The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

August 23, 2011

Miller has been a force at WVU

MORGANTOWN — It was a big sequence of plays by Julian Miller, then a sophomore. The kind of sequence by which you announce your arrival.

In the Mountaineers’ 17-9 win over Louisville in 2009, Miller recorded three straight sacks of quarterback Will Stein, after Louisville had reached midfield in the game’s final two minutes.

Arrival noted by everyone.

Everyone but Miller, that is.

“It’s funny. I feel like until I leave West Virginia, my (legacy) won’t be recognized,” Miller said. “That feeling that I have arrived, I never personally had that feeling. I have had that feeling that it’s my turn to step up. As far as the feeling of arriving, I really haven’t had it.”

The statistics say he not only arrived, but he has been a force since that arrival.

He has played in all 39 WVU games since coming to WVU in 2008, with 27 starts. He has 128 tackles, 31.5 for a loss of yardage and 21.5 sacks. He is 13 sacks behind all-time leader, rush linebacker Canute Curtis.

Last week he watched former teammate Scooter Berry get into a game for the Houston Texans.

“That’s part of a dream-come-true for me, because that is my ultimate goal as well,” Berry said. “Just to see a guy I played with all these years, a guy who I sat next to in meetings and talked to almost every single day, out there getting that opportunity and chance. It’s like watching my brother go out there and get his chance. Maybe one day I’ll get my chance and a  young guy will be sitting here tweeting about me being out there.”

He will be moving over to Berry’s spot at defensive tackle. He has gained some muscle weight but hasn’t lost his speed, though he has been slowed by an ankle injury he said would be healed by the start of the season.

The change in Miller’s game has been subtle, but noticeable.

“I believe I’m more technique-sound,” Miller said. “I try to get a good punch into the offensive lineman as well as getting low. I work more on trying to perfect my craft as opposed to just going out there and playing at a less weight, being able to free-lance. Playing defense tackle, you     definitely have to play more focused and more technique-sound. That’s one thing about my game that has changed. My technique has gotten better.”

It’s a young defense this year, with Miller and three other starters returning.

“We had so much experience and so many guys who had played (last year),” Miller said of a defense that was No. 3 nationally in overall defense. “This year you have guys who haven’t got much experience, so (I) have to step up as a leader. Help get these guys through certain situations.

“It’s definitely kind of a burden on our backs to try to step up and be better leaders, to be more vocal and help these guys through the hard times.”

He and defensive end Bruce Irvin have been receiving several preseason honors.

“It’s definitely nice to get noticed,” Miller said. “You don’t want all your hard work to go unnoticed. But you can’t get into it too much. You just want to go out there and play. That’s what you did before you got recognized, so you figure you keep doing that. Just make plays and help your team win.”

And when his career ends, how does Miller want to be remembered by the Mountaineer masses?

“Just as a guy who came out every day willing to work hard and wanted the team to be better,” Miller said. “Not any individual accolades. I want to be remembered as a team-oriented guy.”

E-mail: demorrison@

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