When news broke last spring that Striker was playing some nickelback, many wondered why considering how successful he was as a pass rusher. He recorded three sacks in the Sooners’ Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama last January.
He’s still able to rush the passer this year, but coaches are taking advantage of his athleticism in more ways. Cornerback Zack Sanchez and Striker attended many of the same camps during the recruiting process, and Sanchez said Striker was impressive in coverage then.
“I saw him at camps locking up receivers, so he’s going back to those days,” Sanchez said. “Strike's just an athlete, man.”
Oklahoma defensive coaches switched to a three-man defensive front last August, but because of all the versatile, seasoned players like Grissom and Striker, they are better able to implement their full vision of this defense in 2014.
“A lot of it was still the same scheme wise; it’s just different people,” Bob Stoops said of last year’s defense. “We’re another year into it. We have groomed it.
“I think with the first group there weren’t any mental mistakes (against Louisiana Tech). We have more that we can do with it, and they understand going against different offensive plays where they need to be in them. It’s just smoother that way.”