Connellsville's Miller relies on strength on both sides of the ball

Connellsville's Dylan Miller has become a team leader for the Falcons.  Evan R. Sanders/Daily Courier
Connellsville's Dylan Miller has become a team leader for the Falcons. Evan R. Sanders/Daily Courier
| Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, 1:06 a.m.

When Connellsville senior Dylan Miller began preparing for the 2012 football season, he realized his game was far from polished.

“I felt like I needed to do a lot to help myself get quicker and stronger,” he said.

So after analyzing his game, Miller spent much of the offseason working on his speed as well as his strength. He took part in speed sessions at the Norwin Speed and Strength Academy and spent considerable time in the weight room. The results have been tangible. Miller has shown improvement in all areas of the game and his work ethic is second to none, his coach said.

“What makes Dylan stick out is that he has a big-time blue-collar attitude,” Connellsville coach Dave McDonald said. “He works hard every day to get better. He is a physical kid that puts his time in. He leads by example. He hasn't taken a rep off throughout camp and he always goes 100 miles per hour. That type of play is infectious, and it spreads to the other members of the team.”

Miller's ability to play and practice at full speed is more impressive considering he is adjusting to a different defensive position. A former linebacker, the 5-foot-11, 231-pound Miller is making the switch to defensive end.

“It's going great,” McDonald said. “(Defensive end) is probably his natural position. It took us a while to figure out where to use him, but he has a quick first step and he understands leverage.”

Miller certainly doesn't mind the switch.

“I like defensive end a lot,” Miller said, noting he feels he has an advantage over the offensive linemen due to his increased speed. “It's a better fit for me.”

While speed figures to be his primary asset on the defensive side of the ball, the use of his increased strength will be key when the Falcons are on offense. Miller will be a part of a stable of running backs in Connellsville's Wing-T offense. With Miller, there likely won't be a lot of finesse in his game.

“Dylan is a downhill runner, and he'll try to run you over,” McDonald said. “You can't help but like that.”

Miller's hard-nosed approach to the game certainly comes into play when he is in the Connellsville backfield.

“I like to hit people,” Miller said.

Miller, who also wrestles for Connellsville, is excited to help the Falcons achieve their goals this season.

“I just want to help the team get better,” Miller said. “By helping myself get better, I'm helping the team. I'm looking forward to the season. Hopefully, we can win more games and make it (to the playoffs) again.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com or 724-626-3534.

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