The youngest honorary coach at Saturday's Illinois spring game had a simple request: "Put me with the winning team."
If it works the way Brit Miller hopes, that will be the Orange squad. Miller, a fullback/special teams performer with the St. Louis Rams, returns to his college home this weekend.
"I thought it was cool," Miller said of the honor. "I'm pumped.
"I think the Orange team is going to take it home."
The proud Decatur native plans to come to town Friday and get to work with his team.
"I'm an Illini for life," Miller said. "It was one of the best times of my life as far as school and playing football."
The spring game teams were drafted by seniors. Miller wanted the guys picking for the Orange to concentrate on depth.
"The starters shouldn't play that much," Miller said. "I'd try to go with some quality underclassmen that I'm going to rely on to put the nail in the coffin at the end of the game. Anybody can score early."
Miller enters his third season with the Rams after starting his career in San Francisco. Like at Illinois, St. Louis has a new coach, albeit one with a long history in the NFL. Jeff Fisher took over the Rams after a distinguished career with the Titans.
The new Rams offense is more fullback friendly, Miller said. That should mean more chances for Miller to do his favorite thing: smash into people. He's basically a linebacker on offense with some passing and running skills he picked up as a quarterback at Decatur Eisenhower.
"It's stuff that I like to do," Miller said. "It's perfect. I already know where I'm going. Playing fullback at this level, I think it does put my talents at work the best."
Miller asked teammate James Laurinaitis about new Illinois coach Tim Beckman. Laurinaitis played for Beckman at Ohio State and gave Miller positive reports.
"Unfortunately, there is a lot of change in college football," Miller said. "You've got to give him a couple of years to instill all of his ideas. I've been a part of that with the Zooker (Ron Zook). I know it takes time. I also know if people buy in, you can win at that level."
Back in town
Honorary coaches for Saturday’s Illinois spring game:
NAME POS. YEARS
Jeff George QB 1988-89
Mike Holmes RB 1979-80
Brit Miller LB 2005-08
Doug Dieken TE 1968-70
Tim McCarthy S 1969-70
Dana Howard LB 1991-94