September 1, 2009

Miller making strides on the defensive front

In 2006 there was not a higher rated prospect in the state of Oregon than tight end/defensive end Gabe Miller. The Lake Oswego star catapulted up the rankings and was coveted by Oregon, California and Colorado, but when the dust settled, it was the Beavers who landed the heralded four-star athlete.

"I had a great time down here on my visit and loved the coaches," Miller told BeaverBlitz recently. "Coach Riley was always so nice and friendly. He's just such a good guy and I liked his style of coaching. It was kind of a tough decision for me, but I'm definitely happy with my decision to play at Oregon State."

It hasn't been smooth sailing though as injuries have plagued Miller early in his career. He's suffered two ruptured Achilles tendons, but feels good and that he's finished a strong fall campaign after moving from tight end to defensive end in the spring.

The move was actually a joint decision between Miller and the coaches. It came as a pleasant surprise to many Beaver fans who felt that Miller's strength lied on the defense.

"The move was a little bit of a combination as I set up a meeting with Coach Riley during the winter and talked to him about switching and he said that he and Coach Banker had already thought of and talked about it a little bit," Miller said. "He said he liked the idea and to go ahead and make the switch."

"I liked playing defense in high school and it has always come natural to me," he added. "I guess maybe it is my natural position."

Now after spending the spring and fall with the defensive front, Miller is feeling settled and he likes his new role.

"It's going good I feel like I'm starting to get really comfortable with the position and I'm starting to play fast and I'm definitely enjoying the switch," he said. "Coach Joe is good and he's taught me a lot. He's been real nice with me trying to get caught up with everyone."

Miller has definitely caught up as he is currently playing behind starter Ben Terry and is sure to see time in this year's rotation. He is thankful for his opportunity and is working hard to help keep the legacy of strong defensive ends alive.

"My first year here was rough because I had the two Achilles ruptures…it was hard on me," Miller said. "But since then everything has been great. I'm feeling good and I think this is the healthiest fall camp that I've had. Everything is going good."

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