recovering from his own ankle injury suffered in last week's loss to Notre Dame, and junior Brennan Clay started in his place. Clay finished with 157 yards on 24 carries.
Coach Bob Stoops had said earlier in the week, though, that Whaley would start against Iowa State if Williams couldn't go.
JOHNSON ONLY ACTIVE ON SPECIAL TEAMS
Senior tackle Lane Johnson, who also hurt his ankle in the Notre Dame loss, was expected to fully participate Saturday against Iowa State.
But during warm-ups, Stoops said it was clear that he wouldn't be able to play at full strength.
“He did some things in practice; that's why he was suited out and tried,” Stoops said. “You could just tell in warm-ups he wasn't going to be effective.
“Same thing with Damien. We tried and you could tell it just wasn't quite what he needed it to be.”
Williams rushed for 7 yards on three carries, all in the first half.
Johnson did get in the game on special-teams units, but never played Saturday in his usual spot on the offensive line.
STOOPS TIES WILKINSON ON WINS' LIST
Saturday's win was the 145th of Stoops' career, tying him with Bud Wilkinson for second among OU football coaches.
Wilkinson, who coached the Sooners from 1947-63, famously led the program on a 47-game winning streak and to three national championships.
“I had no idea about that to be honest with you; I truly didn't,” Stoops said. “I've got the greatest respect for what Coach Wilkinson did. The stories I hear from his players … I'm very proud to be at a place that he sort of ... built.
“I don't want to quantify it because I'm still working. I'm just thinking about the next one when I'm walking in here. I'm fortunate to be at a great place, a great university with great leadership in my administration.”
Stoops will need 12 more wins to tie the all-time winningest Sooner football coach, Barry Switzer, who won 157 games from 1973 to 1988.
STOOPS DENIES POSTGAME FUED WITH RHOADS
Stoops and Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads each denied there being any altercation between them during their postgame handshake.