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Oklahoma football: Eric Striker a perfect representative for Sooners' reinvigorated defense

After a season of wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, there is little doubt Striker has the most fitting name in college football. But beyond that, he has become the perfect representative of a confident Oklahoma defense.
by Jason Kersey Published: August 22, 2014
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NORMAN — Eric Striker’s high school position coach can’t remember anyone ever using the Sooner linebacker’s first name.

“Everything has always been ‘Striker’ or ‘Strike,’” said Corey Peterson, the linebackers coach at Armwood High in Seffner, Fla.

After a season of wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, there is little doubt Striker has the most fitting name in college football. But beyond that, he has become the perfect representative of a reinvigorated, confident Oklahoma defense.

Only two years ago, this was a unit that surrendered an average of 535 yards and 37.8 points over its final five games. The Sooner defense was embarrassed by Heisman Trophy winners Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel in consecutive seasons.

Oklahoma developed a reputation as a team that needed its offense to consistently out-score opponents in shootouts. Striker doesn’t anticipate that being a problem in 2014.

“If the offense can put seven points on the board, that’s good enough for us,” Striker said in early August.

The junior certainly isn’t lacking in confidence. He carries himself both on the field and in media interviews with a swagger that has endeared him to Oklahoma fans. 

A few days before the Sugar Bowl, Striker said he was tired of being asked about being a heavy underdog in the game.

“It’s a terrible question,” he said.

On the Superdome field after recording three sacks in the Sooners’ 45-31 victory, Striker called out ESPN “First Take” hosts Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, who had predicted an Alabama rout.

“He remembers the people that said something bad about his team,” Peterson said. “He'll always keep that stuff in the back of his mind.”

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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