BOISE — Coming off his second consecutive season of at least 60 catches, 675 receiving yards and five touchdowns, Boise State wide receiver Matt Miller wanted to be even better as a junior this fall.
Miller already had great hands, was a good route runner and knew the playbook, so he spent the summer working on the one part of his game that he thought could use some work — his speed.
The team leader with 66 receptions, 769 yards receiving and five touchdowns in 2012, Miller spent the summer working with strength coach Tim Socha on his speed and foot quickness.
And the Bronco defensive backs have already noticed a difference.
“I think it’s pretty good once the DBs start mentioning to you,” Miller said Monday after the Broncos’ first practice of fall camp. “I’ve had a few of them tell me I got faster this summer, so I think that shows that my hard work is paying off a little bit.”
Offensive coordinator Robert Prince wasn’t ready to anoint him the fastest player on the team just yet, but did praise his leading receiver for his continued improvement.
“It was day one and I think they all got better and the first day everyone’s (pumped up),” Prince said. “So we’ll see how he looks (on) day five.
“Matt does a lot of things well. First of all, his size — he’s a very dominant blocker. When the ball is in the air, we feel pretty good that he’s going to come down with it. He’s a pretty good route runner and he does all the little things that we ask him to do.”
Miller did a number of speed and agility drills during group workouts and then stayed to do more on his own after everybody else had left. He also added four pounds of weight and is listed at 6-foot-3, 222 pounds on the updated roster.
The goal was to make him more of a complete receiver who can be relied upon for both short and long routes.
“I think that will add a whole new dynamic to what I have already,” Miller said. “If I can put that deep ball in my game, I think that will really help out.”
New numbers: Several players have changed numbers. The list includes CB Cleshawn Page (3), S Darian Thompson (4), CB Donte Deayon (5), CB Chaz Anderson (6), WR Troy Ware (14), S Taylor Loffler (24), CB Deon’tae Florence (29), DB Promise Amadi (34), DE Kharyee Marshall (48), OL Rees Odhiambo (71), TE Jake Hardee (84) and TE Jackson Reed (91).
Deayon realizes his switch to No. 5 comes with plenty of expectations. The number was previously worn by Jamar Taylor, who was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft in June by the Miami Dolphins.
“Oh yeah,” Deayon said. “Jamar was a very good player and he taught me a lot of things, so I have to step up the plate. … For me, I feel like it’s not about filling shoes. I’m just here in camp to get better each and every day.”
New players: Quarterback Richard Hoppe was one of nine players not listed among the 2013 recruiting class that appear on the updated roster. Hoppe’s hometown paper in St. Helena, Calif., reported that he originally planned to play club baseball at Boise State before he was contacted by the coaches about joining the football team as a walk-on. Others include LS Matt Cota (Eagle High), DT James Tucker (Rocky Mountain High), OL Mason Hampton (Meridian High) and DE Austin Silsby (Kuna High). Four other players — WR Terrell Johnson, WR David McKinzie, DB Brandon Brown and OL James Meager — are also listed on the roster but no background information was included.
New weights: Several players had noticeable weight gains from the spring and fall rosters. Among them was sophomore tight end Holden Huff, who gained 15 pounds and is now listed at 236.