CAMP TONTOZONA - As a senior, Brent Miller can't help think about all the good and not so good times…
Memorable Practice for Miller
"Some of the good memories are just the defense and offense getting after it. It was basically just a big brawl. I don't know why but that was fun."
With obviously the Holiday Bowl against Texas still ahead next week, the curtain hasn't closed quite yet on 2007 season. Yet, it probably wasn't premature either for Miller to sum up his last campaign in the maroon and gold.
"I think it has been a good season and has definitely made me a better player," stated Miller who registered 20 catches, 188 yards and one touchdown in nine games. "I had a tough time early in the season, I hurt my knee and sat out a couple of games, but it made me a stronger player. If I can come back from that I can definitely stick through anything."
"I probably didn't have as many catches as I hoped to in the beginning of the season, but considering all that has happened during the whole season I'm pretty happy where I'm at right now."
His last catch was a tough juggling one against Arizona, one that was crucial in his team's last scoring drive that cemented the win over their archrival. He still may have some catches in the bowl game to add to his ASU career, but that one catch will be very memorable. Not only because it was the longest catch of the year, 28 yards. "That was my last catch at Sun Devil stadium and that was a great way to go out," he said.
As someone who lines up right alongside the offensive line, Miller too was subject to the mountains of criticism ASU's front five has received due to giving up a large number of sacks through out the year. "It was tough," he admitted. "We got a lot of criticism, but a lot of people don't really know how many things really go on, how many things influence how many sacks you get."
The tight end is very mindful of the extremly physical defensive line of Texas, one that reminds him of USC's heralded unit. "Our attitude is to basically try to out hit them," said Miller. "They're a physical team, but we're a physical team too. So it's gonna be a good battle."
Miller was part of the team's senior leadership group. It is a unit that came under fire in the past, due to the fact that some of its members at the time were probably not the best representatives the team should have had. Miller acknowledged that fact, but also felt proud about what the Sun Devil core was able to accomplish during some trying times.
"Part of being a strong leadership group is the type of players we have and we really took control of the team and made sure everyone is going in the right direction," he explained. "We had a lot of loyalty to (former ASU Head Coach) Coach Koetter, and when he got fired everyone was looking at each other thinking ‘what do we do now?' Some guys were thinking about transferring, but the seniors did a good job leading the team and moving it in the right direction."
Under new Head Coach Dennis Erickson and Tight Ends Coach Dan Cozzetto, Miller felt that the tight end position didn't change a whole lot assignment wise, yet there was still a noticeable difference. "We definitely had a new attitude with Coach Cozzetto," said Miller. "A little more hard nose football attitude. It was a lot of fun to play. It was a lot of fun practicing with the offensive line. That's why we play football – we like to bang our heads on other people."
According to many pundits, 2007 was supposed to be the season where Brent was going to try and get out of the shadows of younger brother and All-American tight end Zach Miller, who declared for the NFL draft as a junior. Miller stated that his priorities were in a different place.
"I was just focused making this team as good as I could make it," he commented. "We didn't really know what was gonna happen. There was a lot of indecision because of the new coach. We had a lot of seniors and we tried to bring up the team, so everyone was focused and not worried about what happened (with previous coaching staff)."
Zach Miller, a member of the 4-10 Oakland Raiders, is somewhat envious these days according to Brent Miller, seeing the Sun Devils soar to double digit wins the first year after he turned pro. "He's such a competitive guy, so he's a little bit jealous that he's not on as good of a team," said Miller. "But I don't think he regrets going to the NFL. He's just a little bit jealous he can't have as much fun winning."
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