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.
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.”
TRUTH IS KEY TO RECRUITING, ACCORDING TO KENNY STILLS
Kenny Stills came to Oklahoma to play for those who came before him.
Like Ryan Broyles. Mainly, Ryan Broyles.
“I've always said I came here because Ryan was here,” Stills said. “I knew Ryan was a veteran guy that I could learn a lot from.”
That meant catch a lot of passes. And that's what he's done.
A lot of talk this week, though, has centered around how well running back Brennan Clay, another member of the “Cali Trio” — Stills, Clay and safety Tony Jefferson — performed. It's brought discussion of how the guys recruit new players — “Tell them the truth,” Stills said — and how they got recruited.
In fact, the truth is the reason Stills is a receiver in Norman.
“Ryan just told me he needed help,” Stills said about his recruitment visit a few years ago. “He told me straight up that he thought I could come in and help them.
“He wasn't going to lie to me about it. The receiving corps hadn't done too well the year before, but if I came in and dedicated my life to it, I'd be able to come in and help out. That's it.”
STOOPS SCOFFS AT QUESTION ABOUT HOME STRUGGLES
Oklahoma lost two home games in Bob Stoops' first 12 years as the Sooners' coach.
In the last year-and-a-half? Stoops has lost three games — a 2011 contest to Texas Tech and games this year to Kansas State on Sept. 22 and Notre Dame on Oct. 27.
The Wildcats are ranked second in the BCS standings, and Notre Dame is ranked fourth.
“We've been here for 14 years,” Stoops said when asked if it's important to re-establish supremacy at home.
“We've got a decent home record. You're not gonna win every one at home for 14 years.”
Prior to this season, Stoops was 14-0 in home games against ranked opponents.
“All the sudden now we can't win at home? OK, yeah. I don't buy any of that,” Stoops said. “That makes for a good story, but we've lost to two really good teams in two tight games here.”