Miller joins Utah coaching

By Christopher Kamrani, Asst. Sports Editor

The already strong Utah football-Texas connection has been beefed up.

Five days after the national signing day saw the Utes ink six native Texan recruits, Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham found his replacement for recently-departed offensive line coach Charlie Dickey in Blake Miller.

Miller spent the past two seasons as the offensive line coach and rushing game coordinator for a prolific offense at Rice University in Houston and replaces Dickey, who jumped jobs with former offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig to Kansas State.

“Blake is a good hire for our program on many levels,” said Whittingham in a statement. “Blake has offensive coordinator experience and is a highly-regarded offensive line coach.”

Success in college football doesn’t last forever8212;that’s something the Utes and the Owls learned this past season.

As the Utes went undefeated for the second time in five seasons and lost both their coordinators and offensive line coach to other schools, Rice is coming off its most successful season in school history. The Owls concluded their season with a record of 10-3 and defeated Western Michigan 38-14 in this year’s Texas Bowl.

Miller’s contribution to a stellar Owl offense was evident.

Rice averaged 41.3 points per game, which placed it at eighth best in the nation, alongside No. 5 overall in passing offense with 327.2 yards per outing. The team also ranked No. 10 in the nation in terms of total offense, averaging 470.9 yards per game.

“Blake’s long-time recruiting ties in Texas will give us an even stronger presence in the Lone Star state,” Whittingham said. “Rice runs a spread-offensive scheme very similar to ours, which should make for a smooth transition.”

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Miller starred as a four-year letterman and two-year starting center, which earned him all-SEC honors. Miller went on to play three years in the NFL as he was a seventh-round draft pick by the New England Patriots in the 1993 NFL Draft. The former LSU Tiger started out his coaching career as a high school coach in Louisiana and Texas before moving onto Texas State University, Southern Methodist and Northwestern State.

Miller’s offensive line at Rice paved the way for a passing game that had first-team All-American receiver Jarett Dillard and quarterback Chase Clement, the Conference-USA Offensive Player of the Year.

[email protected]

Blake Miller