Big Freshman Tackle Making An Impact

Freshman offensive tackle Patrick Miller is making a splash this spring for the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.—While most freshmen offensive linemen spend their time on the sidelines and getting mop-up duty in practices, it has been a much different first two weeks for Auburn offensive tackle Patrick Miller.

An early high school graduate, Miller has not only worked his way into the rotation in practices, he's seeing time with the first team at tackle.

In the first spring scrimmage Miller played left tackle with redshirt freshman Greg Robinson at home in Louisiana dealing with a personal matter. This past Saturday in Auburn's second scrimmage, Miller was on the right side working at tackle with Chad Slade moving inside to guard.

That would be a tough transition for any player, regardless of experience level, but for a true freshman who should be going to his prom in the spring, it's something that is almost unheard of in an SEC level program. Even so the 6-7 and nearly 280-pound Miller said he's just taking things in stride and trying to improve each day.

"I'm just having to get used to kicking off my left foot," Miller said. "It was just my second day on the right side so I feel like I have already gotten a lot better. It went well.

"I played over there in practice the other day. It was kind of a little weird, but I felt a lot more comfortable in my stance and everything. I never thought I would play right tackle, but I kind of like it."

Instead of easing in to life in college football Miller has been thrown to the wolves as he's had to deal with defensive ends like Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford while also learning a new offense a new position. That might be overwhelming to some, but to Miller it's just part of what he's wanted to do his whole life and that is play football.

"It's definitely really exciting," Miller said. "I love it. All of the offensive line guys have been really cool with me. I feel like I'm already part of a big family. That's a good thing."

With only a week of spring practice remaining and a full summer to continue his learning of the offense and of the college game, Miller said he and the entire offensive unit has made a lot of progress to this point.

"The more you know the offense, the more physical you can be," Miller said. "Sometimes you'll catch yourself slowing down and thinking about what the play is going to be. Once you get it down and it's fluent then you can let it go."

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