In the Trenches with Josh Miller

Oct. 11, 2002

Josh Miller may look like a gentle giant off the field, where his shynessbecomes evident, but between the sidelines the sophomore defensive tacklehas established himself as an aggressive force bent on wrecking opposingoffenses. In just his first year as a starter, Miller leads all Huskydefensive linemen with 16 tackles, and has added one sack andthree-and-a-half tackle for-loss. used the lure of Phillycheestesteaks to get the usually-shy Miller to open up about his Jekyll andHyde demeanor, his 'Simpsons'-related nickname, and his love for defensiveline coach Randy Hart. You look like a big teddy bear. What changes on gameday?
Josh Miller: 'I1m the quiet guy. I just go over all the situations inmy head, and what I1m going to do.'

GH: Defensive line coach Randy Hart has a legendary temper, and I'veheard he saves some of his best material for you. What is it like workingwith him?
Miller: 'I don't think he's picking on me. When I'm out there, I justthink if he's yelling at me it's like a side view. I see that he's yelling,but I'm trying to get every piece of what he's yelling about in my head so Ican learn. I don't think he's yelling at me; it's just his coaching style.When he yells, he's trying to coach me. I don't take it personally, I takeit positively and listen to him coach me to find out what I'm doing wrong.(laughing) It does make me mad a lot of the time, though.'

GH: When you first came in did you think, 'Whoa, what's this guy allabout?'
Miller: 'Yeah, it was a big change for me because my coach in highschool was a big calm guy. When he would coach me up he would tell me themove I had to do, with the technique I had to do, and with which foot I hadto step. When I came in here, he came in yelling at me, OeYou've got to dothis! You've got to move this way! You've got to put your foot this way!' Hewould tell me when he would yell at me, and at the beginning I didn'tunderstand what he was trying to tell me because he would yelling. I wasthinking negatively, like, OeThis guy's yelling at me because he doesn't likeme.' It took me a while to understand that all the times he was yelling atme, he was trying to coach me.'

GH: Washington switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 this year, addingan extra defensive lineman. Which is harder for you?
Miller: 'Hmmm. It all depends. What's hardest, probably, is when werun a 5-2 and it's a pass, or when we run a 3-4 and they run. On the 3-4 inthe run you have two gaps to cover, and when you're out there it seems likea wider view. In reality you have your linebackers backing you up. From mystandpoint of making plays and wanting to make plays, it makes me feel likeit's going to be harder for me to make a play.'

GH: You came in playing d-line from the get go, do you ever entertainthe notion of changing sides and lining up as a wide receiver?
Miller: 'I'm happy with playing d-line. My fantasy is to one day, inthis stadium, catch a football and run for a touchdown. If anything, I wantto score a defensive touchdown.'

GH: When you guys are doing one-on-one's during practice, who is thetoughest offensive lineman to get around?
Miller: 'I don't ever go against Khalif [Barnes], he's the best. DanDicks is pretty hard to get around, too, because he has a wider base.'

GH: When you play on the FieldTurf, the little pieces of rubber flyup everywhere. Teams that have played on it before have complained aboutgetting those tiny pieces in their eyes. Is that ever a problem for you,like after you tackle someone?
Miller: 'For me it's not a problem. I don't pay attention to it. I'mtoo tired to pay attention to little things like that. It's a problem afterpractice, though, when you're in the locker room getting dressed and youfeel all these little black balls all over your body falling off. That's aproblem. The turf is great. The only disadvantage is that it lacks thatsmell of freshly-cut grass.'

GH: Freshly-cut grass? Why is that such a big deal?
Miller: 'When we went to the Holiday Bowl, and the Rose Bowl,whenever we came out to practice it smelled like freshly-cut grass. Thatreminds me of home.'

GH: You're on the line with Tank [Terry Johnson], and word on theteam is he's kind of a slob. What do you think his worst habit is?
Miller: 'Habit? Like what he does? I really don't know what his worsthabit is. I don't pay attention. I try to block that part out.'

GH: Probably a wise move. Well, Terry is known as 'Tank,' and KaiEllis is referred to as 'The Creature.' Do you have a nickname yet?
Miller: 'No. Well, a lot of people call me Milhouse; Khalif Barnesmade it up for me because I used to wear glasses all the time and I was theone who kept to himself, like Milhouse on OeThe Simpsons.' So Khalif calledme Milhouse and Larry Tripplett thought it was the funniest thing. From thenon they started calling me that.'

GH: That's probably something you don't want coming up on ESPN oranything?
Miller: 'I don't know. It doesn't bother me at all, if they wanted todo it wouldn't bother me. It's just a little weird to me.'

GH: So is there any nickname beside Milhouse that you would like?What if I started calling you 'The Angry Teddy Bear?'
Miller: (laughing) 'NO! That is not acceptable!'

contributing to Steve Hitchcock

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