clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona football: DeAndre' Miller ready to take on new role with Wildcats

Maybe 2016 is the year that Miller shows his true talents

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With the complete changeover of assistant coaches on the defensive side of the ball, what the Arizona Wildcats are going to run out there on that side of the ball come September is still largely a mystery.

One thing that we have heard over and over again is the emergence of DeAndre' Miller with the addition of a new position.

"It's definitely a change from what we did last year," Miller said as he tried to avoid giving specifics about what new defensive coordinator Marcel Yates has installed. "Same scheme, but we're going to be doing different stunts and things, but I can't really give that up."

Even though Arizona will be running a new scheme in 2016, practice got a lot simpler with the new staff as well.

"We focused on the basics," Miller explained. "We didn't just come out there and start running schemes and stuff. We actually went back to form tackling and coveraging and different things that Coach Yates (with his experience as a DB coach) helps our linebackers on our feet, and opening our hips and stuff. That's one thing we lacked last year as a linebacker corps was our pass coverage and our hips."

In 11 games last year, Miller was second on the team in tackles for loss with eight, trailing only Reggie Gilbert's 8.5. Miller also had two sacks to go with his 50 total tackles.

Throughout spring, Miller has been working as an outside linebacker / edge rusher type of guy, creating pressure on the quarterback in ways Arizona has been unable to do with the exception of when a healthy Scooby Wright III was out there.

"I definitely feel comfortable doing it," Miller said of him constantly rushing the quarterback. "I feel like I can excel at it."

"It's different," he continued. "I feel like it'll help our defense more playing this role. It's a whole different scheme."

"I've been working on my pass rush and drop because I'm doing both, but I just gotta keep working on my technique and hopefully I can help my defense and the team get some wins."

As long as he's able to stay healthy, unlike the beginning of last year, I see Miller having a breakout season with this new staff and new scheme. He's already shown the ability to get in the backfield in limited attempts. With his focus centered on getting to the quarterback, Miller should be able to put up some big numbers and help trigger a perception change of the Arizona defense.