Miller progressing well

Freshman linebacker DeAndre Miller is expected to play this season. Read on to see how his transition has been and more.

Arizona's defense was one of the worst units in the country last season. Rich Rodriguez and his staff focused on that side of the ball this past year on the recruiting trail and brought in a handful of players who could contribute immediately in 2013.

6-foot-3, 220-pound Buckeye (Ariz.) linebacker DeAndre Miller believes that he has done well in camp.

"I've been progressing pretty good this summer," Miller said after Thursday's practice. "It's a learning process coming in as a freshman.

"It's really a big step up from high school to playing college football. I believe I'm getting better and better each day."

Miller is not sure what his role will be, but does not seem to care about the specifics.

"I just want to come out and help the team the best way I can, whether it be on special teams, playing one through fourth down -- whatever I can do to help the team out," he said.

Playing in an unfamiliar 3-3-5-stack scheme under defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, Miller has needed some time to adjust to the college style of play.

He played in a standard 4-3 scheme in high school, although he's quickly learning the ropes and receives plenty of guidance from a handful of veteran linebackers on the team.

"They go hard every play," Miller said. "Jake Fischer -- he leads us. If we have questions, he'll answer it for us. Marquis (Flowers) is the same way. Hank Hobson will do the same, too. It's about being a leader, and hopefully we can fill in their shoes once they leave."

Miller's ability to pick up the scheme in a hurry will be critical to him seeing the field early in his career. He has the size and quickness to make an impact, especially among a relatively thin group of linebackers on the roster.

With the season opener just a week away, the Arizona native is excited to finally make his college debut.

"Tucson's a big college town, so I can't wait to see what it's like on game day," Miller said.

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