Florida’s Miller being more vocal, studious this spring

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller considered entering the NFL draft after the season, but decided to return to school after weighing his options and meeting with his position coach.

The starting middle linebacker often serves as a vocal leader on defense. 

Take, for example, Florida’s Ventrell Miller.

“You can hear him,” position coach Christian Robinson said. “Even if he's not in on a play, you hear him talking.”

Miller, however, hasn’t always been comfortable in that role, which he assumed last season as David Reese’s replacement. But the redshirt senior is making an effort to be more vocal in 2021, among other things.

“I'm just a low-key guy, but I don’t know, I feel like I shouldn't be,” Miller said. “I’m just working, nose to the ground and I got unfinished business that I'm trying to do.”

Miller led the Gators with 88 tackles last year, including three games with 12 or more tackles. He also recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors against Ole Miss and Tennessee. 

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Miller considered entering the NFL draft after the season, but decided to return to school after weighing his options and meeting with Robinson. 

More:Will Gators' defense improve in 2021? With more time to prepare, Dan Mullen says yes.

“I thought he performed really well, and obviously, he's a driven guy that wanted to do more. But, he had some things he wanted to accomplish,” Robinson said. “I think when you're debating whether to leave or go, it comes down to, are there things left on the table that you think you can accomplish as a team member? Some goals as a Florida Gator? 

“I talk to him all the time about that number 51 jersey. I said, ‘You know, there's a guy that played before you that a lot of people think about in that jersey, and a great player [Brandon Spikes]. You can share some of that if you come back and perform the way that you do and the things that I know you're capable of.’”

With more games on the schedule this year, Miller could become the first UF player to eclipse 100 tackles in a season since Reese in 2017. He’s also looking to improve a couple areas of his game. 

"Definitely was a good feeling last year, but I'm coming out to try to up the bar. Prove myself even more,” Miller said. “I’ve been trying to work on my hands. Getting to the ball more, seeing little things, really just being a student of the game more. Knowing what everybody else is doing, not just what I’m doing. How all the pieces fit together.”