Heading into the 2015 season, some of the biggest questions Oklahoma is facing are defensively. Even with 8 starters returning from the 2014 squad, the Sooners are largely inexperienced. While Akron probably won't put up more than a touchdown or two on Saturday, it'll be good to get a look at how the defense looks before a Week 2 contest in Knoxville.
The Return of Frank Shannon - After missing the entire 2014 season due to suspension, Oklahoma's leading tackler from 2013 will make his highly anticipated return to action on Saturday, although it will not be as a starter. The senior will come off the bench after losing his spot to Jordan Evans. The linebacker corps is extremely talented and experienced in 2015. It looks to be one of the main strengths of the team, especially if Shannon can return to form quickly.
Going Back to the Nickel - Down the stretch of 2014 as Oklahoma was finishing the season with 5 losses in 9 games, the main problem (besides quarterback and injuries) was the pass defense. The secondary was extremely inexperienced, especially after Julian Wilson went down. Oklahoma is looking to improve on that 117th ranked pass defense in 2015 so bringing back the 5 defensive back formation should help. The most critical aspect of switching to the nickel is open field tackling on runs and short passes. If you don't tackle well, you end chasing Tavon Austin up and down the field for 3 hours.
Youth in the Secondary - Although 4 starters are returning, the defensive backfield will most likely be the youngest position group on the team. Bob Stoops when listing off true freshmen who will play in 2015, went on to list 3 safeties and a corner. There is also a redshirt freshman and a sophomore in the 2 deep on the depth chart. Any injuries to starters and Oklahoma's pass defense might be in trouble.