HAS BRANDON MILLER BECOME THE ROCK OF OUR DEFENSE?
Last week, I declared Thomas Brown was The Rock of our offense and then he responded with 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. Coincidence? I think not.
So this week, I am declaring that Brandon Miller has finally answered the bell and has become The Rock of our defense. It all started back towards the end of camp when Coach Richt made some bold comments about the important role Brandon will play for the defense this year.
"Brandon Miller, he's the key to our whole defense," Richt said. "If Brandon Miller can play big and lead the way that he ought to, moving into the mike linebacker position, he's really going to be a key for us. He's very talented. He's very capable."Obviously Coach Richt saw the need for Brandon to fulfill his potential and if he did, his impact would be substantial. Although Brandon moved back to strongside linebacker, the need for him to "play big" remains. He did not get after it very well in the first two games and was replaced as the starter for the WCU game by Akeem Dent. But, instead of sulking or copping a bad attitude, he went out and made 3 tackles on special teams and added three tackles while playing LB in that game. Then he moved back into the starting role for the Alabama game and while he did not have a tremendous game, he recovered the fumbled kickoff that opened the second half and had a pass break up.
It was actually the Ole Miss game where I saw, for the first time, what looked like a mean, nasty and confident Brandon Miller. I think that was his breakout game. He had 6 tackles, a quarterback hurry and the interception which he returned 12 yards and which officially put the game on ice. Two or three of his tackles were big hits that fired up the defense and the crowd. He seemed to be playing faster than I have seen him before. And, this may just be me, but I got the overwhelming sense that this is what the coaches had been expecting all along and I hope that the light has come on for Brandon to go forward and have big games every week like he is capable.
Coach Richt was extremely pleased with Brandon's performance in the Ole Miss game and named him a captain for the Tennessee game as a result. I heard that either in the post-game interview or on the Coach Mark Richt Show Sunday.
If Brandon has indeed elevated his game and can keep it at a higher level, he will definitely lift the entire defense with him. Physically, he is a beast and looks like someone you would want on your side in a dark alley. He is roughly the same size as South Carolina's Jasper Brinkley and equally quick. Brinkley shut down our running game by playing sideline to sideline and busted up everything we tried to do. We really need Brandon to shut down his half of the field with his size, speed and what I hope has become his enlightenment on how to play fast, mean and nasty without hesitation. He must play with passion and desire and if he does, bad things will happen for our opponents.
Photo by Jim Hipple (HT. Paul at Georgia Sports Blog)
I think this photo from the Ole Miss game says volumes about how Coach Willie Martinez feels about Brandon's inspired performance. Don't you just get the sense that this embrace signifies an epiphanic moment for Miller and the recognition thereof by CWM? Lord, I hope so! Let's go Brandon, get mean and nasty and G.A.T.A.