Sophomore quarterback Maikhail Miller has only been on campus a few weeks, but as of Monday morning, the former Ole Miss Rebel was named the starting quarterback for the Murray State football team’s opening game against Missouri.
Miller, a PrepStar All-America selection out of high school, played his freshman season at Ole Miss, appearing in two games for the Rebels.
Faced with a crowded depth chart and highly-touted incoming recruits, Miller decided to trade in the pressure of SEC football for a chance to lead the Racers’ unique “Hatch Attack” offense.
The starting role did not come easy for Miller, however, as juniors Parks Frazier, CJ Bennett and sophomore KD Humphries provided stiff competition for the position all during summer.
Miller also faced the additional challenge of learning an entirely new offense on the fly and coming in without any spring or summer practice experience with the Racers.
In the end, Miller said it came down to studying and putting in the time to learn the offense and build chemistry with his teammates.
“I worked hard,” Miller said. “I really didn’t know any of the terminology, so I studied and watched film after every practice and I think that helped me a lot.”
Since Miller’s arrival on the first day of preseason practice, he and Frazier separated themselves as the top two candidates for the job. Over the last two weeks, the two quarterbacks remained locked in a tight battle for the starting job.
During the last scrimmage of preseason practice Saturday morning, both quarterbacks made strong final impressions as Frazier completed nine of 13 attempts for 116 yards and three touchdowns. Miller put up similar stats, going 10 for 14 with 92 yards and two touchdowns.
With both quarterbacks effectively leading the offense, Hatcher said his decision came down to consistency and mobility.
“He was the most consistent in camp,” Hatcher said, “and that was without any spring practices under his belt. We feel that the more reps he gets, the better he will be.”
“The other intangible he had that the other guys didn’t was his ability to run the football,” Miller said. “His mobility along with his learning the system so quickly separated him from the other guys.”
Frazier will assume the backup duties and finished “a close second,” according to Hatcher.
“I feel like (the other quarterbacks) could do it too, if I went down or if they had won the job,” Miller said. “It was a close race and they’re all great quarterbacks too.”
Faced with the tough task of replacing Casey Brockman – one of the most decorated quarterbacks in Murray State football history – Miller has already set high aspirations for himself in his first season leading the Racers.
“I’m looking forward to winning,” Miller said – “winning the OVC, winning in the playoffs and winning it all. That’s my goal.”
With Miller now leading the Racer offense, the team will begin preparations for the first game at Missouri on Aug. 31st.
Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff writer