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Oklahoma football: Defensive tackle Casey Walker might not play Saturday

Coach Bob Stoops said Walker is dealing with a personal issue.
By Stephanie Kuzydym Published: August 29, 2012

Senior defensive tackle Casey Walker might not be available Saturday to play in El Paso.

Walker said he wanted to stay healthy through camp. But when coach Bob Stoops was asked if Walker made it through camp, Stoops said, “For the most part.”

Stoops wouldn't disclose any further information.

“It's a personal issue,” Stoops said. He doesn't know if the issue will be long term but he did confirm that Walker does not deal with a football-related injury.


Senior running back Dominique Whaley is returning to game action for the first time since a severe ankle injury cost him the last six games of the 2011 season.

Everyone — Whaley included — has said the starter looks like his old self in practice. Saturday's season opener at UTEP will be the first real test.

If, as expected, the Sooners take a big, early lead on the Miners, coaches could rest Whaley to stay on the safe side. OU co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said coaches feel like all of their backs are capable of making plays and blocking in pass protection.

Juniors Brennan Clay and Damien Williams, the junior-college transfer from Western Arizona, appear to be the top options to relieve Whaley. True freshman Alex Ross is another possibility.

“We really feel like all those guys are capable of being explosive with the ball and taking care of it,” Heupel said. “They are patient and do a good job of setting up the blocks. They've all been good in pass protection.

“The guy that has the hot hand will be the guy that continues to carry it.”

Heupel said pass protection will be especially important against UTEP. He said the Miners blitz frequently.

“Yeah, on third downs and some of their first- and second-down packages,” Heupel said. “On third down, you'll see it. Our guys have to do a good job of picking it up, communicating on the front and our backs have to be on the same page as well.”

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