OU notebook: Dominique Whaley's longtime teammate expects more of the same

BY TRAVIS HANEY AND BERRY TRAMEL, Staff Writers, thaney@opubco.com; btramel@opubco.com Modified: September 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm •  Published: September 15, 2011

Oklahoma's coaches and players claim they were not at all surprised by journeyman walk-on running back Dominique Whaley rushing for 131 yards and four touchdowns in his debut with the team.

Junior safety Javon Harris' claim is stronger than most, though, considering he shared a field with Whaley in high school.

“I always knew he had it in him,” Harris said earlier this week.

There's a perception out there that Harris started over Whaley at Lawton MacArthur. That's not really true. Yes, Harris was the tailback. But Whaley started, too, just at a different position in the option offense. He would line up in the slot and take handoffs in motion, in order to get the speedy runner to the edge.

Whaley has put on 20 pounds since he arrived at OU in 2010. Now he's a physical back who still has his speed. When Whaley got going against Tulsa, Harris would break away from his defensive teammates on the sideline. He had to see his old friend go to work.

“Every time he touched the ball, I think I was standing up somewhere, running down the sideline with him,” Harris said. “It's something that's exciting to see, someone you grew up with in high school.”

But is Whaley a one-hit wonder? A Tulsa phenomenon only?

“Oh, no,” Harris said. “I would say to expect it the rest of the year.”

STOOPS TAKES NOTICE OF JIMBO

Morale at Florida State was low not too long ago, with legend Bobby Bowden struggling in his latter years at the school.

Jimbo Fisher was brought on in 2007 as an offensive coordinator. Fisher received, too, the title of coach-in-waiting. It has not worked elsewhere, really, but it has at FSU.

The Seminoles appear back. In addition to the top-five ranking this week, Fisher helped engineer the nation's top recruiting class in February. And that was coming off a 10-win season that included an ACC division title and a Chick-fil-A Bowl win against South Carolina.

“They've had a big impact in a short time,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “I've known Jimbo for a decent number of years. We've never spent a ton of time together, but I've always respected his work, going all the way back to LSU with Nick (Saban), what he's done at Florida State and the job he did a year ago. He's done a great job.”

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