WVU's Miller Gets Redemption, Moves On - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU's Miller Gets Redemption, Moves On


Any cornerback, or really a defender in general, will tell you that among the most important parts of his job is to simply forget.

Forget the last play, forget the last game and focus only on what is ahead of you. That mentality has worked wonders for players in the past and will continue to do so as long as there is time left on the clock and games left on the schedule.

"You can name any top corner in the NFL, whether it be [New York Jets' corner Darrelle] Revis or [Philadelphia Eagles' corner Nnamdi] Asomugha, they've all had bad games and I've got the highlights to prove it," West Virginia cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts says. "Move on."

WVU senior corner Pat Miller has had his share of poor efforts, as have the rest of his teammates on that side of the ball. There have been blown coverages, missed tackles and beaucoup de points surrendered, but against Texas, there were opportunities to make things right.

"Pat is a very good corner," says WVU receiver Stedman Bailey. "He has very long arms and as far as him playing bump and run, he's very good with knocking you off your route because he uses his hands to shoot them and try to get in your chest to reroute you. I think when he's out there in the real game, he's probably thinking too much and that's his problem for why he hasn't been playing his best ball."

Facing Texas, Miller had that opportunity to clear his mind and play just like he does everyday in practice when he lines up to face Bailey one-on-one.

The defense came up with key stops throughout the game, but none may have been bigger at the time than a pass breakup on fourth-and-13.

Trailing by three with just over eight minutes remaining, Texas decided to go for it and once again test a defense that had already yielded 31 points (seven came from a Geno Smith fumble recovered in the end zone).

Pat Miller was the Mountaineer who received the challenge, as quarterback David Ash targeted Mike Davis near the WVU sideline. Miller reached up and knocked down the attempt, giving the ball back to the visitors at a crucial juncture in the showdown.

Miller's teammates and coaches erupted, pouring onto the field as though the final seconds had ticked off the clock. There was excitement for the play, sure, but just as much elation was directed at the player who had made it.

"That was huge," says WVU receiver Stedman Bailey. "Throughout the year, that might have been a play that might have been completed, but Pat stood up and was able to break that pass up."

"We all believe in each other and that's part of having a good team," says Miller. "It's for us, as a team, to push everybody along and make sure everybody is comfortable and everybody goes out there and plays the best game they can play."

Roberts called the scene on the field "pandemonium" after that play and when the game was over and the Mountaineers had improved to 5-0 on the season, he rushed to where Miller stood celebrating with the West Virginia fans and found his corner for a hug and a few words.

"I told him it was a great game, we were very pleased with the performance, but no one's going to remember that at 2 o'clock on Saturday," says Roberts. "It's just going to be something in the past. We're preparing ourselves right now to go down to Lubbock and have another good performance and hopefully come away with the win."

It's true. No one will remember the play when the Mountaineers are lining up for kickoff on Saturday against Texas Tech. It will be a part of the past. And the same line that Miller has always told himself about forgetting the past after a negative result will be true following the positive.

"I was happy that I made the play, but I really can't keep going off that one play," says Miller. "It was a big part of the game, but just go on to the next play."

The goal for Miller and the rest of the defense is that the next time there is a play of that magnitude and West Virginia comes out on the winning end, the celebration on the sideline is far more subdued. Not because they want less energy at the game, but because they want those small victories to become the norm.

"I told our guys that at some point, as we develop as a unit, we're not going to be elated at every play that we make," says Roberts. "It's going to be an expectation and an understanding that we're going to make plays."

In a league like the Big 12, passes will continue to be thrown his way and, regardless of what happened the last play, Miller will continue to have his opportunities.

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