OU outlook: Safety

The defensive line was the question heading into OU's 2013 season. This time around it looks like it's safety where the questions will be asked.

The 2013 season is in the rear view mirror for Oklahoma. And while 2014 isn't quite here just yet, never too early to start talking how the team is shaping up.

With spring football less than a week away, here's an early look at how the Sooners are shaping up at all positions.


The starter:

Quentin Hayes. With the departure of Gabe Lynn, the free safety spot is up for grabs. The choice that makes sense in the pecking order is redshirt freshman Hatari Byrd, but it's going to be tough to keep Steven Parker off the field.

OU secondary coaches Mike Stoops and Bobby Jack Wright couldn't say enough great things about Parker that it feels like it's fully possible for Parker to climb up the ladder faster than expected.

Next in line:

When looking at strong safety it's Vontre McQuinnie and Ahmad Thomas. Without a doubt Thomas is the guy who has the advantage, and he showed glimpses during the 2013 season.

The question with Thomas is whether or not he'll be moved to outside linebacker. Still remains to be seen, but he has nice form on his tackling and would fit in well at strong safety.

McQuinnie is solid in coverage, which is obviously something you need to be in order to play safety at OU. But he has made his mark as a hitter as well.

On the radar:

Outside of those names, not many left to be found. Safety will continue to be a point of emphasis for OU's 2015 class, but the Sooners did very well in getting McQuinnie and Parker for 2014.

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