Miller Works on Consistency, Separation

There's been a lot of talk about the emergence of freshman wide receiver Kenny Stills into the starting lineup on the preseason depth chart, as well as the importance of slot man Ryan Broyles to have another breakout season, but the third Sooner starting receiver, Dejuan Miller, has been doing his part to make the receiving corps better this fall as well.

"I think Dejuan's right in the middle of competition with a number of guys," said wide receivers coach Jay Norvell.

Last year, there was a lot of juggling around of players because of injuries and inconsistent play.

"I mean, Brandon Caleb was a starter and was playing really well, and he got hurt, and then Dejuan got a chance to play," Norvell said. "You know, Adron Tennell played hot and cold last year, was inconsistent, and Jaz [Reynolds] got a chance to play."

But don't expect it to be that way this time around, with better battles within the group for playing time.

"You know, to start is something that you earn by consistent play and by playing at a high level," Norvell said. "And we have competition that we did not have last year, and so, you know, some of the guys that were playing last year, they're finding that there's a lot more competition this year."

One of those guys is definitely Miller, who understands how he'll have to fight to keep his spot with five talented newcomers and others fueling the competition among the group.

"I'm willing to do that," Miller said. "I'm willing to earn whatever I can to get more balls my way or to have the chance to make more plays, but I'm willing to earn that."

In order to do so, Norvell said Miller needs to work on one major thing.

"Just consistency, Just overall consistency in his play and making plays consistency, routes, depths of routes [is the biggest issue]," Norvell said. "He's a big, long-legged guy, and, you know, he's shown ability to catch the ball in a crowd at times. We just want him to be a consistent playmaker. You know, and to be a starter, a consistent starter [he has to do that]."

Miller pinpointed some things he's been emphasizing to become more consistent.

"I think I need to really work on trying to really just try to get separation from the defensive back and trying to find the ball in the air mainly on deep balls, having better ball skills and, you know, being stronger and going up and getting the ball," Miller said.

As far as separation is concerned, there is one imperative thing receivers must do.

"I think the key is just getting off the line," Miller said. "Mainly you've got to get the DB's hands off you. You can't slow up the route. That's a timing thing. So anytime a DB gets his hands on you, that's, you know, a half a second late on an out route, on a post because at the same you're not just fighting the DB, you're fighting the defensive lineman getting to the quarterback."

"So, I mean separation is, to me, the biggest key because if you can get separation from a DB, that allows a quarterback to find you better and to be a bigger target."

And he has a big advantage there.

"Well, I mean, I'm a bigger guy so I try to use my strength against the smaller corners, and kind of just try to wear them out because I've got about 30 or 40 lbs. on almost every corner on the team," Miller said. "So I'm not really trying to juke and, you know, dance and stuff like that. If he's going to press me, I'm going to try to give him a little something."

With all this said, all the improvements seem to be coming together for Miller.

"It feels more natural than it did last year," Miller said. "And you know, I kind of feel like one of the older guys now, so for me to make plays, you know, I feel like that took for me as a veteran that I have no choice but to go out and compete [at a winning level]."

And if he does so, the Sooner receivers look pretty good with Broyles, Miller and Stills.

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