Healthy and Ready to Go

Last season one of the upcoming and promising defenders on the team was Willie Miller. Miller a redshirt junior this season was a backup linebacker to Bryan Lape and Jason Malloy. However, after suffering a season ending injury in practice early in the season things changed for both Miller and the Broncos.

Following the injury Miller could be seen at practice riding the stationary bike and shouting words of encouragement to his teammates. He would talk about needing to be a leader on the team for the 2003 season and how he needs to be ready to play.

The Broncos were hit hard with injuries and players leaving, especially at the linebacker positions. With the loss of Josh Behrens and Miller due to injuries the Broncos went to the Junior College ranks and picked up Dan Steinau and Mike Giorgianni and turned to redshirt freshman Paul Tithof to step up this season. Giorgianni and Tithof have stepped up and filled in at linebacker more than admirably this season. They have done so well that Miller has been moved to defensive end according to the team roster.

Miller's journey back to getting back on the field has been everything but easy. "Anytime somebody has injuries, especially one's that take numerous months you go on a roller coaster of emotions. But to put it simply I am so fortunate to be where I am at right now," he said. Miller went on to say, "Without the help of Kyle Blecha and the rest of our trainers to get me back to where I wanted to be, without the coaches believing in me and knowing that I will get all of the work that I needed to get done to be back here. I just feel like I'm on top of my game right now. I think I'm the best prepared I've been. I'm more mature than I've ever been. I just expect so much success to come from this point on."

Miller told us that "without a doubt" he is finally 100% healthy.

With Miller back in the lineup and seeing considerably more playing time each game he adds some much needed depth to an extremely tired defense. But watching practice this week you see something that seems to have been missing from practices; energy and enthusiasm. The Broncos are going through another tough season and unlike the previous seasons, this season the defense is feeling the strain of being on the field more than the offense is.

Because the defense has played more minutes this season, they have had a tough time stopping the run and the pass. "I think practice for a defensive stand point; we just have to step it up regardless of our record, regardless of who we have played each week into a season we expect to get better than the week before just from added preparation, guys knowing their assignments better." Miller continued to say, "So the focus this week is we decided to quit beating ourselves and just focus on our keys, our jobs and what we need to do and just go out and play our game."

On Saturday the Broncos head to Connecticut for their first ever meeting against the UConn Huskies. For Miller and the Broncos defense this is a chance to step up and say we aren't finished with this season just yet.

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