Now, he’s the only cornerback on the roster with starting experience, a lone veteran surrounded by a talented crew of up-and-comers.
While the role of grizzled veteran may be a new one for Miller, it hasn’t changed his preparation this offseason, he said.
“I don’t think you approach it too much differently,” Miller said. “Every season you want to prepare yourself as a leader, especially if you’re going to be playing.”
Miller started 10 games last season and finished the year with 50 tackles – 37 more than any other cornerback currently on Georgia’s roster.
With the departure of Asher Allen for the NFL draft and Ramarcus Brown to graduation, the task of getting the multitude of young corners, including incoming freshman Branden Smith, ready for action has fallen to Miller, and his influence is already being felt.
“He’s really helping us in the film room just getting focused,” freshman Brandon Boykin said. “When we get out there, there’s no playing around. His mind is focused. It’s really helped us and you can tell how much better we’ve gotten already.”
The improvement will need to come quickly, because Boykin, Vance Cuff, Sanders Commings, Makiri Pugh and Smith are all likely to see increased playing time next season and will be counted on to fill key roles in the secondary.
“We all realize now this is all we’ve got,” Boykin said. “There’s no more Asher, no more Ramarcus, all these experienced guys. We’re going to get thrown into the fire whether we like it or not.”
While Boykin may still be a bit nervous about what’s in store for 2009, Miller said he has the utmost confidence in his young teammates, regardless of how much playing time they’ve had in the past.
“They don’t have the starting experience, but they’ve played in games,” Miller said. “They’re ready to play, that’s what they came here to do, so they’re going to relish the opportunity.”