BOULDER – Ryan Miller, who has started on the offensive line for the Buffaloes in games in each of the last two seasons, last week earned a spot on CU’s track & field team and Saturday was successful in his debut throwing the shot put.
Miller recorded the Buffs best shot put of the season and the second best toss in the last two years Saturday at the Air Force Academy with a distance of 46 feet, 7.25 inches. He placed 16th overall. Miller is attempting to qualify for the Big 12 indoor meet and will have one more opportunity prior to the Big 12 indoor’s on Friday in Golden, Colo., at the Mines Twilight.
“My goal is to get to Big 12's,” Miller said. “I think it’s a realistic goal. It’s something I’m confident I can do.”
Miller has been practicing with the team in a tryout mode for the last three weeks, but his road to earning a spot on the team began in 2007, when he approached throws coach Casey Malone about trying out for the team. He is the first football player in Malone’s nine-year CU career to participate in throwing competitions for the Buffaloes.
“Ryan met with me last year and expressed his interest,” Malone said. “Other football players have expressed interest before, but he has by far been the most persistent and shown the most interest. He’s the first football player to throw for the Buffs since I’ve been on staff. There were a few football players back when I was an athlete, but he’s the first since I began coaching.”
Malone was a four-time All-American and 1998 NCAA discus champion. Former Buff running back Hugh Charles is the most recent football player to participate on the track team, earning one of the top five fastest indoor 60-meter dash runs in CU history, running it in 6.77 seconds on Feb. 2, 2008 at Air Force.
In 2007, Miller became just the ninth true freshman to start on the offensive line since freshmen were allowed to play in 1972 and earned freshman All-America honors after playing in 10 games and starting seven for the Buffs.
Primed for a big season in 2008, Miller went down with a fibula injury in the Florida State game and missed the rest of the season. He’s all healed up and ready for both the indoor track and spring football seasons.
When Miller approached football coach Dan Hawkins about participating on the track team, Hawkins told Miller as long as he could handle the extra responsibility and keep all of his responsibilities as a student and football player in line, as well, to go for it.
Miller isn’t sure how the outdoor season will play out with spring football going on at the same time, but he is interested in throwing the discus and participating on the track team for the remainder of his CU career if it’s in the cards for him to do so.
“I really want to throw the discus, as well,” Miller said. “And I’ve been practicing the weight, too. I don’t know if I’ll compete in the weight, but it’s fun to practice. It either can throw you or you throw it.”
Miller did throw both the shot put and discus in high school, taking fourth in the shot put and fifth in the discus at the state championships and has had the benefit of some really good track & field coaches throughout his career.
“I had a really good coach in high school,” Miller said. “And coach Malone went to the Olympics. That’s a pretty good coach if you ask me.”
As far as football goes, Miller is back to 100 percent and ready for spring ball to begin.
“November feels like a long time ago,” Miller said. “The off season has been going well, I’m ready to get back on the field this spring.”