Junior running back Malik Miller may not fill up the stat sheet on Saturdays, but Miller's important role with the running backs is "being a kind of leader of the group."
Now, with a five-person running back room with less than 100 carries combined on the season and needing to replace tailback Boobee Whitlow, Miller will be required more than ever to fulfill his role.
The junior is not only one of the leaders for the running backs, but he is also utilized as a blocking specialist and the top third-down back on the team.
While Miller has seen limited snaps as running back this season with only four attempts for 16 yards, he prides himself on knowing the offense very well as a fourth-year player.
"I pride myself in, one, just being a kind of leader of the group, just knowing the offense in and out, helping others, like, in the room," Miller said.
On the field, the blocking specialist has been critical in helping Auburn this season come away with a win in some of the closer games.
"As far as on the field, I have good blocking skills," Miller said. "I play hard, I know what to do in crunch-time moments like in two-minute situations and situations like that. I just think the experience really, and just the kind of calm mentality, just knowing what to do."
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Injuries have hampered Miller's time at Auburn. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2016 during his freshman year and again hurt his knee during 2018's A-day scrimmage.
As Miller suffered injuries and struggled to find his place on the depth chart, he could have let it get to him, but the junior has kept his head down and kept working.
Now with Auburn's running back room facing uncertainty without Whitlow, Miller, who has flown under the radar on the stat sheet, might be one of Auburn's most significant needs during this upcoming stretch.
"I feel like I'm kind of getting a step back." Miller said, "It's been very frustrating with the knee deal. But I don't let it get me down. I mean circumstances happen you can't control. But what you can control is how you react to them. So at the end of the day, I just go hard. I try to get stronger every day and be me."
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