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By Roy Miller as told to Charlie Campbell
The days and practices are adding up. It was nice to get out of the sun and go to the movies, but I'm really enjoying practice these days. I'm just really excited every time I go out there. The defense is looking good, actually the whole team is looking good. That is what is most important – the team improving.
Personally, everything is going well. I had a couple of sacks in a practice the other day. I'm not sure where I stand on tackles for loss, but I'm getting a lot of production, and I'm getting a lot better. Still, I have a lot of work to do. I'm looking forward to that. I can make a lot of plays in this defense, and I know over time I can, and will, get better.
I've been talking with [defensive line] Coach [Robert] Nunn about things I need to change. They have definitely been helping me refine different things here and there. I've had to change my stance in what would not seem like a big deal because your foot is literally a few inches from where it used to be – and your leg is bent only slightly different – but is a big deal. The reason is habit and muscle memory. You have to break the old habits, and develop muscle memory with exploding from your new stance.
The little things and details is what I'm focused on getting better. The stance is one thing, but there is other stuff like lift your butt up a little bit, or get more square on the guard. Another thing I need to do is use stuff other than my power. I need to get looks, and open things up a little bit. Drop my hips, use speed, a spin move – everything. All that stuff I need to do repetitively and get better at. I'm working on a move that when I get it right I think it will be real good. Having that move with some speed, a bull rush, and more, and I think I'll have a nice arsenal of moves for pass rushing.
I've been getting work on the first-team five-man defensive line for goal line and short yardage. The goal line defense is a lot of fun. I have a great deal of respect for [Ryan] Sims and [Chris] Hovan. I love playing next to those guys. They are experienced guys that play great technique. They make you look better, so anytime you are in with them you're feeling pretty good. Going to work with them is an honor, and at the same time, it is a chance for me to learn.
I've started to get in on special teams. At Texas I didn't play special teams, but I did do some things out of the ordinary. I played goal line fullback, and short-yardage fullback. I brought it up to Coach [Raheem] Morris, and he said he liked it, and all of a sudden, I'm in on kick returns. I like it a lot. With Jimmy Wilkerson being an every-down player now, the team needed someone to fill his spot on kick returns, so I'm happy to be able to help the team in that capacity.
How it all came about was I talked to Coach Morris. I told him, "Coach, I can help you out in short-yardage." He said "Well, I like the sound of that." That led to the next week and they had me talk with [special teams] Coach [Rich] Bisaccia about it, and being a blocker on kick returns. I'm not getting in as a fullback on offense, yet. I'm not sure if it will happen this year. We kind of just talked about during OTAs, and I was kind of hurt at the time when we went into it. They haven't brought me in for it yet, but I'm ready and willing.
I thought I'd tell you about some of the offensive guys that have played well against me from my perspective, but maybe are not as well known because they are new to the team or are backups. At guard, we have two guys playing really good football right now. They are Julius Wilson and Marc Dile. They are doing great, and present challenges for defensive tackles. I also like the new wide receiver that just came in, Mario Urrutia. On his first day he looked impressive. That was an eye-opener when he took that short pass 60 or 70 yards to the house.