Oklahoma opens spring practice on March 5 with the annual Red-White game set for April 9.
The Sooners will also hold pro day on March 9 for all departing players. But there are questions abound regarding the Sooners’ outlook for next year. Even coming off an 11-2 season, the Big 12 championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff, the Sooners still have holes that need to be filled.
Over the next week, Sooners Illustrated’s Justin Hite and Bob Przybylo take a look at five major questions surrounding Oklahoma. Here’s one of those most pressing questions:
Who will be the four starting linebackers for the Sooners?
This question got thrown a curveball when middle linebacker Dominique Alexander announced his intention to leave early and enter the NFL Draft.
Because it went from OU trying to replace the outside rushers in Eric Striker and Devante Bond to now trying to replace 75 percent of the starters from last year at linebacker.
The only certainty is Jordan Evans, who will be entering his third year as a starter. All the other positions are legitimately up for grabs, and there’s no way of knowing who’s going to emerge right now.
When you look at the 2014 group of Curtis Bolton and Tay Evans, you begin to wonder if their spot on the depth chart is already being passed up. Bolton has had trouble staying healthy, and Evans was a vital contributor on special teams but both want more than that.
OU’s 2015 group was small but considered to be a home run with Ricky DeBerry on the outside and Arthur McGinnis in the middle. McGinnis tried a little too hard last year and took a step back, but he’s ready to roll now and is one of the purest inside backers OU has had in a while.
If the answers don’t come in the spring, OU might have to rely on a stellar 2016 group. But when you start with games against Houston and Ohio State in the non-conference portion of the schedule, there is no time to breathe. No way to ease into the rotation so the spring is going to be crucial for Tim Kish to get what he needs out of this group.