OU report card: Linebacker

How did the Sooners linebackers fare in 2014? The grades are out.

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.

Linebacker

Bob Przybylo: B. This is such a tricky one because it doesn’t feel like Eric Striker is a linebacker, but we all know he actually is.

You look at production, and it’s hard to argue with Striker, Geneo Grissom, Jordan Evans and Dominique Alexander. They delivered the goods when it mattered nearly all of the time.

But depth is a huge concern going forward at the position, especially in the inside as there are no legit backups to Alexander and Evans heading into next season.

A change, either of personnel or mentality, at the position seems desperately needed as though Tim Kish is doing a serviceable job, the linebacker coach at OU needs to do a lot more than just that on the field and especially on the recruiting trail where OU has been sorely lacking the last couple of years.

Justin Hite: B-. The stats don’t look bad. Evans and Alexander combined for nearly 200 tackles, and Striker led Oklahoma in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hurries.

There was just a feeling of wanting more from the linebacking unit.

More made tackles – or fewer missed tackles.

More from Striker, who just seemed to disappear for stretches.

More games from Geneo Grissom, who missed the back end of the season with an MCL sprain.

Overall, there was just something missing from this group, and it wasn’t just missed assignments in coverage.

The group played a major role in Oklahoma’s top 10 rushing defense but was also key in the Sooners’ 117th (out of 125) best pass defense.

There was a lot of good. Alexander was obviously more instinctive than as a freshman, and Evans has great athleticism for the position.

Grissom stepped back and look like an NFL talent at times, and early in the season, Striker was all but unblockable.

You just wanted more.

Sooners Illustrated overall grade:B.


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