FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas fans who filed into their seats last weekend expecting to see Devwah Whaley in action for the first time surely left disappointed.
The highly-touted true freshman running back carried the ball just twice for one yard in the Razorbacks’ 21-20 win over Louisiana Tech. Sophomore Rawleigh Williams III led the way with 24 rushes for 96 yards and a touchdown, while senior Kody Walker added six carries and 24 yards.
Considering Arkansas’ lack of returning experience at running back and Whaley’s extraordinary talent, it was widely expected that he would play a big role in the Hogs offense from the get-go.
Those expectations only increased after Whaley’s tremendous performance in Arkansas’ first scrimmage of fall camp.
Bielema attributed Whaley’s lack of action in the opener to his feeling that, in a close game, it was better to let the older, more experienced backs carry the load.
“When you’re in a game like that, one of the negative things that can happen is if you put a player in who hasn’t played much, and they don’t play well, you can set them back so much in their growth and their maturity,” Bielema explained, while stressing that Whaley handled things really well and understood that thinking.
Whaley was one of the top-ranked high school backs in the country last year and chose to sign with the Razorbacks over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas, among many others.
So will the Beaumont, Texas, product see more action as the season rolls on?
“Without a doubt,” Bielema said.