Advertisement

Advertisement

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kansas running back Darrian Miller relishes chance

Kansas half-back Darrian Miller (6) runs through the South Dakota defense in KU's 31-14 win against South Dakota at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.

Kansas half-back Darrian Miller (6) runs through the South Dakota defense in KU's 31-14 win against South Dakota at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.

Advertisement

photo

Kansas half-back Darrian Miller (6) runs through the South Dakota defense in KU's 31-14 win against South Dakota at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.

The first game back was pretty overwhelming for Kansas University football running back Darrian Miller.

Miller, James Sims’ former running mate whose Kansas career was temporarily derailed after a strong freshman season, was back with his old team, in his old stadium, Saturday night. But KU’s 31-14 victory against South Dakota provided him with different circumstances.

The first moment Miller realized things were different came when he walked into the KU locker room and saw his name on the back of his jersey, which now featured a big No. 6 instead of his old No. 3, which now belongs to Tony Pierson.

“It was a lot different, to be completely honest,” Miller said. “As soon as we walked in, I was just sitting there with the guys. I sat there next to (junior Brandon) Bourbon, and I just looked out and was like, ‘Man,’ it’s almost taking my breath away. To put the helmet on, the jersey, I’ve never had my name on the back of the jersey anyway, so as soon as I saw that, it made me feel good and made me feel like the fruits of our labor … we’ve been working so long … it was definitely something.”

The last time Miller played a home game for the Jayhawks — Nov. 12, 2011 vs. Baylor — he rumbled for 147 yards on 24 carries during a 31-30 overtime loss. At the time, the performance seemed like the next big step in a promising career. But what transpired during the next few weeks sent Miller down a different path.

First was a 61-7 loss at Texas A&M. He rushed 11 times for 16 yards in that one and was a non-factor. Then came the season finale against Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Miller didn’t dress. He was suspended by former KU coach Turner Gill. Less than two months later, off-the-field concerns prompted new KU coach Charlie Weis to dismiss Miller from the team.

After a year away from Lawrence — part of which was spent on the roster at Butler County — Miller was welcomed back by the KU staff and did not hesitate to accept the offer. He knew things had changed. Sims clearly had become the team’s top threat. Pierson was right behind him. And Bourbon and Taylor Cox also were too good to keep off the field. Didn’t matter. Miller was up for the challenge of competing and, after being away from the KU sideline, wanted nothing more than a chance.

“After everything I’ve been through, I’m more thankful just to even be sitting on the sideline at any school,” he said. “I know my time’s gonna come, and, when it does, I gotta make the most of it. It’s all just about maturing, and it’s really nothing to sit on the sideline and wait because at least I know that I’m going in.”

Miller got in plenty during Saturday’s victory, finishing with 72 yards on 14 carries, both good for second on the team. He was not the wild highlight machine that many KU fans remember, but he was sharp and maybe even a bit more efficient than before.

“It was fun,” he said. “And it’s been awhile since I’ve had fun playing football. That’s why I didn’t think about carries or anything like that. Just being out there was cool. Just because I’m critical about how I play, I always expect more. But, as a start, it was good. It just felt good to be back running with the team and helping out any way I could.”

Comments

Jack Jones 1 year ago

It is always good to hear of someone doing what is needed to deserve a second chance ~ and, even more so when that person just happens to be a talented running back for The University of Kansas football team.

2

Cmill1221 1 year ago

How many years eligibility does he have? I'm confused, I know he played here his Fr year, did he not play at Butler County last year?

0

clevelandjayhawker 1 year ago

"To put the helmet on, the jersey, I’ve never had my name on the back of the jersey anyway, so as soon as I saw that, it made me feel good and made me feel like the fruits of our labor … we’ve been working so long … it was definitely something.”

Maybe that is why TG's teams lost so many games?

0

rick cowley 1 year ago

Pretty humble remarks from Miller, I like it!

Amazing group of runners to choose from. I hope Charlie keeps them rotating, then go with the hot guy.

0

Doug Cramer 1 year ago

After 3 seasons of Holsopple workouts...Miller will get his chance in the NFL. Stay focused Darrian...work hard in class...and good things will happen for you !

0

Rivethead 1 year ago

I'd like to see him bulk up a little bit (but not at the expense of losing speed). And he definitely needs to work on his blocking skills. But he's fun to watch when he gets past the LOS.

0

KURiggins 1 year ago

He is going to be a beast. Former Gatorade player of the year in Mo. So glad to have him back. Thanks for coming back and staying loyal Miller

0

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

This was a really important pick-up by Weis. It was probably the most important player addition this year. Why? Sims and Cox are gone next year - our two best straight ahead runners. If Miller isn't here, our running game next year might actually be a question mark. With him here, we are still near the top of the league.

0

kureader 1 year ago

I like our backs, but Miller looked like the best back on the field. He was very quick to the hole and somehow slipped right past tacklers for yards that weren't there. I wish we'd have seen more of him in the 1st half ... maybe next week.

0

sports4life 1 year ago

I disagree. While he may be the best at following blocks, he can't break a tackle to save his life. Almost all of his yardage was a result of the blocking, and when he was touched he went down. He's a good back, but definitely not the best.

0

Pbbut 1 year ago

I think Miller is the most exciting back we have. He looks like he could go any time and he's got great balance. As the article pointed out, it's been nearly two years since he carried the ball in competition. He got some of the rust knocked off last week, he's two years older, stronger, and will only get better all around, catching, blocking, etc. If you can't tell, I like this guy's future.

0

KURiggins 1 year ago

He broke tackles ..plenty of them and has speed. You cannot coach speed. Not sure what game some folks were watching but I was there and he broke tackles. Watch the tape

1

Commenting has been disabled for this item.