Opportunity Knocks

It's hardly the way Pat Miller would have envisioned earning a start in a bowl game, but the knee injury fellow WVU cornerback Brandon Hogan sustained in the Mountaineers' 35-14 victory over Rutgers in the regular season finale may mean Miller takes the senior's spot when West Virginia plays N.C. State in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Filling in for Hogan isn't a totally new thing for Miller, who started in Hogan's spot when the senior was suspended for WVU's game against Maryland following a DUI arrest earlier this season.

Miller also played the second half of the Rutgers game after Hogan's knee was "sandwiched" between two players on a punt return, according to Mountaineer head coach Bill Stewart.

So while some might see this as a pressure-packed moment for Miller, it's just another chance for the sophomore to put his ability on display.

"It's still just the same game," Miller said. "I'll just go out there and play."

"To other people, it might seem like I feel pressure. But to me, it's an opportunity I've been really wanting. I just feel like now, I've got to go out there and just take it. It's in my hands now. I've just got to do something with it."

Miller touched on that, as well as the talks he and Keith Tandy (who earned his first career start when he replaced Hogan for the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl) have had about jumping into the lineup in a big game, in this interview.

The cornerback also discussed a disagreement he had with Stewart at one point in practice Saturday, which led to a brief shouting match and Miller being pulled to the side of the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility by defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and senior leader J.T. Thomas.

"Everything's good," Miller said of the incident. "They just showed me, you know, it's a bowl game. We're taking a different approach. We ain't got time for that.

"It's showing on both parts, though. The coaches really want to make the players work, and the players really do want to work. That's why some players came and spoke to me."

Miller and Stewart resolved the issue by the end of practice, hugging each other as they came off the field after the two hour workout.

Pat Miller Interview


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