On Jan. 10, 2009, KU announced the resignation of linebacker coach Steve Tovar, as well as the hiring of Tovar's replacement, Bill Miller. Miller will serve as linebacker coach as well as co-defensive coordinator at the University of Kansas.
Miller is a Hutchinson, Kan. native, has been involved in coaching for over 30 years. He has coached alongside a Who's Who list of college coaches: Butch Davis, Ron Zook, Houston Nutt, Randy Shannon, Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio, Steve Kragthorpe, Larry Coker, Charlie Strong, Monte Kiffin, and Mike Gundy. He has over 18 years of experience as a defensive coordinator in BCS programs.
This is a great hire for the University of Kansas on many different levels.
Miller provides coaching experience and credibility as a linebackers coach and as a defensive coordinator.
However, the most exciting aspect of Miler's hire is that his skills are not limited to just X's and O's. Miller recruits the state of Florida almost exclusively, and I believe that may be one of the biggest factors in closing the talent gap with the likes of Texas and OU.
Mark Mangino and his staff continue to improve their "Texas Pipeline" every year. It has produced current Jayhawks Jeremiah Hatch, Jonathan Wilson, Dezmon Briscoe, and Todd Reesing, as well as former players James McClinton, Aqib Talib, and Anthony Collins.
The Jayhawks has shown the ability to recruit Texas as well as any school outside of the state not named LSU and OU. The 2009 recruiting class contains as many Dallas Area Top 20 Prospects as OU, Texas, and Texas Tech. That is a huge bonus.
What they have had trouble recruiting is barnburner speed. I am not saying that Texas athletes aren't fast. They are. There are tons of fast kids from Texas. The problem is that most of those speedsters sign with Texas, OU, and LSU. The Texas kids with sub-4.4 speed are not waiting in line to be Jayhawks.
Like great oranges, speed comes from Florida. It is manufactured and nurtured there.
Approximately 106 prospects from the state of Florida have times in the 40-yard dash of 4.5 or less this year. There are another 86 that have run 4.6 or less. One prospect clocked a time at 4.28 at a Scout.com recruiting combine.
I'm not talking about a bunch of 5'9", 140-lb. safeties and receivers running these 4.5 40s. No, I am talking about linebackers, defensive ends, tight ends, and quarterbacks with the size to go along with their speed.
To put that into perspective, the state of Kansas has produced only 32 prospects with a 40 time of 4.5 or less SINCE 2002.
Miller provides the window of opportunity for Kansas to be able to start recruiting more Florida speed. That is going to be needed if KU is going to be able to break into the next level as a program.
Florida speed is what championship-caliber teams are built around. Just ask the Gators.