Miller a rock for Cheetahs
Leads by example. Defensive end looks
to lead Vanier out of Bol d'Or drought

ARPON BASU, Freelance
Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The William Miller leading the Vanier Cheetahs defence this season is a far cry from the player who arrived at the St. Laurent CEGEP three seasons ago.

Miller, 20, played primarily at middle linebacker as he went through the ranks of the Châteauguay Raiders football program, where he began playing football at age 7.

When he arrived at Vanier, Miller played well enough at the position to start the final four games of the season and the playoffs, a commendable feat for a freshman essentially playing quarterback for the defence.

But last season - after Miller grew an inch and added 40 pounds of muscle to reach 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds - the Cheetahs moved him to defensive end, and he had to learn the position on the job.

Miller is in his second season on the line, and said he's still learning the intricacies of rushing the passer, though he leads his team in tackles this season.

"I can say I'm becoming more comfortable, it's a different perspective on the game," Miller said. "It's more clear-cut what you're going to do, but you have to focus on different things, like getting a jump on the ball."

Miller does more than just stuff runners for Vanier. As team captain, he relishes his ability to serve as team leader on and off the field.

"I really try to get the guys to follow me a little, I feel like I have to provide a leadership role," he said.

"You definitely have to lead by example first, because if you can't back them up, the words mean nothing."

Vanier head coach Ray Gagnon appreciates Miller's ability to lead and said his captain makes it easier for the coaching staff to get everyone on the same page.

"He's a great leader, a leader of men," Gagnon said. "He believes in the system, and he preaches the system to his teammates. It's been like that since Day 1."

Miller has had contact with coaches from U.S. colleges, and it would appear he has a very good chance of being offered a scholarship to a Division 1 school for next fall, especially considering his stellar score of 1,210 on the SAT exam.

But Miller is not overly preoccupied with going to the U.S., unlike many of his peers on the CEGEP football scene.

"It would be great to get to a school in the States, to play at that level," he said. "But football is football, and there's some great schools in Canada. Football's booming in Canada."

Before considering where he will land next fall, Miller has other pressing issues on his mind. The largest of those is Vanier's 12-year drought in Bol d'Or championships, something he desperately wants to change in his final year of CEGEP.

"I think I put a lot of pressure on myself for that," Miller said. "I want to leave here as a champion."

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