At the advent of two-a-days, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops lauded Oklahoma’s depth at linebacker. Nothing in the last three weeks has changed his mind. After starters Tom Wort and Corey Nelson, the Sooners have been using seniors Jaydan Bird and Joseph Ibiloye. But the development of sophomores Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin and true freshman Eric Striker has the staff feeling comfortable going three- and four-deep at the position.
“They're getting a lot of reps right now,” linebackers coach Tim Kish said. “They're making good progress. Neither (Shannon nor Franklin) really has a snap on defense when the lights are on. But they're working really hard as a group.
“We expect them to be game-ready.”
Shannon has been rotating in at middle linebacker, while Franklin and Striker have been working at weak-side.
Kish has been especially bullish on Striker, who will not redshirt this season. At worst, Striker is expected to be a big part of OU’s special teams units.
“He's just a football player,” Kish said. “He's got great instincts out there. He practices a hundred miles an hour. He's got a great attitude towards the game. He's energetic. He has that outwardly passion for the game. Where I've got maybe some quiet guys in the group, that maybe are a little more reserved that way, he's kind of loud. I think that makes him stand out with the rest of the guys.
“He just lacks experience right now. He's kind of swimming, which is to be expected of any freshman playing his position. It'll come around for him. He'll have a special teams role in the beginning, and we'll keep developing him as a linebacker. You never know how fast things can change. There will be a time during the fall where the light will really come on and he'll start seeing the pieces fit together.”