OU 15 questions for spring '15: No. 8

Eric Striker and Zack Sanchez will both look to take their play to the next level in 2015.

Oklahoma spring football is just around the corner. Coming off a disappointing 2014 season, all Sooner fans are looking forward to turning the page to 2015.

Every edition of spring practices bring along questions, but there has arguably never been a more fascinating and uncertain spring than the one OU is about to begin.

Sooners Illustrated is here to help. During these next 15 days, we are going to pose one major question each day regarding OU’s 2015 spring football issues.

The countdown will end March 6, the final day before OU’s first day of practice and coincidentally, OU’s second junior day event and OU basketball’s showdown vs. Kansas in a huge day in OU sports. After spring practice, we will revisit these same 15 questions and see what has been answered and what remains left to be figured out.

Question No. 8: Will Sanchez, Striker take that next step?

From the sound of things, it certainly appears like each is ready to become a dominant player next season.

Linebacker Eric Striker was adamant about returning to the Sooners after the Russell Athletic Bowl loss. He wanted to come back to Oklahoma, a clear sign of his intentions to better himself and the team.

Then, there was cornerback Zack Sanchez on Twitter just a few days ago – just days away from spring practice.

Sanchez has always had a bit of swagger to him, but it’s clear that he wants to take him game to the next level in his junior season.

The question at hand though is not whether they want to take their game to the next level but will they?

Sanchez finished last season with six interceptions, and Striker had nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. It’s tough to find room for improvement there, since both are so strictly viewed just by just a few stat lines.

Instead, what both need to do to “improve” is become more consistent. Striker can disappear in big games, and Sanchez’s tackling issues aren’t going away any time soon.

The problem for both is that other teams can take them out of games – don’t throw to Sanchez and run away from or double team Striker.

Still, they both have the chance to reach that next level. On a team in a bit of a transition, Oklahoma will need them to both be better.

Sanchez seems to be the more likely of the two to make that jump and perform at a level consistent with NFL talent. Striker’s next level might never be a dominant player in the NFL. He is much more of a specified – almost pigeonholed – college star, who is probably destined to play safety in the NFL despite struggling in pass coverage last season. Other than his sheer numbers, it might not be possible for Striker to show that he can be any better than he already is.

What Oklahoma will be looking for the two is a more well-rounded game, and it seems as though Striker has the best chance to be that. Striker can make more strides in his pass coverage and run defense than Sanchez can make in his tackling ability, something he won’t need much of in the NFL if he continues to be a dominant cornerback – a game-changing one capable of an interception on every throw.

There’s probably about a 50/50 chance for either to reach that next level. Striker has further to go, but Sanchez’s route might be harder.

It’s probably not going to happen for both.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories

\r\n

Sanchez has always had a bit of swagger to him, but it’s clear that he wants to take him game to the next level in his junior season.

\r\nThe question at hand though is not whether they want to take their game to the next level but will they?

\r\nSanchez finished last season with six interceptions, and Striker had nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. It’s tough to find room for improvement there, since both are so strictly viewed just by just a few stat lines.

\r\nInstead, what both need to do to “improve” is become more consistent. Striker can disappear in big games, and Sanchez’s tackling issues aren’t going away any time soon.

\r\nThe problem for both is that other teams can take them out of games – don’t throw to Sanchez and run away from or double team Striker.

\r\nStill, they both have the chance to reach that next level. On a team in a bit of a transition, Oklahoma will need them to both be better.

\r\nSanchez seems to be the more likely of the two to make that jump and perform at a level consistent with NFL talent. Striker’s next level might never be a dominant player in the NFL. He is much more of a specified – almost pigeonholed – college star, who is probably destined to play safety in the NFL despite struggling in pass coverage last season. Other than his sheer numbers, it might not be possible for Striker to show that he can be any better than he already is.

\r\nWhat Oklahoma will be looking for the two is a more well-rounded game, and it seems as though Striker has the best chance to be that. Striker can make more strides in his pass coverage and run defense than Sanchez can make in his tackling ability, something he won’t need much of in the NFL if he continues to be a dominant cornerback – a game-changing one capable of an interception on every throw.

\r\nThere’s probably about a 50/50 chance for either to reach that next level. Striker has further to go, but Sanchez’s route might be harder.

\r\nIt’s probably not going to happen for both.

\r\n

\r\n\r\n

See what Sooners fans are saying here

\r\n","mobileBody":"

Oklahoma spring football is just around the corner. Coming off a disappointing 2014 season, all Sooner fans are looking forward to turning the page to 2015.

Every edition of spring practices bring along questions, but there has arguably never been a more fascinating and uncertain spring than the one OU is about to begin.

Sooners Illustrated is here to help. During these next 15 days, we are going to pose one major question each day regarding OU’s 2015 spring football issues.

The countdown will end March 6, the final day before OU’s first day of practice and coincidentally, OU’s second junior day event and OU basketball’s showdown vs. Kansas in a huge day in OU sports. After spring practice, we will revisit these same 15 questions and see what has been answered and what remains left to be figured out.

From the sound of things, it certainly appears like each is ready to become a dominant player next season.

Linebacker Eric Striker was adamant about returning to the Sooners after the Russell Athletic Bowl loss. He wanted to come back to Oklahoma, a clear sign of his intentions to better himself and the team.

Then, there was cornerback Zack Sanchez on Twitter just a few days ago – just days away from spring practice.

I'm wayyyyyyy up ... I feel blessed ... this year a whole different mindset ... ?????? pic.twitter.com/UasMssnLXM

— Zack Sanchez (@ZSanchez15) February 25, 2015

Sanchez has always had a bit of swagger to him, but it’s clear that he wants to take him game to the next level in his junior season.

The question at hand though is not whether they want to take their game to the next level but will they?

Sanchez finished last season with six interceptions, and Striker had nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. It’s tough to find room for improvement there, since both are so strictly viewed just by just a few stat lines.

Instead, what both need to do to “improve” is become more consistent. Striker can disappear in big games, and Sanchez’s tackling issues aren’t going away any time soon.

The problem for both is that other teams can take them out of games – don’t throw to Sanchez and run away from or double team Striker.

Still, they both have the chance to reach that next level. On a team in a bit of a transition, Oklahoma will need them to both be better.

Sanchez seems to be the more likely of the two to make that jump and perform at a level consistent with NFL talent. Striker’s next level might never be a dominant player in the NFL. He is much more of a specified – almost pigeonholed – college star, who is probably destined to play safety in the NFL despite struggling in pass coverage last season. Other than his sheer numbers, it might not be possible for Striker to show that he can be any better than he already is.

What Oklahoma will be looking for the two is a more well-rounded game, and it seems as though Striker has the best chance to be that. Striker can make more strides in his pass coverage and run defense than Sanchez can make in his tackling ability, something he won’t need much of in the NFL if he continues to be a dominant cornerback – a game-changing one capable of an interception on every throw.

There’s probably about a 50/50 chance for either to reach that next level. Striker has further to go, but Sanchez’s route might be harder.

It’s probably not going to happen for both.

See what Sooners fans are saying here

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