Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Eric Striker speaks before his final game with OU

Striker discusses his career in full and his personal life.

What will you miss next year? 

I’m going to miss everything about it. I’m going to miss my classes. . . . When you are in a class, when you’re talking politics and you get a little serious, but you talk, they’re like, ‘What is Striker about to say now?’ All the students are like, ‘What’s he got to say now. Here he goes.’ They know it’s about to be something funny. So it’s that type of thing. I am going to miss it. Just walking around campus, and all my classmates, I want them to know that, too. Some of the guys, the study groups that we had, we really had some good times in the library or in Gaylord, or wherever we met to do projects, really had some great times. I’m going to miss all of that.

 

Was OU what you expected it to be?

What I wanted was to become a young man and just kind of be away from my family and my mother, and she doesn’t have to be there for me and do that. Just get away. That part was very, very good.  The relationships you build here – I built some great relationships. Get away from Florida and get out and meet some new people. And I feel like Oklahoma was the right spot because Florida has a lot of urban spots, big spots. You got a lot of small towns here. You get to have a conversation with somebody from a small town, and I can say, ‘Look, this is how it is in the city, this is how it is in the small town,’ What I got out of the small town, even some of the ones in Texas: Everybody knows everybody’s business. If you walked to the store and got a Snickers, the old lady up the street from you knows that you got the Snickers.

  

What did you tell the team after last year’s bowl loss?

I knew I didn’t want to end that way. After Kansas State, things did not seem to turn around much, so that did it, though. It was emotional, kind of like that Cotton Bowl freshman year. I didn’t even play that year, and I never felt that way in my life about a game. So embarrassed or hurt. I was just like, ‘Look, I’m a leader, a captain now. Let’s come back, let’s bring the change, let’s end it the right way. I want to walk out of here, end on a good winning season, whatever that happened to be.’ Now, we’re in the College Football Playoff. I wanted to try to get everybody on board, and let’s do this thing the right way so we can win games. Everybody come together, but help us off the field, help us on the field. Everybody bought into it, and the discipline and focus has been there, and it’s really what’s helped us, really. When I think about back then, what I said, I think about the guys that bought in and where we’ve been, and how far we’ve came. I think about that from time to time.

 

Does it make this year more gratifying?

It really does. I came back for a lot of reasons. Just, the adversity we dealt with. I can say that I’m very, very satisfied as far as our off-the-field stuff, and guys, but obviously, I’m very focused on trying to get this thing and winning this thing. Remember, I told you I was giving it everything I got. . . .This is it, I’ll never come back. So I got to give it all I got, no doubt.

 

What do you want do after football?

I think I’ve got a lot of stuff I wanna do. The sky’s the limit. I don’t know. Personality attracts. When you say, ‘I like to be around this person because he’s a nice, humorous, silly person.’ That attracts people and I guess I see that happening. I do wanna act. I’m really serious about that, see what I can do on that. I don’t plan on playing football my whole life, beating up my body my whole life, but it’s been a dream so I’ll definitely play it, see how successful I am at it, take it a day at a time. Probably move on. I’m working on getting my political science degree. Working on what I’ve got to do in the spring as far as that. Using that maybe to do something.

 

What’d you learn most about yourself in college?

I’m very passionate. From what I see from other people is that (I’m) very silly, very funny. Sometimes too silly. Sometimes I never stop. Sometimes I can get under people’s skin. To be honest, I feel like I haven’t changed much since high school. I feel like I’ve been the same person. I don’t even think I changed, but obviously I’m on a bigger stage now so the world can see it. Couldn’t see it in high school because it wasn’t a big state. The media’s here and everybody puts it out there for the world to see. I feel like I’ve been the same person. I definitely have become a better leader. I can tell you that.

 

Are you looking forward to Orange Bowl media day?

I don’t mind. I don’t mind it at all. Do I look forward to it? Yeah, I guess so. … It’s gonna be fun I’m sure. People are gonna ask me some questions, gonna wanna know some stuff. Try to dare me or see if I’m gonna say something. I’ll definitely be on my guard. I know somebody’s gonna be out there … I think I’ve always done a good job with it but I know there’s gonna be somebody out there that tries to push me to say something.

Do you think people think you’re gonna give bulletin board material?

I’m sure they’re looking forward to it, but I’ll be hip for it. I’m usually a hip type of guy. I know what’s coming. I’m not gonna be naive.

 

Does having a laid-back attitude help take pressure off you on the field?

I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t take that and put it on the football field. What makes me comfortable on the football field is that I’ve been doing it for awhile. I know my assignments. I work hard at it. It allows me to be out there and be free, do a lot of things that other players might not dare to do. Sometimes you’ve just gotta be a ballplayer. Sometimes you’ve gotta take risks.


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