Indeed, Whaley now weighs 204 pounds; before the start of last season, he was at about 197.
Being stronger and bigger — and having his ankle medically cleared — could mean Whaley again will take on a bulk of OU's rushes each game. Last year, he averaged nearly 19 carries per game (not including the Kansas State game, where he participated but had no carries).
His season high was a 30-carry, 170-yard outing in OU's win at Kansas.
There is competition for carries this year, of course, with Brennan Clay, Roy Finch, a few newcomers and even fullback Trey Millard all working to earn opportunities to run with the ball.
But Stoops said during the summer that, if his health is indeed restored, Whaley is a guy that could carry the load; the coach even invoked the name Adrian Peterson when discussing it.
“When you get a guy you feel is that strong and that capable of carrying it 20 and 30 times, and he gets hot, you give it to him,” Stoops said. “You have to have a strength and stamina to do that; it's not easy, people pounding on you.”
Strength and stamina is exactly what Whaley has worked to build, and that's why he'll continue to decline Gundy's invitations to relax.
“I think it's one of those things where the man above has touched him for having a drive,” Gundy said. “You can try to instill that into people, but some people just have it.
“And he has it.”