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By LARRY VAUGHT
Darrian Miller admits the fast pace of Neal Brown’s offense can “hurt sometimes” and be difficult for offensive linemen like himself.
“It’s not too hard to learn the offense, but the pace is tough,” said Miller, a starting guard. “You will be just sitting down in your stance and your legs will be burning and you are breathing heavy knowing you have to get ready to move again.
“But I am very optimistic. I feel like we have the opportunity to be very good this year because of the offense. I see what we can become. We can be great. We have a lot of young guys making plays, a lot of older guys that are better making plays. See a lot of people working and progressing to make us better.”
He also liked that Brown said offensive linemen can be playmakers just like skilled players.
“I haven’t heard that before myself, but it does sound good. I assume it just means do the correct assignment all the time, getting down field making blocks,” Miller said. “I try to think of myself as a playmaker. You get tired and sometimes have to force yourself to make that extra play. Sometimes it just natural when the ball is snapped and it’s time to go to want to ease up. It can be hard to be a playmaker.”
Brown and head coach Mark Stoops like the leadership ability Miller has shown, too.
“I think the two guys up there that are giving us leadership are Kevin Mitchell and Darrian Miller — Kevin because he’s a senior and Darrian because he’s probably our best guy up there,” Brown said. “Those are kind of the people you look for to be leaders. I’m really proud of how Darrian’s stepped up and assumed that leadership role. That’s really not his personality, so to speak.”
Stoops says the line is doing a “nice job” getting used to Brown’s fast-paced offense.
“We worked – our normal tempo is fast, as you know, but we worked several situations today — four minute, two minute then another two-minute drill — and they’ve been very good,” Stoops said. “I don’t think we have enough depth. We need to continue to work that. No. We need more depth at that position.”
Brown feels the line still needs to “improve” the tempo.
“The tempo, it’s something that constantly we’ve got to work on. It is a lot different. They’re improved. They’re not exactly where I want them to be. But the good news is we’ve still got some time,” Brown said.
Miller admits he “lost a couple of pounds” during the summer to improve his stamina, speed and strength to get ready for the fast pace.
“I enjoyed my summer working hard every day. It was actually pretty fun,” Miller said.