Lawler: Miller's departure unfortunate

Trey Miller

The Navy Midshipmen football team lost two defenders this summer when starting nose guard Danny Ring left the academy and linebacker Josh Tate was suspended pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. I was sad to see that another player former starting quarterback Trey Miller was separated due to an honors violation according to Navy beat writer Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette.

The Navy Midshipmen football team lost two defenders this summer when starting nose guard Danny Ring left the academy and linebacker Josh Tate was suspended pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. I was sad to see that another player former starting quarterback Trey Miller was separated due to an honors violation according to Navy beat writer Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette.

It was an unfortunate end to Miller's Navy career where things never seemed to work out as planned. I first saw Trey Miller play in 2009 for the Naval Academy Prep school and was impressed. Trey had chosen Navy over offers from Air Force, Louisiana Tech, Troy and Louisville among others. Miller demonstrated his talents as a passer throwing for three touchdown passes in Naval Academy Prep school (NAPS) big win over Army prep. That season the speedy Miller did a solid job running the option at NAPS. He was far from perfect but like most quarterbacks new to this system he needed to become more consistent in reading his pitch keys. Miller entered the Naval Academy in 2010 looking like the ideal option quarterback with 4.5 speed an accurate throwing arm.

Miller was the starting quarterback the JV team in 2010. He had a great spring practice in 2011 to earn the back-up quarterback job behind Kriss Proctor. Miller received the Vice Admiral William P. Mack Award for being the most improved player during spring camp which is awarded by the coaching staff.

That fall as a sophomore Miller appeared in seven games. He saw his first extensive game action against East Carolina when he replaced the injured Procter. Miller threw for 126 yards and two touchdowns in leading a late rally against East Carolina that fell short. The following week he made his first career start against Notre Dame and struggled in the blowout loss. Miller was indecisive and missed many of his pitch keys against the Irish. Miller only averaged just 3.1 yards a carry in limited playing time. He did flash enough ability to provide hope for Navy fans that he could emerge as a quality starter. Trey's ability to stretch the field deep in the passing game reminded many Navy fans of former quarterback star Ricky Dobbs.

In 2012 Miller had a good spring and was named the starting quarterback. He drew two brutal starting assignment right out of the gate on the road against Notre Dame in Ireland and then traveling to Penn State. The Mids offensive line struggled and Miller ran for just 37 yards on 38 carries over the first two games. Miller had the best game of his career versus an overmatched VMI team as he ran for 116 yards and three scores while throwing for 107 passing yards. The following game he started as the team was shutout by San Jose State tough defense. In his final start Trey played well against Air Force but absorbed a beating which aggravated previous injuries forcing him to leave the game. Freshman Keenan Reynolds replaced him and led the Mids to an overtime victory. Miller found himself Wally Pipped by the emergence of Reynolds as head coach Ken Niumatalolo replaced him as the starting quarterback.

The problem for Miller is that his comfort level in running the option and reading his pitch keys didn't progress as well as expected. Other Navy quarterbacks experience similar growing pains but Miller seemed to have plateaued at a certain level. Miller was criticized for his running the option but if you look at the tape the problems were often due to an unsettled offensive line early in the year that struggled against the more talent defensive lines of Notre Dame, Penn State and San Jose State. While Miller may have deserved a better fate he was his own worst enemy fumbling a team high 10 times while losing seven. He did demonstrate the ability to pass the ball accurately at times. Miller completed 35 of his 59 pass attempts (59.3%) for 399 yards with two touchdown passes with three interceptions.

Entering what was expected to be his senior season Miller accepted the fact Reynolds was the starter at quarterback and moved to slotback. Miller's tough, slashing running and good speed played well at the slotback position. He finished spring practice as second on the depth chart. Unfortunately Miller stumbled on the academic front and made a mistake that cost him his Navy career. Miller has to endure the ignominy of the end of what seemed just a few years ago as such a promising career.

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