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CHAMPAIGN — Bret Bielema’s offensive staff is one step closer to completion after Sunday’s announcement of Ben Miller as tight ends coach.

Miller was an Illinois football graduate assistant under Ron Zook in 2006, working on the offensive side of the ball.

“Ben is a very unique blend here at the University of Illinois,” Bielema said in a statement. “He is from the state of Ohio and will represent us in the recruiting efforts from coast to coast and continue to build championship young men for us.”

Miller also will work with the Illini’s special teams unit. The former Air Force offensive lineman has been a Falcons assistant for the last 14 seasons, overseeing tight ends between 2007 and 2011 and serving as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach between 2012 and 2020.

“I’m beyond excited to be at Illinois and part of Coach Bielema’s staff,” Miller said in a statement. “This is an exciting time for Illini football. I am impressed with Coach Bielema’s philosophy and vision. Illinois has definitely hired the right head football coach with a proven track record in the Big Ten.”

Miller’s work with the Air Force run game resulted in Jacobi Owens rushing for 3,000 career yards and multiple 1,000-yard seasons, as well as a 1,000-yard running season for Cody Getz.

Miller also had a brief NFL stint, playing for the Cleveland Browns and on the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad.

Miller joins an Illinois staff that includes offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tony Petersen, running backs coach Cory Patterson, offensive line coach Bart Miller (no relation), defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, strength and conditioning coach Tank Wright and chief of staff Mark Taurisani.

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at, or on Twitter at, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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