By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Boise State sophomore wide receiver Matt Miller feels faster. Apparently, he looks it, too.
“He’s gotten a lot faster,” fellow receiver Kirby Moore said. “That’s one thing that he really made an emphasis of, becoming more of a deep threat. And I’m sure we’ll see that through the season. … I’m sure he thought he could have had some bigger plays last year that slipped by and so I think he just wants to capitalize on those.”
Miller’s response: Thanks for noticing.
“I like to think I got a little faster,” he said. “That was one of my main goals this offseason. Hearing Kirby say that makes me feel pretty dang good.”
Miller tied for the team lead with 62 catches last season but averaged 11 yards per catch, 5 yards fewer than Tyler Shoemaker.
With Shoemaker gone, the Broncos need more explosive plays out of Miller.
“I don’t think it hurt me, but it kind of left me one-dimensional at times, not really running those deep routes as much as I wanted to,” Miller said of his 2011 speed. “I think this year I can be more two-dimensional.”
Miller’s new gear will get quite the test in Friday’s opener at Michigan State. He frequently will face cornerback Johnny Adams, a projected NFL first-round draft pick.
“He’s a smart player, a very physical player — he is the real deal,” Miller said. “He’s going to be a great challenge for all the wideouts because he is a great player.”
Michigan State owns the nation’s fourth-longest home winning streak at 14 games — seven wins in each of the past two seasons. That’s the first pair of undefeated home seasons for the school since 1955-56.
The Sporting News ranked Spartan Stadium third on its “Five Toughest Places to Play Right Now” list this year.
“The atmosphere is crazy,” senior right tackle Fou Fonoti said. “It truly feels like family. You feel the love and the support. We feed off the enthusiasm.”
Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough on the game approaching: “It probably won’t hit me till I’m standing in the hotel right before the game. With the students coming back and the buzz starting up, it’s exciting around here.”
Miller on this game: “We’re going to have to be the most prepared we’ve ever been Friday night.”
This will be the 12th night game in the 89-year history of Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are 7-4, including recent last-play wins on a fake field goal (Notre Dame, 2010) and a Hail Mary (Wisconsin, 2011). … Boise State receives $1.2 million for playing this game. … Boise State coach Chris Petersen is 8-1 vs. BCS-conference teams, including six straight wins.
Former Boise State defensive tackle Billy Winn could start for the Browns. Story here.
For Thursday’s paper, I’m writing about fans who are attending the Lions’ game Thursday night to watch Kellen Moore and the Boise State game Friday night.
Moore expects to play more than half of Thursday’s game and likes the idea of a blue-and-orange cheering section at Ford Field.
“That would be fun,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for everyone to cash in and get a little two-for-one deal in Michigan.”
I’ll be at the Lions’ game Thursday night and will blog and tweet about Moore’s performance. The NFL makes its final cuts Friday.
Don’t forget our live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday.