Miller & Darkins can draw upon experience

CORVALLIS -- Two talked about position changes for this spring have already been well documented on BF.C. But what emerged today in a talk with Mike Riley was that the idea for the changes -- Gabe Miller from tight end to defensive end, and Will Darkins from linebacker to fullback -- were suggested by the players themselves. And both players have experience to draw upon in their new spots.

Mike Riley said today Gabe Miller came to him and asked about making the switch to d-end.

"With good depth at tight end, it made it easy for me," said Riley.

Miller, a junior-to-be, was a two-way phenom coming out of Lake Oswego High in the class of 2006. He played mostly linebacker and safety on defense and was named the 4A Oregon Defensive Player of the Year his senior campaign.

His OSU career was delayed when he tore an Achilles' tendon his senior season in track and he ultimately joined the tight ends group in Corvallis after a redshirt season spent rehabbing and battling a recurrence of the injury.

But Riley said that the staff had originally thought he would line up at defensive end. That looks to now be in the cards.

ALSO COMING TO Riley was Will Darkins, first during the practices for the Sun Bowl, to volunteer his moving to the offensive backfield.

"He will be a fullback, but he will learn the running back (position), just like Andy Stewart did," said Riley.

Darkins was first team all-state at both running back and linebacker his senior year, rushing for 1,148 yards during the regular season. His junior year, he carried the ball to the tune of 1,422 yards with 18 touchdowns.

The possible return of Jeremy Francis, who emerged out of the Beavers' backfield particularly as a receiving threat late in the season, is still decidedly up in the air, said Riley.

Francis' absence this spring, along with Quizz being held out of contact, could potentially mean Darkins sees plenty of practice reps at his new position.

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