SAF Glen Miller making an impact in Maryland’s defense in 2023

Between Beau Brade and Dante Trader Jr., the confidence in Maryland’s starting safety tandem drew buzz through the offseason, but versatile veteran defensive back Glen Miller has solidified himself as a name to know on Maryland’s defense through the first four weeks of the 2023 season.

“I am so proud of him because I will tell you back Glen has been a pain in my butt for three years in terms of he loves football but it’s just all the other things in life. You know what? He’s matured in this program,” Locksley said on Tuesday.

It didn’t always come easy for Miller, a former three-star signee in the 2020 class out of Ridgeview (FL), who appeared in the final two games of the shortened COVID season before playing in all but one game in the 2021 season. The Florida native battled through injuries last fall, finishing with 16 tackles in seven games, before returning to the field ahead of the 2023 season opener.

It took time for Miller to solidify himself as a key piece in the secondary, but as he’s embraced the impact role in year four, head coach Mike Locksley tabbed the defensive back a “poster child for what I hope this program can become for players.”

“He’s a great kid. He’s smart. He’s tough. Now we have to work on a reliable part because sometimes he didn’t always do or where he was supposed to be,” Locksley added. “And I’m gonna just tell you right now, he’s one of our leaders. He’s a guy that even though he’s not on my leadership group, when I think of Glen Miller, I think a tough, hard-nosed throwback type of Terp football players and to see the success he’s having, I’m not surprised because every time he’s played when he’s been given the opportunity or when he’s earned the opportunity, he makes plays.”

Miller admitted the buy-in became easier as Locksley’s program continued to develop. “I would say overall, it’s just seeing it and seeing like what Locksley has actually been building,” he said. “I see we actually have something, so like, to see that makes me want to be more of a leader because I know I’m coming into that role, so I just want to achieve what I know we can achieve.”

The redshirt junior started the first three games of this season, the first two as the nickel corner before moving back to safety against Virginia to fill in for an injured Beau Brade, when he matched his career-high with five tackles. His first big play on the season came with Virginia ahead 14-7 midway through the first quarter, Miller making his presence felt with a crushing hit at the line of scrimmage, a hit that Miller says was his favorite.

“I like that one just because of the angle and the speed I came down and at which point in the game it was, that was like a little turnaround for us to get us back on track to how we should be playing,” he added.

Against Michigan State, Miller came down with an interception along the sideline on the defense’s first series of the second half, marking the third takeaway of the day. The interception was also the first in Miller’s career in a “surreal moment” for the veteran defensive back who has now become a staple in the secondary.

“I would say it feels like all that work you did put in throughout the week to get there, all the ball drills you do. To actually have it pay off, it means something to me. I think that’s a really great feeling to have, honestly,” Miller added.

With Brade back in his starting role against the Spartans, that put Miller back into the nickel role as he’s the one stepping in alongside Tarheeb Still to answer one of the few questions in the secondary. For someone who played three seasons at safety, Miller doesn’t take leaning on Still for granted.

“I have some questions all the time, how he would play things last year, but yeah, he gives me a lot of knowledge, especially coming from a corner perspective because I’m moreso a safety. So he worked all that different man [techniques] so I’d say he helps a lot when it comes to that aspect in the slot.”

Glen Miller enters week five sixth on Maryland’s defense in solo tackles, but Locksley added there are ways that Miller can take the next step while recognizing his growth through his fourth season.

“Now does he [do] some crazy things like when the ball is the field goal is blocked and you’re supposed to get away from it and does he run toward the ball a little bit? That’s Glen and we’re working on removing those types of decisions from out of his thing, but nobody has grown more in this program than Glen Miller has. [I’m] really happy for him because he’s a great football player. He’s a guy that has stepped in big and can play corner, can play nickel, can play safety, loves the game man. Like if he could just play football every day and not go to class and party and do all the things that they liked to do in college. He’s a throwback football player.”

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