DAVIE, Fla. -- The routine is usually the same for Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi.
After a day of practice, he heads home for more studying. Before getting distracted by television, he pulls out his iPad. He studies the defensive playbook for sometimes as long as two hours.
It's part of Misi's plan to take advantage of playing in a defensive system that may be better suited for his athleticism. So far, the extended study sessions have equated to improvement. He recorded 11 tackles in last week's loss to the Houston Texans in the season-opener, then had three solo tackles in Sunday's win over Oakland.
"I've taken it real serious this year, trying to get the position down," Misi said earlier this week. "I think I'm doing a good job so far. There's still a lot of things that I need to learn. I didn't have the best game Xs and O-wise."
Misi -- a former Utah Ute -- spent the past several months getting adjusted to the Dolphins switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. He said one of the initial things first-year defensive coordination Kevin Coyle said was he "better be ready to go" when the season arrives.
The new defensive scheme thus far has given Misi more opportunities to "freelance."
After being blocked last season by offensive lineman, he is now allowed to play "side to side" and have more chances to make plays downfield.
Now, instead of focusing on pass rushing, Misi is learning how to drop into coverage. Instead of shadowing a running back, he may need to cover a tight end.
Misi has apparently embraced the challenge. The oustide linebacker was the only player in the game to finish with double-digit tackles, recording 10 solos.
"It's just the scheme that the Texans ran, I guess," linebacker Karlos Dansby said. "They left him free on the back side and he ran down plays from the other side of the ball. It was exciting to see and to see him get into this defense and really flourish like that, it's a good sight."
"I was really pleased with Koa and made mention of it to the entire group that he didn't do everything perfect, but Koa Misi came to play and it was shown in everything he did," Coyle said. "He played with great tenacity. He flew around the field. He was making plays on the opposite side of the field, diving, laying out, scratching and just reaching for ankles. (He) played physical at the point of attack."
Coyle said Misi has played well enough for it to hopefully influence the rest of the defense.
"Once he got into the game, it was all systems go," Coyle said. "He was playing hard and that was encouraging and I think the rest of the group, everybody should really take notice of a guy that went out there and played as hard as he could each and every snap."
Misi said he hopes to continue flourishing in the new alignment.
He started 12 games last year, but is already nearly a third of the way to his season total for tackles (34). As a rookie in 2010, Misi finished with a career-high 41 tackles. He's easily on pace to surpass that if he keeps producing like he did last week.
"It's fun," Misi said. "I'm having a good time. I feel real comfortable with the position. It definitely opens it up for me to be able to run around a little bit more."
The biggest adjustment for Misi has been learning the correct coverages and defensive calls. That's where his study sessions are most important. He said he's mastered most of the signals after weeks of studying.
"I need to get this position down," Misi said. "Switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, it's a new position for me. When guys are motioning, I've got to know what I'm doing with the motion. It's just a whole bunch of things that I need to learn."