TYLER, Texas (KETK) – 2020 is a renewed opportunity under first-year head coach Joe Willis.
With a backfield that may be the envy of many around the state, that is spearheaded by junior four-star prospect Jamarion Miller.
“I feel that way. I carry my teammates get them pumped up, get them ready, get ready for the season to start,” said Miller.
“He’s a dominant player, and a generational player. And a guy that needs to touch the ball. And so we move him around a lot. You know, we not only have him in the backfield, but we’ll also deploy him at receiver. He’s worked awfully hard on those skills. And that’ll also improve his skill set not only for us but also the next level as he moves forward,” added Willis.
Miller, a third-year starter at running back is excited about Willis, and the Red Raiders new coaching staff.
“It’s a lot different from what we had from last year. You know he got more energy, getting us all pumped up for the season to start and make sure that we’re grinding, make sure we’re doing the right thing every day,” said Miller.
Like planting a seed in the players minds, early in fall camp, Willis had them run 16 100-yard sprints at the end of practice to visualize a potential run to a state title.
“We want to play 16 ballgames this year. And we want to win that last one. So for our kids all summer long, we’ve talked about the 16. So when we get to ten, we talk about a district championship, when we get to 16 we talk about a state championship. I think any game worth playing is worth winning,” Willis explained.
“That motivate us a lot. It shows who really want to play and get better every day. And it shows who don’t want to play and get better,” said Miller.
Miller who rushed for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago, and fellow junior backfield mate Bryson Donnell who pitched in with 641 yards and 11 scores, should find more lanes with not only more size in the offensive line than in the past, but also more athleticism.
“We always want a offensive line to that’d be able to move quick pace, and move the ball up down, up and down the field. And be able to move. Because you only go as fast as your O-Lineman do,” said Red Raiders offensive tackle Dion Daniels.
“As long as you can carry that weight, if you are a good athlete, you can carry that weight around late in the fourth quarter. You know, our offensive line has a chance to lean on people. And late in the fourth quarter, our defensive line has a chance to reestablish that line of scrimmage. And so the size that we have this year I’m really impressed with. Again for me, it all boils down to how do you move that size around on the field,” said Willis.
“Some are a little bigger, some are a little smaller. But we’re still gonna get that grind in and get better,” added Miller.
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This season home Tyler and Tyler Legacy home games will be televised on “The Z” thanks to an exclusive partnership and will also be streamed LIVE on KETK.com, FOX51.com, and the free KETK mobile app.
The Z (KTPN) can be seen on channel 51.2 with an over the air digital antenna or Suddenlink cable channel 9 in Tyler as well as on many other cable systems throughout East Texas.
9/24 (Thursday): Lions v. Texas High (Texarkana) – 6:30 p.m.
9/25: Raiders v. Lufkin (LIVESTREAM ONLY ON KETK.COM) – 7:00 p.m.
10/02: Raiders v. Lions (Rose City Rivalry) – 7:00 p.m.
10/9: NO HOME GAME
10/16: NO HOME GAME
10/23: NO HOME GAME
10/30: Raiders v Dallas Skyline – 7:00 p.m.
11/6: Lions v West Mesquite – 7:00 p.m.
11/13: Raiders v Mesquite Horn – 7:00 p.m.
11/20: Lions v Highland Park – 7:00 p.m.
11/27: Raiders v Rockwall-Heath – 7:00 p.m.
12/4: Lions v Longview Lobos – 7:00 p.m.
*Times are when the broadcast starts.