August 21, 2012 in Sports

Eastern punter Jake Miller aims for consistency

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Courtesy photo

EWU Eagles
(Full-size photo)

The Big Sky isn’t the limit for Jake Miller.

Eastern Washington’s punter could go even further this year; he was named to the College Sports Journal Freshman All-America Team after a sensational freshman season that saw him average 44.2 yards a punt.

That also earned him honorable mention All-Big Sky honors, and he would have ranked third in the Football Championship Subdivision had he met the minimum number of attempts to qualify.

But that’s not the number that matters most to Miller, a 2010 Central Valley High graduate who walked on at Washington State before transferring to Eastern.

“That one’s the least important,” he said. “You want to be No. 1 in net punting and fair catches, hopefully inside the 20.”

This month, Miller, along with long snapper Jake Potter, is working on the little things that will improve hang time and consistency.

As head coach Beau Baldwin sees it, “The difference between Jake and a first-team All-American or a guy who’s going to play on Sundays isn’t leg strength; it’s the ability to consistently hit that punt over and over again.”

Baldwin’s goal for Miller: “A great hang time and 45, 46, 47 yards a punt. That’s the point he’s working to get to.”

Meanwhile, special teams coach Jeff Schmedding wants Miller to “become more consistent with different angles.”

If a punter rarely gets noticed unless something goes wrong, that goes double for the long snapper.

Even as the Eagles “tweak a few things” in their punt protection schemes, “that doesn’t really change what I do,” said Potter, a senior from Kennewick. “Getting the ball out fast, that’s the biggest thing. As a bonus I’d like to get down there and make some tackles and recover a fumble, but that’s my biggest goal.”

Baldwin added that Potter “has improved already with all the situations he’s been put in. You forget about him because he’s out there doing his job.”

Notes

After an MRI exam, starting defensive end and team captain Paul Ena was found to have only minor left elbow damage suffered in Saturday’s scrimmage. Ena is wearing a sling over his left shoulder, and is questionable for the Idaho game on Aug. 30. … Running back Demitrius Bronson, a presumed starter, was not in pads for the second straight day with a sore hamstring, but is expected back today or Thursday. … The Eagles will hold their last two-a-day session of the month today at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. … Thursday’s scrimmage will begin at 12:40 p.m.No practice is scheduled for Friday.

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