Oklahoma Rushing Attack: Dom Whaley Or Blake Bell With Most TDs?

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 24: Running back Dominique Whaley #8 of the Oklahoma Sooners rushes up field during the second half against the Missouri Tigers on September 24, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Missouri 34-14. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

As we all know, rushing the ball is an important aspect of the game of football. Just ask the 2011 Oklahoma Sooner offense who struggled to get the push necessary to convert on short yardage downs. The bigger problem manifested itself in the redzone. However, the Sooners will be looking at joining the forces of the likes of Dominique Whaley and Blake Bell this year, something they were not prepared to do last season. The option of having both on the field at different times gives Oklahoma multiple threats with the capability of taking it to the house. Regardless of how many backs carry the ball, one thing remains true...only one will lead the team in rushing touchdowns. So I ask, who will it be, Whaley or Bell?

Let the debate begin!

Dom Whaley Game Log

Date Opponent Surface Result Att Yards Avg. TD
09/03/11 Tulsa Grass W 47-14 18 131 7.28 4
09/17/11 @ 23 Florida St. Grass W 23-13 21 71 3.38 0
09/24/11 Missouri Grass W 38-28 16 68 4.25 1
10/01/11 Ball St. Grass W 62-6 15 109 7.27 2
10/08/11 + Texas Grass W 55-17 13 83 6.38 1
10/15/11 @ Kansas Turf W 47-17 30 165 5.50 1
10/22/11 Texas Tech Grass L 38-41 Did not play
10/29/11 @ 15 Kansas St. Turf W 58-17 0 0 - 0
11/05/11 Texas A&M Grass W 41-25 Did not play
11/19/11 @ 13 Baylor Turf L 38-45 Did not play
11/26/11 Iowa St. Grass W 26-6 Did not play
12/03/11 @ 3 Oklahoma St. Turf L 10-44 Did not play
12/30/11 + Iowa Grass W 31-14 Did not play
Totals 113 627 5.55 9
@ : Away, + : Neutral Site

In the first six games of the season, the Sooners used a steady dose of surprise starter, Dom Whaley as he averaged 89.57 yards per game. He shining moment came against the Texas Longhorns as he showed the ability to break tackles as well as turn on the jets, separating himself from his pursuers. But, all that ended as Whaley suffered an injury early against the Kansas St. Wildcats. During his time on the field, Whaley came up with nine touchdown runs but would soon be overtaken for the season by another Sooner.

While taking in the affect that Collin Klein was having, Bob Stoops adopted the idea and implemented Blake Bell as the answer. Yes, Roy Finch was the running back most often seen in the backfield after the injury but it did not mean Bell was not going to get time under center.

Blake Bell Game Log

Date Opponent Surface Result Att Yards Avg. TD
09/03/11 Tulsa Grass W 47-14 Did not play
09/17/11 @ 23 Florida St. Grass W 23-13 Did not play
09/24/11 Missouri Grass W 38-28 Did not play
10/01/11 Ball St. Grass W 62-6 3 18 6.00 0
10/08/11 + Texas Grass W 55-17 Did not play
10/15/11 @ Kansas Turf W 47-17 Did not play
10/22/11 Texas Tech Grass L 38-41 Did not play
10/29/11 @ 15 Kansas St. Turf W 58-17 5 7 1.40 1
11/05/11 Texas A&M Grass W 41-25 12 37 3.08 2
11/19/11 @ 13 Baylor Turf L 38-45 5 16 3.20 4
11/26/11 Iowa St. Grass W 26-6 8 14 1.75 2
12/03/11 @ 3 Oklahoma St. Turf L 10-44 1 28 28.00 1
12/30/11 + Iowa Grass W 31-14 10 51 5.10 3
Totals 44 171 3.89 13
@ : Away, + : Neutral Site

In comparison, Bell played in seven games but saw a majority of his snaps during and after the Kansas St. game. Keeping in mind that Bell is not a running back and is only inserted for specific situations, he managed 24.43 yards per game. In the end, this is the man who led the Sooners in rushing TDs with a total of 13.

While I know that these two are in completely different shoes, touchdown runs are a stat many keep up with. Whaley and Bell combined for 22 of the 30 total rushing touchdowns on the season. They will both play a vital role in the rushing attack and hopefully Bell will have made significant progress in the passing game as he was recently named the backup to Landry Jones. But, let's get back to my original question of who will end the season leading the Sooners in rushing touchdowns?

If I were to guess at this point, many would choose Blake Bell simply do to the situations he will enter the game at...specifically in the redzone. With all due credit to Bell and what he brings to the table, I have to go with my gut and say Whaley this time around for two reasons. 1) As mentioned above, Bell will be looking to throw a little more often than he did last season. This will ultimately take away a few rushing attempts he would have received this past season decreasing his opportunities to score on a running play. 2) Assuming that Dom is 100% ready to go, he will be getting the lion's share of the carries. With more opportunities come better chances of actually scoring.

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