Thirty pounds is a lot of weight to put on for anyone. For some, it comes easier than others.
For Christian Miller, it was a three-year process. But now, at 240 pounds, the redshirt junior outside linebacker is ready for his turn.
That was the plan all along, though. Miller and his father, Corey Miller, knew that it would take a few years to get him where he needed to be from a physical standpoint. That’s why the draw of Alabama was too great to pass up, being able to work with strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran.
“Honestly most of it was just extra workouts after practice, a lot of help from Coach Cochran, Miss Amy (Bragg) with nutrition,” Miller said. “But really I just used to workout after practice, a bunch of our guys do, it’s not just me. I would just go workout after practice to get extra in, eat as many calories as I can.
“It’s not easy, it’s not easy. Everybody is all like, ‘Oh, it’s probably nice to be able to eat whatever you want.’ You get sick of it, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. And I’m just happy where I’m at now.”
Where he is now is competing for a starting job at outside linebacker. It’s a unit that lost two elite pass rushers in Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson, and with Anderson the defense lost an outside backer who could set a hard edge.
Anfernee Jennings is capable of setting the edge, and Miller is capable of rushing the passer. It’s a skill he feels he was born to do. Even if that rush doesn’t end in putting the quarterback on the ground via sack, Miller is confident in his ability to affect the passer.
Coming off the first scrimmage of the year, Miller had “a lot of production points,” according to UA coach Nick Saban.
“I didn’t really come here to just put up numbers,” Miller said. “If I wanted to go put up a ton of sacks, I would have gone to a small school. Honestly, no. I just enjoy getting praise for doing my job, even if I don’t get a sack. Even if I just affect the quarterback, I know I’m getting into his head, and that’s my job, I just want to get in their head.”
There’s no shortage of players who can rush the passer. One of those players is Terrell Lewis, a 6-foot-5, 254-pounder, who looks like he was created in a laboratory for the express purpose of creating havoc on defense.
“I don’t think you can get better measurables,” Miller said. “…that guy is a great player, smart kid. I mean he’s going to be something. He’s definitely going to help this team out a lot.”