By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Boise State sophomore Matt Miller has brought a fullback’s tenacity to the wide receiver position and established himself as one of the top leaders on the team.
Miller leads the team with 25 catches for 268 yards and a touchdown. Many of his catches have been on medium-length throws and he has fought one or two defenders for an extra couple yards, sometimes to get the first down.
“The biggest thing that jumps out about Matt to me is that dude’s tough,” junior quarterback Joe Southwick said. “He’s obviously got great physical tools. He can catch. He can block for the run game. … It’s mental toughness. ‘If I get the ball here, I’m going to get it done.’ We can rely on him to do that and he’s shown that this year. He’s definitely a leader on this offense. Everyone looks up to him. It’s kind of crazy — he’s only a sophomore.”
Quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith said the Broncos are trying to get Miller the ball more. He’s gone from two catches against Michigan State to seven each against Miami (Ohio) and BYU to nine against New Mexico.
But Smith says Miller also has been a playmaker in the run game. He provided the key block on a safety to spring tailback D.J. Harper on a 43-yard touchdown run against Miami.
“You should see him block,” Smith said. “He’s had some huge blocks.”
Miller also has been excellent on special teams. He’s the holder on the PAT/field goal unit, running the swinging-gate PAT plays, and a rusher on the punt-return team.
The Broncos’ dominant performance on kickoff against New Mexico stemmed from Thursday’s practice, players and coaches said. The group was almost too intense that day.
The Broncos were facing the nation’s No. 1 kick returner in New Mexico’s Chase Clayton.
“That was a good motivator and hopefully it will just carry over from there,” sophomore nickel Corey Bell said.
Sophomore safety Lee Hightower on going from a triple-option opponent to a spread opponent: “It’s the challenge of college football. It’s a lot different than high school or the pros. There are a lot of different offenses.”
Hightower on the early start: “I haven’t really played an early game like that since Pop Warner.”