Oct. 3, 2009
By Dean Caparaz '90
BERKELEY - Sophomore Anthony Miller is slowly but surely becoming a vital part of California's offense. In the Golden Bears' 30-3 setback to USC Saturday, the tight end led Cal with career highs in receptions (4) and receiving yards (70). Miller also made more catches than any other individual Bear had made in Cal's previous four games, with his final catch, a 16-yarder that handed Cal a first down.
A personal foul against USC safety Taylor Mays tacked on another 15 yards to the play.
The 6-3, 258-pound Miller made a 22-yard reception on Cal's first drive of the game that ended with no points. Miller made catches of 18 and 14 yards on what looked like another promising drive late in the first half. But again the Bears did not score.
All four of Miller's catches produced first downs, though a victory against the Trojans proved more elusive.
"We're just looking forward to coming out next week," Miller said afterwards. "We've got the bye week, and we'll get better, then we have UCLA in two weeks."
Miller is emerging as an important cog in the Cal offense this season, though he made a big impact with one play as a true freshman in 2008. The San Jose, Calif., product played in nine regular-season games for the Bears, but it was his 10th game that really introduced the tight end to the Cal faithful. He made his first catch of the season on Cal's last offensive play of the year, a two-yarder that resulted in the winning touchdown in a 24-17 victory over Miami (Fla.) in the Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
"It was real exciting to have your first touchdown be a game winner," Miller said. "You can't ask for anything better than that."
After playing as a backup and on special teams last year, Miller earned the starting tight-end job in 2009. He did record a catch in the season-opening win over Maryland. In the next game, a 59-7 rout of Eastern Washington on Sept. 12 in Berkeley, Miller put up then-career highs in receptions (3) and receiving yards (48).
Miller also recovered a fumble and hauled in a career-long 32-yard catch against the Eagles. Miller's season totals to date are 10 receptions, which include one catch in the game at Minnesota and two in the game at Oregon, and 153 receiving yards.
"I just try to get involved, whether it's catching or blocking," Miller said. "I'm just taking it one step at a time."