Q & A with Trey Miller '14, USNA Football
Trey Miller understands the pressure that goes with running a team. As a star point guard at Whitefield Academy near his hometown of Marietta, GA, Miller led his team to a state championship in 2009. As the quarterback and captain of the football team, Miller guided Whitefield to a pair of state playoff appearances. Now, after spending two seasons as a backup QB at Navy, Miller will step up behind center for the Midshipmen, who will open preseason camp on August 1. Writer Gary Lambrecht recently caught up with Miller.
Q: After seizing the starting job this spring, how did it feel to go back home to Georgia this summer knowing you are coming to your next Navy camp as The Man?
A: I feel like I’m ready to attack the challenges that are coming. The offense goes through me. I’m going to make mistakes. I know I’m going to get booed when things go wrong. I have to get us in the right play and make the right reads. I know the job can be very tough.
Q: How did you continue to prepare back home in Marietta?
A: I’ve been watching a lot of film, and I’ve been talking to a lot of people about leadership. I’ve talked to Ricky Dobbs. He grew up about 30 minutes from me in Douglasville. We’ve talked about the things that helped him be a great leader. The biggest thing he says is to stay close to God. When things are going bad, keep working hard and pray it up. Even though I’m not a [team] captain, I’ve got to be a leader.
Q: Does the fact that Navy is coming off a losing season for a change make you more eager to get going?
A: That still bothers us, especially the way we lost so many close games by not doing the little things right. We try not to harp on it. But there is going to be a huge sense of urgency. We know we’ve got to be one of the hardest working teams in the country to have a chance to win, and we know we’ve got to get better at the little things.
Q: You have one start under your belt. What was it like to take the snaps in South Bend last year against Notre Dame in that role, and how crazy is it that you get to launch the next phase of your football career as the starter in the season opener against the Fighting Irish in Dublin?
A: Not too many people can say their first start as a college football player was at Notre Dame. It was a rather huge experience for me, but I wasn’t really that nervous. I don’t get too worked up about things like that. [As for the rematch in Dublin] I’ve never been out of the country. I haven’t done any research on Ireland. I’m just worried about the game. I’m just worried about getting us going in the right direction this season.
Q: What tools are you going to bring to the Navy offense?
A: We’re obviously a team that runs the ball first, but I think my ability to pass the ball is also going to help us. We’re going to put a little more passing into the game plan. That will be nice. I ran a spread offense in high school. We ran some option, but mainly it was me lining up in the shotgun, catching the snap and running if I had to. I’m not much of a run-you-over guy. I like to make people miss. I think our ability to run the ball outside with the great slot backs we have and the great blockers we have at receiver is really going to help us.
Q: You won a state championship at Whitefield as a point guard with the basketball team. Does it still hurt that you didn’t get that done in football?
A: We really had a great team in my junior year. We were good enough to win it all. But I remember losing in the first round of the playoffs to Athens Academy. We needed a couple of yards on a huge fourth-down play late. I ran it and didn’t get it. That really changed the game. I wish I could do that play over.
Q: What is the meal you enjoy back home that you just can’t match up north?
A: We do get some good food [at the academy], and it’s great to be able to eat what we want for lunch and dinner. But my favorite meal is the BBQ ribs I get back home. Nothing beats that.
Q: Now that you have made your “two for seven” commitment to serve your country, was there any doubt that you would sign?
A: There is lots of second-guessing for everybody at some point during your first two years. I’ve already gone through enough stuff, so I can’t turn back now. It’s going to be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.