FORT WAYNE – It’s not that Josh Miller objected to the change of position last year. A football player is a football player, regardless of where he lines up.
But truth be told, the 6-foot junior can’t wait to throw the football this season for Saint Francis, and not just catch it, which is what he did last year.
When a separated shoulder in a preseason scrimmage knocked Miller out of playing quarterback last season, the quickest path back into the lineup was to raise his hand and volunteer for the slot receiver position. Not his No. 1 choice, but a guy’s got to play. Miller had five catches for 73 yards without a touchdown.
There were a couple of times when he found himself behind center, but that was in a backup to the backup capacity – No. 3 on the quarterback depth chart. He completed 14 of 22 passes for two touchdowns and an interception.
But when Saint Francis opened spring practice this week, the Lima, Ohio, native was back where he began before the shoulder injury, as the No. 1 quarterback.
I wanted to play quarterback, Miller said of last season.
I’m actually very thankful now, looking back at it, because now that I’m back at playing quarterback, I understand the concepts of playing receiver, so I can help the guys out at playing slot as far as what I see and to get there a little bit faster in their routes or what they can see in the defense.
The Cougars were 9-3 last season, with the three losses coming against No. 1-ranked Saint Xavier, No. 2 Marian and No. 3 Georgetown.
With Justin Boser gone, Miller is the new quarterback. And Frank Wolfe III, the team’s leading rusher with an 82.2 yards per game average, is also gone. So are starting center Wyatt Tuggle and All-America guard Corey Cronk. But with an abundance of talent returning from a defense that lost two starters, and depth at the running back and wide receiver positions, coach Kevin Donley is more than eager for the Sept. 1 opener.
I believe you have to adjust every year to what you have, and what we have right now are a couple big, strong kids to run the ball inside, Donley said of Antoine Campbell, who scored 11 touchdowns last season, and former Churubusco standout Kyle Mathewson. I think we’re big and physical inside. We’re a little inexperienced on the offensive line, but we’re going to be good.
The downside as spring practice opens is the loss of safety Erick Humphrey, who was fourth on the team in tackles, had one interception and one fumble recovery. Humphrey is scheduled to have surgery on an injured knee and is questionable to return this season.
Cornerback Antoine Galloway, who sat out all of last season with an injury after starting eight games in 2010, will return.