OU report card: Safety

Sooners weakest position on defense was exposed for inexperience

The 2014 season is in the books for Oklahoma as the Sooners began the season in the top five but ended a disappointing 8-5 with losses in the final two games.

Before we start looking ahead to 2015, we’re going to take another look at every position this season for the Sooners.


Bob Przybylo: C-. This was a disaster position for the Sooners, no other way to describe it. Early on it wasn’t too bad, but it progressively got worse and worse as the season wore on.

Quentin Hayes had some real fine moments, but the safeties didn’t make anything happen during the second half of the year. They weren’t successful on blitzes. They didn’t force fumbles or make game-changing interceptions. They were just there.

Ahmad Thomas had one interception but was easily the No. 1 target for any opposing quarterback. Thomas had severe coverage issues during the season, and there’s no reason to suggest anything will change.

Hatari Byrd is close but not there. The bright spot is definitely Steven Parker. The true freshman went through his baptism by fire and should be better for it heading into his sophomore season.

Justin Hite: D+. There was just never any consistency on the back end for Oklahoma. Nobody could cover and could tackle only out of necessity.

Quentin Hayes was a bit of an X-factor early on, but even he struggled at the end of the season.

Steven Parker might have been the only safety that was at least on a semi-upswing once the season finished.

He was better at the end than the beginning. That was probably expected, but at the very least, Parker gives hope that the Oklahoma safety situation could be better next year.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Thomas, who finished third on the team with 74 tackles, and Hatari Byrd might have finished the year with more bad plays than good ones.

Oklahoma will need another answer at safety next year opposite Parker, and it’s probably not the most convenient to break in another true freshman – even with four stars Kahlil Haughton and Will Sunderland coming to Norman.

Sooners Illustrated overall grade: D+

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