Striker talks big hit

Allowed to play more on instinct and being given opportunities to shine has made OU sophomore linebacker Eric Striker a disruptive force for the Sooners this season.

There was no doubt the Oklahoma defense came out fired up last weekend at Notre Dame. But sometimes you can be too amped up and not play to your potential.

And sometimes things can work out just perfect. That was the case on the first drive of the game for OU sophomore linebacker Eric Striker.

Coming on a blitz from the blind side, Striker leveled Irish quarterback Tommy Rees, jarring the ball loose and into the hands of Corey Nelson. Nelson went 24 yards for the game's first touchdown in OU's 35-21 victory.

"Oh it's real fun," Striker said. "Things like that happen, especially when you come off the edge all the time. Sometimes they don't account for you. Maybe that was a bust on their part, but they let me free and I had to kill him."

You could sense a big play was in the making for Striker. As the season has progressed, he has gotten more and more comfortable with his role coming off the edge.

Rees, although a skilled signal-caller, isn't the most mobile player. If Striker could get to him, there wasn't much of a chance for Rees to get out of the way.

"I was like wow, it happened really fast," Striker said. "But I thought, dang nobody has touched me yet so I thought I'm about to go take this dude's head off."

That has been the mentality of Striker and of the linebackers this season. OU's top two tacklers are Dallas Skyline products Frank Shannon and Corey Nelson. Striker has 12 tackles and four quarterback hurries this season.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories