Miles' Position Switch Shows Selflessness, Leadership - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Miles' Position Switch Shows Selflessness, Leadership

Updated:
MORGANTOWN -

It's too bad that no one was alerted about Donovan Miles' position change until after player requests had to be in for interviews on Tuesday.

News like that, a fifth year senior who has only played one position in four years now moved to a whole different side of the ball, warrants a chat with the kid himself.

What went through his mind when he first heard of the switch? How did it go when he got his first carry in individual drills or made his first block against a player whose position he used to share?

The good news for Miles is the media was not informed until that night when all requests had been due hours prior to the announcement. He would have a full week before he had to sit and answer any questions about the transition from a career at linebacker to a new beginning at fullback.

Miles committed to West Virginia in 2007 and stuck with the Mountaineers through a turbulent time and the resulting coaching change. He began his career at WVU in the 2008 season and has been a part of two bowl victories and two bowl losses.

In those years, he has never once started and has only played in a total of 16 games, coming up with 10 tackles. Eleven of those appearances came last season, mostly in special teams duty, and all of the tackles were from that year as well.

With rising senior fullback Matt Lindamood leaving the team this spring, the opportunity to play that position opened and the most natural transition in terms of physical build would be to move a linebacker to fill the void.

"When Coach [Holgorsen] approached me about any of my linebackers that I think could provide depth at that position [I thought of] Donovan immediately because he's a physically tough kid," says Miles' former coach on the staff, Keith Patterson.

In Holgorsen's "trey" formation, the Mountaineers deploy three backs around Geno Smith and Ryan Clarke is the only remaining fullback from three who manned those positions last season. Miles has an opportunity if he can seize it.

On Thursday, running back Shawne Alston made a comment during practice that Miles was making the transition more quickly than he anticipated and just by watching him in a few brief drills it was clear that assessment was accurate.

When the team ran the Oklahoma drill, he was pinned up against the linebackers. While his blocking technique could use improvement, his power was undeniable. On more than one occasion, a teammate at his former position ended up on the ground while trying to get past Miles.

His head may not be in the same place Clarke's is, but his body sure is and at 6-foot-1, 241-pounds, he is taller and heavier than anyone else in his meeting room and with four years of linebacker under his belt, you can bet he is in terrific shape in terms of endurance as well.

And boy, has he endured.

Four years of working just as hard as those around him, but never seeing it pay off on the field when it really counted the way he and certainly the coaching staff envisioned when he first signed out of Brooke Point High School in Stafford, Va.

That motivation, that drive, may make this switch turn out perfectly for both the individual and the team.

"He wants to [succeed] very bad, he loves this program and he was the guy that stepped up and said, ‘I'll do whatever it takes to help this football team,'" says Patterson. "He stepped right in and he's doing a nice job from what I can tell."

Tuesday night after practice, after Miles should have had enough time to really adjust to this new place on the field and this new role on the team, you can bet he will be requested for interviews.

He should have quite a story to tell.

  • More SportsMore>>

  • Izzo-Brown Inducted into WVSA Hall of Fame

    Izzo-Brown Inducted into WVSA Hall of Fame

    Monday, September 18 2017 1:34 PM EDT2017-09-18 17:34:43 GMT
    WVSA announces induction of WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown as meritorious member into WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)WVSA announces induction of WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown as meritorious member into WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    The West Virginia Soccer Association has announced the induction of WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, as a meritorious member into the WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018.

    The West Virginia Soccer Association has announced the induction of WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, as a meritorious member into the WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018.

  • Inside WVU Game Day: The Mountaineer Mascot

    Inside WVU Game Day: The Mountaineer Mascot

    Sunday, September 17 2017 10:32 AM EDT2017-09-17 14:32:13 GMT
    The Mountaineer Mascot celebrates a WVU touchdown at FedEx Field.The Mountaineer Mascot celebrates a WVU touchdown at FedEx Field.

    The atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium on game day is truly unlike any other and the Mountaineer mascot plays a big part in making the experience one of a kind.

    The atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium on game day is truly unlike any other and the Mountaineer mascot plays a big part in making the experience one of a kind.

  • No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders

    No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders

    Sunday, September 10 2017 5:18 PM EDT2017-09-10 21:18:38 GMT
    Michaela Abam and the WVU women's soccer team earned a 3-0 victory over Richmond on Sunday. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone)Michaela Abam and the WVU women's soccer team earned a 3-0 victory over Richmond on Sunday. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone)

    The No. 3-ranked WVU women’s soccer team earned its fifth win of the season on Sunday. Hear from Coach Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers after the win.

    The No. 3-ranked WVU women’s soccer team earned its fifth win of the season on Sunday. Hear from Coach Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers after the win.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • WVi Has Moved!

    WVi Has Moved!

    Friday, September 2 2011 1:45 PM EDT2011-09-02 17:45:05 GMT
    Don't worry, wvillustrated.com is still alive and well. WVi has upgraded to a brand new and improved website. Please check out http://www.wvillustrated.com/ We hope you enjoy the new WVi experience.
  • WATCH: WVU Assistants, Players Talk Win Over Kansas

    WATCH: WVU Assistants, Players Talk Win Over Kansas

    Watch full postgame coverage of West Virginia Football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen and his players as they spoke with the media following their win, on the road, at Kansas.

    Watch full postgame coverage of West Virginia Football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen and his players as they spoke with the media following their win, on the road, at Kansas.

  • WATCH: WVU Coach Holgorsen Postgame Presser

    WATCH: WVU Coach Holgorsen Postgame Presser

    Watch full video of West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgorsen as he addresses the media following the Mountaineers' win over Kansas. 
    Watch full video of West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgorsen as he addresses the media following the Mountaineers' win over Kansas. 
  • WVU Defense Builds Depth Through Injury

    WVU Defense Builds Depth Through Injury

    WVU senior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton celebrates a sack against Delaware State. (PHOTO: Scott Lituchy)WVU senior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton celebrates a sack against Delaware State. (PHOTO: Scott Lituchy)

    Dylan Tonkery, Marvin Gross and Kenny Robinson step up for the Mountaineer defense as team deals with injuries and open competition. 

    Dylan Tonkery, Marvin Gross and Kenny Robinson step up for the Mountaineer defense as team deals with injuries and open competition. 

  • Game Recap: WVU Survives in Lawrence

    Game Recap: WVU Survives in Lawrence

    Heading into Saturday’s game between West Virginia (3-1) and Kansas (1-3) a lot of the talk surrounded the two quarterbacks, Will Grier and Peyton Bender. One of the best rushing performances in Kansas football history kept the Jayhawks within striking distance, but WVU proved to be too much, holding on 56-34. 

    Heading into Saturday’s game between West Virginia (3-1) and Kansas (1-3) a lot of the talk surrounded the two quarterbacks, Will Grier and Peyton Bender. One of the best rushing performances in Kansas football history kept the Jayhawks within striking distance, but WVU proved to be too much, holding on 56-34. 

  • 2017-18 WVU Men’s Basketball Schedule

    2017-18 WVU Men’s Basketball Schedule

    Bob Huggins looks on as the Mountaineers practice at the SAP Center in San Jose. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)Bob Huggins looks on as the Mountaineers practice at the SAP Center in San Jose. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 31, 2017) – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and the Big 12 Conference have announced the 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule. 

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 31, 2017) – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and the Big 12 Conference have announced the 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule. 

  • PHOTOS: WVU Gets Win at Kansas

    PHOTOS: WVU Gets Win at Kansas

    Browse photos taken by WVi Photographer, Geoff Coyle, of the Mountaineers' win, on the road, over Kansas. 
    Browse photos taken by WVi Photographer, Geoff Coyle, of the Mountaineers' win, on the road, over Kansas. 
  • Long Grateful for Opportunity on WVU Hoops Staff

    Long Grateful for Opportunity on WVU Hoops Staff

    James Long (center) returns to the WVU basketball team as assistant director of basketball operations. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)James Long (center) returns to the WVU basketball team as assistant director of basketball operations. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    Former Mountaineer walk-on continues to live dream as part of Bob Huggins' staff for the upcoming season. 

    Former Mountaineer walk-on continues to live dream as part of Bob Huggins' staff for the upcoming season.