Striker relishes move to Mike

NORMAN, Okla. — Brent Venables recruited him as an outside linebacker, then the new coaching regime with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and linebackers coach Tim Kish still had him there but not with much time on the field.

Brent Venables recruited him as an outside linebacker, then the new coaching regime with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and linebackers coach Tim Kish still had him there but not with much time on the field.

That's partly because of some of the players he was behind, including starters Tom Wort and Corey Nelson at middle and outside, respectively.

But it was also partly due to Stoops' and Kish's adapting schemes in their inaugural Big 12 season together.

They limited linebacker use and often times went with six or seven defensive backs, leaving one or none linebackers on the field.

Something Stoops promptly said would change when he addressed the media for the first time this spring.

"Obviously playing without, you know, two linebackers over 50 percent of the year last year is concerning," Stoops said. "The amount of 10 personnel, four-wide receiver sets we saw a year ago was—it was like no other season I'd ever seen. So, being a little more adjustable to those formations and formation groupings is gonna be important for us because that's what you see in this league."

Not surprisingly, Striker and likely the rest of the linebackers felt very much the same way.

"Coach Stoops came in and brought his defense in," Striker said. "But just like any player, your position wants to be on the field. But I felt like linebackers should have been on the field. I felt like we're important in every part of the game, you know, no matter the situation."

This time around that will be the case, and for Striker, this time around he'll be inside when he gets on the field.

The coaching staff has moved him to Mike, the vacated Wort's old position.

"Wherever coach puts me, I'm gonna play," Striker said. "So, it don't matter. If I'm outside, if I'm inside, it don't matter. I'll play to my best ability."

Certainly he has plenty of motivation.

Last year Striker played just one game at linebacker.

In fact, it was only the fourth quarter of the Kansas game.

"I don't even know how many plays there were, but yeah, that's the only time I got on the field," Striker recalled.

The Seffner, Fla., product did participate in all 13 games in a special teams role and racked up six tackles, three unassisted, but as one can imagine, that wasn't enough to satisfy his appetite.

"Yeah, you know, a little frustrating as the season went on," Striker said. "You know, in the beginning it's just like, ‘OK, I still gotta work my way,' that type of attitude. But, you know, when you feel like you've progressed, you're making progress, you get a little frustrated but still have a positive attitude. Nothing to make you want to run away, everything to make you want to go move for it and get after it."

With the move, Striker has bulked up 20 pounds from his listed weight, weighing roughly 220.

He plans to get to around 225 by the summer.

All of that to become a bigger contributor in 2013 for a linebacker corps that will run seven deep, including its two incoming freshmen.

"I'm definitely looking forward to getting out there, making plays, being a part of the team," Striker said.

It may be in a little bit different position, but sounds like he's ready.

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