A Healthy Miller is Ready to Breakout

In a group clouded with uncertainty, Matt Miller may be the biggest enigma of them all. While inconsistency and injuries have plagued the junior thus far, he has shown on occasion flashes of brilliance. The wide receiver told DevilsDigest that with his physical condition in check, he is ready for what he believes should be his best season ever in the maroon and gold.

I'm feeling good right now," said Matt Miller. "I stayed healthy in camp, and that was the main issue for me. I stretched a lot during practice, which was good. I have good timing with Sam (Keller), and we're on the same page. I'm still working on getting my timing with Walter."

While the second starting receiver role along side Derek Hagan, has seemingly been awarded to Terry Richardson, the junior will likely be regulated to a backup duties. Nevertheless, Miller doesn't let that fact affect his psyche. "I'm just gonna play when I can, and catch the balls when they come to me," he remarked. "It's a coach's decision, and all I know is that when I'm gonna get in there I'm gonna do the best I can. That's where I stand on that one."

Injuries have slowed Miller down both in high school and in college. He cites visualization exercises to cope mentality with his injuries, and stretching to keep loose during practice. Through out all the bumps and bruises his family and friends have been there, and they have been anything but a distraction. "They have been a big motivational factor for me," he said. "They really help me get going. Whenever I see them in practice, I run that much harder, and that much faster because I want them to see me doing well."

The ASU wide receivers are a group that received quite a bit of criticism in 2003. Miller acknowledges that things have to significantly improve this season, and feels that this group is well on its way towards that achievement. "I think we improved a lot from last year," he stated. "The rookies we have this year are a lot smarter, they're spending a lot of time in the film room, and all of us have been doing a lot more work there. The leaders of the group, me and Hagan, are teaching the younger guys how to run routes, and giving them a lot more criticism than we did last year. I think all of that will help us get better this season."

Miller improved dramatically from 2002 to 2003. He went from catching a handful of balls to 26, and nearly tripled his yardage from 123 to 326. Last season he also scored his lone career touchdown in a game versus Oregon. His goals for 2004 are very simple center around his desire to make an impact in the passing game. "I need to improve my route running," said the wide receiver. "We've been doing that on our own all summer long, and I think that really made a difference with me. Other than that, I just want to catch touchdowns – no more short routes. I want to get some TD's (smile). Of course, I want to stay healthy too."

At 6-2 173, Miller can appear less physical or athletic then some his counterparts. Listening to the junior, one may think that he almost relishes in that misconception. "It's not the size of the dog, it's the size of the fight in the dog," he exclaimed. "When I put pads on I'm on a different player. I may look skinny when I just walk around, but when I put on the pads I feel like I can play with anybody…I'm waiting to break out. I'm gonna play as hard as I can, as well as I can, and catch every ball. I want this to be my breakout year."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories