Plenty of young players contributed on defense, with Tapper, Eric Striker and Sanchez leading the way and junior college transfer Quincy Russell getting some work up front
“We have a bright future looking ahead,” Tapper said. “We're going to try to do this every game, try to hold them under 100 yards rushing.”
Another sophomore, Striker, didn't have eye-popping numbers either, recording just one tackle, but did plenty to disrupt the Warhawks.
Striker started, creeping toward the line in his linebacker spot and made things difficult for ULM.
“That's his spot,” Nelson said. “That's where we needed him at. He was balling in fall camp at that position and he kept that up.”
Nelson was the Sooners top linebacker last year but by the end of the season, linebackers had grown obsolete in the defensive scheme as Stoops adjusted to Big 12 offenses that were vastly different from what he coached against during his first term.
While Nelson preached about not being satisfied and staying hungry, he also said this was a positive first step toward the redemption of the defense.
“Absolutely it is,” Nelson said with a laugh. “We just played out there with a chip on our shoulder. I feel like every week this whole season we have to play with a chip on our shoulder. We have to stay hungry and we have to stay humble in what we're doing.”