Miller Eager to Show What He Can Do

Auburn junior Patrick Miller is running with the first team at right offensive tackle.

Auburn, Ala.--After starting the first five games at right tackle last season, Patrick Miller found himself on the bench as Avery Young took over and never relinquished the starting spot.

Miller saw limited snaps against Tennessee and Arkansas, but didn’t have any meaningful playing time the rest of the year.

While other Auburn players might have welcomed a break after the wear and tear of last season, Miller couldn’t wait to get back on the field.

“I’m just happy to be back, and I’m really like, ‘let’s go,’” Miller said. “I just want this offseason to be over with. I want to get back on the field. I want to play this whole season. I want people to see what I can do. It feels good to be back playing football again.

“It’s just nice being on the veteran side of the ball, understanding the scheme and not feeling like a freshman out there,” the junior added. “I’m at that age where I’m mature enough, older, so physically I feel there. Just mentally, I want to feel like a senior on the field--get all my plays, no missed assignments, no offsides, no stupid penalties.

“I’m just working on being 100 percent locked-in, and just really understanding not just what to do, but just the whole scheme of the play,” he added.

Miller has been working with the first team at right tackle, with Young sliding next to him at guard. It’s a pairing on the right side that coaches experimented with during spring practice. Miller says the duo has carried over to fall camp the progress they made during the spring.

“The past couple of days have been good,” he said. “We’re finally starting to get our double teams down. I feel more comfortable getting hip-to-hip with him. I used to work next to Chad (Slade), and it took me a while to get the feel for his speed and everything, but now we’re a tight double team. It’s starting to come together.”

Miller said the same holds true on the other side of the line where Shon Coleman and Slade are starting to gel, although Slade has missed practice time with what Gus Malzahn said is a minor physical setback.

Miller pointed out it certainly helps to have the steady presence of Reese Dismukes at center as well.

“I don’t know what you’d do without a good center like Reese,” Miller said. “He’s the man, he always gets his calls, everything’s always crisp with him.”

Miller, who measured in at 6-7, 289 pounds, said he’s working most on improving his run blocking during fall camp.

“Pass blocking has always come naturally to me so I’m just trying to focus on keeping my pads low and driving people off the ball,” he said.

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