Coach Miller came to Woodsboro from Flour Bluff and has the Eagles on track for another playoff appearance. We caught up with Coach Miller to get an idea of what he has planned for this season and some insight on coaching.
Coach, it was great to see you at the scrimmage the other day. Your team seemed to be clicking even though practice just started a few weeks ago. After the early playoff exit last year, what have the players done in preparation for this season?
It has been great motivation, the kids had a great offseason and a great summer. We realized that Bartlett beat us because they were stronger and more physical and the coaching staff and players have all vowed that will never happen again.
Is there anything particular the staff incorporated at Flour Bluff that you have brought with you to Woodsboro?
We run a lot of the same stuff offensively and defensively. Plus the offseason work outs are the basically the same. Also we let our players have a lot of say in practice times, off-season music, plays that are working or not working. I really think that helps the kids feel more involved and keeps more kids in the program.
What is the biggest difference in coming from a 4A (currently 5A) to a 1A (currently 2A) school?
Just the number of kids we have out. When I was at Flour Bluff all the kids played just one side of the ball so I got my offensive kids for two hours everyday, while here at Woodsboro they all play both ways so they just get an hour of offense and an hour of defense. We could do a lot more simply because of time. As far as living in a small town there is no comparison. It’s awesome to know every kid, I get to see my family a lot more, and the kids here are awesome.
You replaced QB Ty Quesada with Lionel Brown and now must replace Lionel. Who will take over at the QB position for 2014 and how do they differ from your previous two?
Trent Moses has played linebacker and been the back up quarterback the last two years. It’s the first time I’ve had a kid here that already knows the system at quarterback and what I expect from him. Trent isn’t quite as fast as the previous two, but he’s bigger and stronger and he throws a real pretty ball. The backup is Jaden Wren, Jaden is a sophomore and has a lot of the same qualities Trent has. He’s playing linebacker now and his best asset is his leadership abilities. He’s going to be a good one as he gets older.
The play clock is now 40 seconds and begins following the end of the previous play. How much of a difference will that make with how you manage the game? Is it also a learning curve for the referees?
It shouldn’t affect us. We don’t huddle and try to keep our pace up as much as possible, we have great refs here in the Coastal Bend and it might be a little different for them, but they’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
With the summer heat taking its toll on South Texas, did you do anything to try and minimize the risk of heat related issues for your team?
Yes, we decided to only do one a days this year. We practice from 8-10 and then lift and condition from 11-12. That way we are done before it gets to hot. I takes some practice time away, but the kids are fresh and practice harder because they aren’t saving anything for that afternoon practice.
Concussions have been in the NFL spotlight recently with ex-NFL players discussing the lingering issues they are having from head injuries. Is this an issue you discuss with your players? Are parents aware of concussion symptoms so they can spot them?
We talk about them the first day in pads, and I send the UIL concussion form home with every kid. The parents read that and can keep a heads up for anything that might show them their kids have a concussion.
What made you want to be a coach?
I’ve always wanted to coach, since I was the water boy for the high school team when I was 10. I don’t think I could do anything else.
Victory or loss, what is the most memorable game you have ever been a part of and why?
Our win in 2012 against Kenedy. They were a really good team, we beat them in the last few seconds of the game, I think it convinced our kids that they could play with anybody. Our kids still have that attitude today, and if we lost that game I don’t know if we’d be as good as we are.
What advice would you give to a young man or woman who has aspirations to become a coach?
Make sure its something you really want to do. You spend so much time away from home, you don’t make a lot of money and you will always be second guessed on everything you do. If you think you can handle those things and you really love kids and sports, I’d say go for it and make sure you have a core teaching field so you are more hireable.
Always good talking to you and good luck this season.