Miller stepping up outside

ATHENS — There's nothing wrong with the way linebacker Brandon Miller is playing lately, his Georgia coaches say.

In fact, they're tickled about it.

"He's really done a great job," linebackers coach John Jancek said. "We always feel like all the players need to improve, and Brandon wants to improve. He's a very prideful player, but I'd say he's really proven his worth and done a lot of great things for Georgia and come through in a lot of situations for us."

It's Miller who's saying that some things need to change. "I think I started off real well, then I started fading away a little bit," the sophomore said. "I don't know why. I've got to get back to those six-, seven-, eight-tackle games."

Miller's production has dropped since the South Carolina game, an eight-tackle effort that coach Mark Richt called Miller's breakout game. In each of the following two games, he had one tackle, and he got just three against Vanderbilt.

Miller said he thinks he needs to be running to the ball more to get into the action, but Jancek said plays simply aren't going Miller's way.

Plenty of plays should come his way today against Arkansas (2-4, 0-3). The Razorbacks lead the SEC in rushing and run the ball more than 44 times per game on average. The No. 4 Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0) play Arkansas at 12:30 p.m. in Sanford Stadium. The game will be televised by JP.

"This will give me more of a chance to hit somebody," Miller said.

Miller seemed to be the odd man out in Georgia's linebacker rotation during fall camp, behind Jarvis Jackson, Tony Taylor and Danny Verdun-Wheeler. Instead, he's been the only Bulldog linebacker to start every game this season.

"He has been a real pleasant surprise," Richt said. "All throughout camp, we were hoping Brandon would play well. We weren't necessarily expecting him to play great."

Overall, he's ninth on the team with 20 tackles.

"From the get-go I had to come in and show them what I can do," Miller said. "And right now I feel like I have to show them something every day, that they can count on me."

Miller's attitude belies the fact that he came into school as one of the most highly recruited players of the last five years. At Miller County High School, he was considered the nation's No. 1 defensive end by Scout.com and one of the top five ends in the country by almost every recruiting service. The fact that he was such a hot commodity apparently was lost on the affable Miller.

"I didn't realize that I was that important of a player," he said. "When I got here, the other players told me, but I still didn't believe them."

Miller's aw-shucks personality is no act, Richt said. In fact, Richt calls him one of the team's "sweetest" players.

"That's good raising," Miller said. "My mother, grandmother, all my family back home. They taught me to respect people."

His attitude doesn't detract from his play, Jancek said, but Miller himself would like to be a little meaner on the field.

"Yeah, I need to get a little more aggressive," he said. "I need to run over some people, throw them down or something."

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