Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller (51) celebrates after a play during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Miami Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Ventrell Miller Feeling Good Entering Spring

While many teammates chose to take their talents to the NFL draft, Gators linebacker Ventrell Miller is staying put.

After a notorious year for the Gators defense, the goal is to straighten things out. Miller thinks he and the team are doing just that.

Improving His Own Game

When asked about how he was working on his game, Miller said much of his work was improving his hands and being a student of the game.

Working on his hands and getting to the ball faster could help improve Ventrell Miller from a statistical standpoint. For example, Miller hasn’t picked off a quarterback since 2018. He picked off Idaho’s Mason Petrino for an 82-yard return for a touchdown, putting the Gators up 63-3. That means his last interception was 844 days ago. Florida had a five-game losing streak against Florida State at the time.

Keep in mind, he is a linebacker and picks aren’t suppose to be their specialty. But just one pick still isn’t good, especially you aren’t making up for it in the rush. He had 3.5 sacks in 2020,–a career high.

He is overdue to improve some aspect of his game. Based on what he is saying, he is taking the right steps to end the interceptions drought.

The Glaring Issue

The biggest headache for the Gators in 2020 was the defense. Many argue that a historic year for the offense was wasted by that defense.

The defense allowed 428 yards of total offense per game. However, in 2019, they allowed only 306 yards of total offense per game. Interceptions in 2020 were down from 1.2 to 0.8.

Points against were up from 201 to 370. Imagine removing, on average, 14 points per game from every game. The Gators win every game besides the Cotton Bowl–this includes the SEC Championship. And in theory, the Cotton Bowl wouldn’t have happened because the Gators probably would have been in the playoffs.

In a game where offense matter more and more, last season showed how crucial it still is to have a productive defense.

With the offense likely regressing in 2021, it’ll be up to the defense to return to form and keep the Gators in the hunt for the College Football Playoff.

About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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