Sept. 15, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After being named a Preseason All-Conference USA first teamer and an All C-USA second teamer last season, redshirt junior defensive end Bruce Miller (Canton, Ga) stands ready to help an experienced UCF defensive line. Miller is coming off an impressive 2008 campaign in which he led the Knights' defensively in four statistical categories. The defensive end led the team in sacks (17.0), tackles for loss (7.0), QB hurries (11) and forced fumbles (2) while seeing action in all 12 games.
UCF dropped its C-USA opener last Saturday to Southern Miss with a final score of 26-19. The Knights' defense gave up some big third down plays, but maintained confidence throughout the contest. Miller was able to pick up two sacks in the game and had five tackles total on the day. The defensive lineman is currently first on the team in sacks and second on the team in tackles for losses.
As UCF prepares to square off against Mid-American Conference opponent Buffalo this Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., UCFAthletics.com recently caught up with Miller to get his thoughts on the Knights' defense through the first two games.
You had two sacks against Southern Miss. What was the key of getting to the quarterback last Saturday?
"They had a great offensive line and it was hard at times to get to the quarterback. But it wasn't necessarily the first move but the second move that helped the defensive line as a group to get to him. The effort out of the front four was definitely critical, as well."
You had a crucial fourth-down sack in the third quarter on Saturday. Talk about that play.
"The coaches always stress that we win on the single blocks. Torrell Troup took on a big double team and that helped me get through and passed the tackle to get straight to the quarterback. Torrell really takes on a lot of the double teams, so we really have to help him out and get past those single blocks on the outside."
How does the presence of Torrell Troup and Travis Timmons on the defensive line help you on the outside?
"I don't think we would be what we are if we didn't have those two guys in the middle. Being able to take that attention away from the outside really helps the defensive ends get more pressure on the from the quarterback's blind side. The more he sees that pressure in the front two gaps, the less he sees the ends coming around."
How does the experience of the front seven on your team help the young secondary?
"I think the front seven that have been through the system a while are very knowledgeable with guys like Cory Hogue and Lawrence Young, those guys are basically running the show out there. I think their leadership and intensity really helps out the secondary and defensive line to stay motivated and to work harder every day."
The team fell in a hard-fought game at Southern Miss to open C-USA play. What did you think the team did well in the game and what aspects of the game contributed to the loss?
"It was definitely our third down defense, being one. A lot of the drives we were staying in there on third downs, and we weren't able to get off the field then. At the same time, it was our pass rushing on the line. Being able to get to the quarterback was crucial and sometimes we weren't able to get there and gave up some big plays. But, we're going to practice a lot of that this week to prepare and be able to get off the field late in the game, getting more hands in the face of the quarterback and also to allow our offense to be out there more and get more opportunities to score."
What is the key to getting the team to put that loss in the past and bounce back Saturday?
"Well, we've had a good start to this week's practice, because everyone is bouncing back and ready to get after Buffalo this week. We're not going to let one game get the best of us. Most important thing in this game is to be able to keep our heads up and keep playing each game one at a time."
What have you seen from the Buffalo offense thus far in preparing for this weekend? What do they do well offensively?
"I think they have a very balanced offense. The quarterback does a nice job of mixing up the run and the pass. Their offensive line is a very veteran group and they play well together."
How would you rate the defense through two games?
"I think the defense is never satisfied as a whole. We've left a lot of points out there on the field. The defensive coaches are always stressing on us to do our individual job on the field so that we can help out the other 10 players that are out there. Overall, I think we're doing really well and look forward to continue bringing the pressure week in and week out."
Who do you feel has been the defensive MVP through two games?
"I think Josh Robinson really stepped up as far as being a freshman. That's a really tough spot to be put in, and I think he handled the pressure pretty well. Also, the linebackers are playing very well as a whole, too. They really help control the defense and help us maintain our composure out on the field."
Season tickets and single-game tickets for the Buffalo game are currently available. To order season tickets, or to learn more about attending games at Bright House Networks Stadium, call 407-UCF-1000.