Friday, April 06, 2007

Miller keeping it real

Something to tide you over until next week.

It would have been easy for Jarrell Miller to enter his first spring football camp at the University of Connecticut with a little swagger considering his status as a blue-chip recruit.

Miller, a freshman linebacker who enrolled at UConn in January out of prep school, is the program's first Parade All-American and a former team MVP at the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

So while it would have been easy for Miller to enter the program with a big head, it probably wouldn't have been such a great idea.

"If he came in with an ego, there are guys on the team that would have deflated it pretty quickly," UConn coach Randy Edsall said.

Instead, Miller entered humble and prepared to learn. He's listed as a backup to senior Danny Lansanah at middle linebacker, a spot he'll likely remain at when the Huskies begin preseason camp in August. The decision whether to redshirt Miller or use him in a reserve role probably won't be made until shortly before summer practices break before the Sept. 1 opener at Duke.

Miller won't have a problem with whatever path the coaches feel is best.

"I can live with it," Miller said following UConn's 11th spring practice on Thursday evening at the Shenkman Center. "If they want to redshirt me, I will do it."

Edsall praised Miller for his work ethic since arriving on campus three months ago, and the proof is evident.

In mid-January, Miller met local media for the first time packing 270 pounds on his 6-foot-2 inch frame. By the official spring weigh-in last month, Miller tipped the scales at 259. On Thursday, he said he was down to 248 — about eight pounds from the ideal playing weight Miller has in mind.

"That's all coach (Gerard) Martin and coach (Drew) Wilson," Miller said, referring to the Huskies' two strength and conditioning coaches. "It's all conditioning."

Closer to where he wants to be physically, Miller is still trying to master the defensive playbook, an overwhelming task for any true freshman. He's made progress, much of it with the help of Lansanah, who has become somewhat of a mentor for the player being groomed as the successor to the middle linebacker position.

"I've been real impressed with him," Lansanah said. "Learning the playbook is a lot. Once he gets a grasp of that, he's going to be a good player. He's come a long way. He's doing everything right in drills. He still has to get faster by losing a little weight and get stronger."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home