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OU coach Bob Stoops: Ankle problems can be ‘even more serious than knee injuries’

by Jason Kersey Published: November 5, 2012
Oklahoma senior Dominique Whaley has just one carry in the Sooners' last three games. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma senior Dominique Whaley has just one carry in the Sooners' last three games. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN
NORMAN — Last week, coach Bob Stoops told reporters that if starting running back Damien Williams couldn’t play on his injured ankle, senior Dominique Whaley would start against Iowa State.

Whaley, a former walk-on, suffered a season-ending ankle injury midway through last season after earning the starting job. He resumed starting duties at the beginning of this season, but Williams’ emergence led to his elevation on the depth chart.

Whaley, though, has barely seen the field at all since the Oct. 13 Texas game. In home contests against Kansas and Notre Dame, Whaley didn’t play at all.

Then Saturday, with Williams suited up but clearly hobbled, junior Brennan Clay started in the backfield instead of Whaley, who carried the ball just one time in Ames.

“Coach (Cale) Gundy just felt Brennan was more ready,” Stoops said Monday.

Gundy said of Whaley after the Sooners’ 35-20 win, “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.”

Stoops said Monday that Whaley is “back and doing the best he can. … He’s doing great.”

Senior tackle Lane Johnson, who hurt his ankle against Notre Dame, only played on special teams Saturday. Junior guard Bronson Irwin also has dealt with some ankle issues; he was helped off the field at one point Saturday, but returned and finished the game.

“(Ankle injuries are) hard,” Stoops said. “The ankles, with all the pieces and when they break. They are tough to overcome.

“Probably fair to say they’re even more serious than knee injuries, just because I think they’re harder to repair with all the small pieces and ligaments in there.”

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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