In 2017, the Miami Hurricanes took to calling their rush defensive end a “viper,” presumably in an effort to give the name a little bit more snap and sizzle and it appears that the Miami defense is at it again in 2018.
Jonathan Patke was promoted from the auxiliary staff to become the new outside linebackers coach and he recently spoke with the media for the first time this spring. And it appears he’s redefining what the defense is looking for in an outside linebacker, which they’re now calling the “striker.”
The “striker” will be a smaller, more mobile outside linebacker who is going to be asked to play in space and cover man-to-man more frequently than your typical linebacker. And Patke laid out what he expects to see from anyone playing that position.
“The first thing he must do is be tough,” Patke said according to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post. “We’re blessed with speed. We want to get the best players on the field. Derrick [Smith] and Romeo [Finley] are athletic, coming from the safety room. We want to get the most speed out there. If they can play with physicality, it’ll help us immensely.”
During the spring, former safeties Smith and Finley have featured prominently at the position along with sophomore linebacker De’Andre Wilder. Smith and Finley are splitting reps with the first team while Wilder is running with the second unit.