Defensive showing

White 7Green 6

Senior linebacker Sam Miller has been waiting patiently for his chance to show the USF coaching staff what he can do. His first opportunity in live game action came in the Spring Game on Saturday, and he didn’t disappoint.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Miller led the Green Team with eight tackles and one sack in a 7-6 loss at Raymond James Stadium. Miller, who made the switch from safety to linebacker coming out of high school, has had to wait his turn for playing time behind Stephen Nicholas and Patrick St. Louis.

He doesn’t have to wait anymore.”It’s a great feeling to get on the field and play,” Miller said. “Of course, I’ve been waiting a long time for this – four or five years – so if I get my shot, I get my shot. If I don’t, I’m still going to keep working hard.”

The transition to linebacker was difficult for Miller. He’s still learning the position, but he feels more comfortable on the field. Miller gave praise to linebacker Ben Moffitt, a high school teammate, for helping with the switch.

“We have great coaches on the defensive side of the ball that are helping me out,” Miller said. “Ben is also helping me with making some of the calls, and I feel comfortable compared to last year.”

Miller is battling with junior Brouce Mompremier for one of the two vacant outside linebacker spots. Miller took the first step in proving he has what it takes to be the starter for next year.

Miller praised Moffitt for being a mentor to not only himself, but also other players on the team. Moffitt comes into his senior season as one of the leaders of the defense, along with cornerbacks Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins.

“With him being a family guy, that’s my inspiration, and he motivates me,” Miller said. “I look up to him as a family guy, and he’s a good guy to look up to. He motivates not only me, but other guys on the team.”

Sophomore Chris Robinson also had an impressive showing for the Green Team, with seven tackles, two batted-down passes and one sack. Robinson is looking to get in shape in case he needed to rotate between linebacker and defensive end.

“Coach (Wally) Burnham told me I needed to have a good game, and he was walking through some things,” Robinson said. “There are still things I need to learn because I’m trying to learn defensive end and linebacker, but it’s all starting to come together now.”

Robinson seems to be the front-runner to replace St. Louis at the strongside linebacker position. Robinson, however, brings extra dimensions to the field: He can rotate between two positions, and he received playing time last year.

“Getting playing time last year was big for me and is what I needed,” Robinson said. “That actually gave me the courage to be able to play, because I was little timid about everyone being so big. Coach Burnham told me it wasn’t about being big, it’s about being fast, and that’s what I am and I needed that.”

Sophomore defensive end George Selvie picked up where he left off last year with seven tackles, one interception and one sack. Selvie displayed the quickness and strength at defensive end that could make him a force on defense.

“I knew that guys on defense would play hard,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “There wasn’t anyone that really opened my eyes.”

Even though the referees were instructed to blow the whistle quickly to protect the quarterbacks, the defenisve line for the Green Team still put pressure on the White Team. Aaron Harris, Jarriett Buie and Julian Riley all recorded two sacks apiece.Both defensive teams recorded a total of 13 sacks.

“They played hard and we have to put our secondary into one group because we missed a couple of tackles,” Leavitt said. “I think they did a good job defensively.”