July 19, 2021
Hoover, Alabama, USA
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with the Florida Gators. Ventrell Miller is ready for questions.
Q. You guys played South Carolina last year. They had Kevin Harris at the running back. What do you remember about him? How difficult was he to tackle? What kind of running back was he?
VENTRELL MILLER: Definitely a big-style running back. He runs hard. Just like any other running back, I'd say, you try to get him down.
Q. Ventrell, when you look ahead to this season, it should be kind of a more normal season as far as full stadiums, more fans than there was last year. How exciting is that that you guys are looking ahead to tailgating and playing in front of full stadiums again?
VENTRELL MILLER: It's definitely exciting to be back in full capacity, to see the 90,000 in The Swamp. When those guys in The Swamp, it's just electric, so we're ready to get that atmosphere back in The Swamp.
Q. Last year, obviously, ended not the way you guys wanted to, and your teammate Zach Carter just talked about how in spring you guys raised the bar -- you, him, your teammates all stepping up to make sure this season you guys have a big chip on your shoulder and you want to prove last year is just a fluke.
How is it coming into this season that you guys have got something to prove and everybody else might want to watch out?
VENTRELL MILLER: Zach, I don't know if he said it, but definitely coming in with a chip on our shoulder, got something to prove. We've just been working towards that, and like he said, it's going to be whoever's getting in our way got to pay.
Q. Are you a fan of the proposed idea to expand the playoff to 12 teams, or do you like how it is in the four-team format right now?
VENTRELL MILLER: I'm not sure. I don't really got too many thoughts of that, but definitely it could be a good thing and also a bad thing. I don't really know where I stand on it as of right now.
Q. Can you talk to me about the way the LSU game ended last year, under those kind of bizarre circumstances, the bizarre penalty, and then your thoughts of going to Baton Rouge this year.
VENTRELL MILLER: It definitely was crazy, I'd say. You live and you learn. One of the best things that could have happened. Like I said, we just got a chip on your shoulder for this year, and we look forward to the games coming up and looking forward to seeing the boys again.
Q. Coach Robinson has put a lot of responsibility on you the last year or two to sort of become the leader of that unit. How do you take that, and how do you feel you've done so far?
VENTRELL MILLER: It's a big role, a big role to play, but I embrace it. I like that Coach believes in me that much to put the load on me. So just going out there, looking forward to doing everything that I can to help the team win.
Q. Ventrell, have you noticed a different approach from Todd Grantham and how he's trying to help you guys bounce back from last year?
VENTRELL MILLER: Yeah, we got different things and different things going in this spring and this summer, but as a unit, we're just coming in together, trying to everybody executing, I'd say. Everybody executing, everybody being on one page and coming together and trying to come out and win games.
Q. About that SEC title game last year, the emotions around that, the post-game and everything else, and what you're excited about for this year's matchup in Gainesville.
VENTRELL MILLER: Man, they've got to come to the swamp this year. It was a hard-fought game last year, and I'm pretty sure it's going to be the same this year. We're trying to come out on top this year.
Q. To piggy-back off his question, last year was such a high scoring game, right? Neither team could really stop the other, and yet this year both teams are going to look dramatically different on offense for both teams. What is the offense that you've played against this spring that gives you confidence this year might be a little bit different in the scoreboard?
VENTRELL MILLER: Definitely, the defense is coming along, I'd say. We're looking forward to having a great year this year. Definitely, the points are not going to be that high this year, so we plan on shutting people out this year. So that's the expectation for my defense this year.
Q. Ventrell, you guys won the East last year. You had a national title. You guys were right in that mix all the way to December, New Year's Six bowls. In your words, why is Florida still the team to beat in the East?
VENTRELL MILLER: Man, I feel like we is the team. We came out, and we won the East. I feel like we're the undisputed champions in the East. Like I said, we're looking forward to coming out and winning the whole thing. We come out every year ready to go and ready to rock and roll. Yeah, that's what I've got to say.
Q. Coach Mullen was talking about one of the, quote/unquote, issues with the defense last year is offenses would play you differently because they had to keep up with Kyle Trask and 400 yards and 40-something points. What is it like from a defensive perspective where you do have -- I guess, can you see when an offense starts to play you differently? What is it like when they start putting it through the air constantly when you're so used to ground and pound, and how do you adjust to that?
VENTRELL MILLER: I guess sometimes we'll go in with the prevent defenses and stuff like that, but I don't really got too much to say on that.
Q. Ventrell, lastly, for you entering this last year of your playing career as a Gator, you want to look back on your time with wins and smiles. What is it going to take this year to make you guys the best unit you can be?
VENTRELL MILLER: Where it starts right now, I'd say -- like I said, we're having a great spring and coming out with summer conditioning and holding everybody accountable and holding the Gator standard up. That's where I think this starts so, when the season comes, we'll see the work we put in now and -- yeah.
Q. I saw the video you posted earlier last week. Who has the best dance moves on the team?
VENTRELL MILLER: Probably I'd say Xzavier Henderson. He's probably got the best moves.
Q. Does Dan Mullen still have the best shoe game on the team, or does someone have him beat?
VENTRELL MILLER: I don't know if you all caught him today, but he got it on right now. He definitely has the most exclusive Js on the team, I'd say.
Q. Ventrell, what was the key take-away from the offense this spring? What did you guys see from the other side of the ball going against that offense?
VENTRELL MILLER: Them boys looking pretty good. They're coming together. Like I said, the offense looks different, but they still look good. We've just been going to war, how I say.
Q. What has the process been like learning the new name, image, and likeness rules? How much can the school help you with that versus what they can't? Just take us through it from a player's perspective since July 1st when it went into effect?
VENTRELL MILLER: We probably had four or five meetings just trying to educate us about building our brands and the rules of the name, image, and likeness. So they've just been trying to educate us as much as they can and helping us to see what we can build our brand like and stuff like that. That's what we have been doing with the program.
Q. What is it like from a player's perspective? Do you go to businesses? Do they come to you? Sort of how does that work?
VENTRELL MILLER: It's a little bit of both. If someone is interested in you, they can DM you. If it's a place that you want, I've seen guys going out to places they want to hook up with, they went out and expressed that. It's a two-way street.
Q. Ventrell, since Coach Mullen has the best shoe game on the team, but do you see the video of him surfing behind the boat?
VENTRELL MILLER: He was definitely going crazy. I don't know how he did it. He was looking good, though.
Q. Do you think anybody on the team can match him? Can they do that too, you know?
VENTRELL MILLER: Not that I know of. He probably got everybody beat right now.
Q. Just wanted to talk about going back to Death Valley. Obviously, a huge rivalry, and it's going to be insane again this year. You talked about, I think, earlier this year some unfinished business that you have to do. Are we going to see some of that in Death Valley this year?
VENTRELL MILLER: Definitely, man. I'm looking forward to it. Like I said, we got a bad taste in our mouth from last year, so definitely we coming out with some vengeance. We're going to win that game.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports