Devils Digest: How would you assess the performance of the defense against UCLA?
Bill Miller: "They did some good things, but when there is a really close ball game and you give up a big play, and we gave up a big play, that's not good enough. We didn't win the football game; they did some god things for sure."
Devils Digest: The defense has really stopped the run is that because of stellar play or the benefit of having a rotation?
Bill Miller: "I think they're improving number one and they have bought in to what we're trying to do here. Probably a combination of all those things."
DD: According to Koetter, the defense has really carried the offense this year. Can you comment about this?
BM: "They (the offense) did so much for us in a tough year last year when we didn't have some key players. That's probably why this is a team game. Everybody has to complement each other and when you're lacking in one area you have to pick it up in another area and then somebody else has to pick his game up. This is the ultimate team game and that's definitely what's it's got to take."
DD: Can you talk about the seniors on the defensive line?
BM: "All of our seniors have done an outstanding job. Kyle Caldwell, Jordan Hill, Will Kofe…have really done some outstanding things for us. Beau Manutai, Derron Ware, Zach Catanese, all of those guys…I can't tell you how proud I really am. They tried to kind of return this thing to the way they used to play defense around here - that is our ultimate goal."
DD: Can you talk about the play of freshman Mike Nixon, who had a career-high seven tackles against UCLA?
BM: "Mike's really done a good job - he had a good ball game last week. He's still young but surely done some great things. He has brought a lot of maturity to our group. We have three freshman out there with him Travis Goethel, Gerald Munns…all three of those guys have all started now and that's been very positive."
DD: Can you talk about the seniors at defensive back?
BM: "Keno had a good ball game last week and he's going to have to play a good ball game this Saturday. Zach, Josh Barrett…Ryan McFoy is another freshman who is starting. Justin Tyron has done a good job for us this year. Like I said, there has truly been a team effort and were by no means where we need to be and where we have to be to get this thing to a championship level, but we're making progress."
DD: What do you take from the Arizona offense after watching them on film?
BM: "I think they have some great weapons. Their receiver core, Steptoe is really explosive guy and does a lot after he catches the ball. I think their back #19 (Chris Henry) has really picked it up in terms of their running game. Their quarterbacks Tuitama and the other guy who's been in there have done a whale of a job. He's won these last ball games here. I think their O-line has played pretty well."
DD: Can you talk about this rivalry and how it compares to others across the country?
BM: "It's another great college football rivalry. There's a lot that goes into it."
DD: This Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?
BM: "I'm thankful for a lot of things. My family, I have a great group of friends a lot of them out here, who have been very supportive. I'm very thankful given the opportunity by Dirk (Koetter) to coach here. People don't understand how good a football coach and how good a man he is. That's been difficult to watch some of the pain he's had to go through lately."
Q&A with Coach Bill Miller
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