Jul 4, 2012 10:02 AM by Alan Cutler
Coming out of Bryan Station High in Lexington, Scout.com ranked Darrian Miller as one of the top 20 offensive tackles in America.
In a perfect world, Darrian Miller would not have played last year as a freshman. UK had no choice. His lack of strength and experience put him at a disadvantage. This season, Miller is hoping things will be different.
"That's what I like to do," says Miller. "I enjoy punishing people."
The odds are almost overwhelming. If you are a true freshman playing the offensive line in the SEC, you are not going to be strong enough. That was part of Miller's problem last year.
"I've gotten strong. Pretty strong. A lot stronger than last year."
Compared to how he looked coming out of high school, it's obvious Miller's body has changed, and it had to. That's normal.
It doesn't matter that Miller is smart. Learning to play with the big boys in the toughest conference in America when you aren't ready isn't easy.
"Definitely. It's not a matter of memorizing. You are not going to memorize all of it by any means. You actually have to learn it, and when you actually try to go based on memory, you get a lot of things jumbled up, and it's just not beneficial to your offense line play at all."
Miller is hoping to have fun this year. Last season wasn't fun.
"Destroyed. It happens. As long as your technique is good you can disarm some of the rush, but you still need strength. A lot of strength to play on the offensive line and be effective."
Even with three new starters, Miller expects the offensive line to be better because as a group, they are together.
"Cohesiveness on the offensive line. We are trying to get more cohesive as a group so we can be more effective."
It isn't everyday UK has two new starters on the offensive line right next to each other, and they both played high school football in Lexington. Miller and left guard Zach West have also become good friends.
"It just sort of happened and playing adjacent on the offensive line had to happen. You have to know how the person on your left or right thinks in certain situations. You have to know how to help them out. They have to know how you think just in case they know where you screw up. Most of the time they can help you with that."
West sat out last year as a freshman. With no game experience and much less practice time, he has some catching up to do.
"He knows what he is doing up here, but he hasn't gotten his body in the right position yet. But, he's working on it."
"I know exactly what he's going through. I just try and help him out as much as I can."
When you combine the talent both of these new starters have, with game experience, the left side of the offensive line could end up being a strength for UK football.