Trotter's Mailbag: Should Whaley start?

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
12:14
AM ET
Jake Trotter will answer readers' questions about Oklahoma football in his mailbag every Friday. Got a question for Jake? Submit it here.

Mike in Heppner, Ore., asks: At this point it's pretty obvious that Dominique Whaley is the best back and should be starting over Clay. His numbers are better, he's more dangerous as a pass receiver, runs downhill better, breaks the first hit better, and passes the "eye test". I understand it's basically a time-share in the backfield, but why isn't Whaley starting? More importantly, why isn't he getting 60-70 percent of the carries over this 50-50 stuff?

[+] EnlargeOklahoma vs. Florida State
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesOklahoma walk-on Dominique Whaley has proven to be the Sooners' best running back in 2011.
Jake Trotter: Mike, I think the Sooners wanted to ease Whaley in and see how he responds before making him the primary back. By Texas, I think Whaley will be starting and getting at least 70 percent of the carries. I agree, Whaley is OU’s best back and warranting a heavier workload. It shouldn’t be long before he gets it.

Matt in Oklahoma City asks: Assuming West Virginia, Cincinnati, Boise State, BYU, Air Force, Louisville, and TCU were all viable options to add to the Big 12, which do you feel would be the best additions and how would the divisions break out?

Jake Trotter: Assuming the goal was to go back to 12 teams, I’d add TCU, Louisville and West Virginia and expand the footprint east. Louisville is a great college town, West Virginia has a rabid fan base and TCU is a natural fit. TCU would take A&M’s place in the South, and Louisville and West Virginia would join Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri in the North. Assuming Missouri doesn’t bolt to the SEC, too.

Jeff in Ankeny, Iowa, asks: Is the realignment question mark going to have an impact on recruiting or does the tradition, coaching staff, etc. outweigh OU’s conference?

Jake Trotter: OU’s winning tradition outweighs the conference issue. Big-time recruits care most about winning and getting to the NFL. The Sooners have a track record of delivering both. That said, Texas A&M will have a compelling recruiting pitch to Texas kids: the chance to go play in the SEC, the preeminent conference in college football. That will probably win the Aggies a few recruiting battles.

Dan in Norwich, Conn., asks: Why does the OU offense continue to throw end zone corner fades to the 5-10 Ryan Broyles instead of the 6-4 Dejuan Miller? I know Broyles is a spectacular receiver, but it seems that he runs out of room on those routes, usually attempting catches at the edge of the end zone. It would appear to me that using a jump-ball throw to Miller would be easier. I assume the OU coaches know this, but I just thought I'd get your insider's take on this.

Jake Trotter: Jump ball, quick out, inside screen, flinging the ball Broyles’ direction is never a bad idea, goal line or not. After struggling at the goal line at Florida State and early against Missouri, the Sooners began throwing the ball over and over to Broyles. The result was three touchdowns. Could Miller become a red-zone threat? With his size and strength, absolutely. But I have no problem with OU throwing the ball up to Broyles, who plays much bigger than his 5-10 frame.

Dave in Honolulu asks: Hey Jake, after watching OU's offense struggle against the better teams on the schedule in recent years, do you think it’s a strength to promote from within? I personally wish Bob had a Dana Holgorsen or Gus Malzahn by his side.

Jake Trotter: Aloha, Dave. I believe it to be a major strength. Holgorsen and Malzahn are excellent offensive minds. But continuity among the coaching staff is a big reason why the Sooners have been so consistent under Stoops. There’s been no overhaul of the offense. The schemes, the terminology, the calls have pretty much been the same, meaning the players haven’t had to worry about learning a new system. Other people seem to think Stoops’ promoting-from-within philosophy works, too. Every one of his offensive coordinators has been hired away to be a head coach.

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