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Zach Miller conference call transcript


The following is a transcript of Zach Miller's conference call with the Jacksonville Media following his selection in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

(are you a quarterback?) "I'm a tight end now."

(how much tight end have you played before?) "I've played one game. I went to the Cactus Bowl for D-II all-star game, and that was really the only time I ever played tight end."

(you didn't play in high school?) "No, I played quarterback my whole life."

(did you get invited to the combine?) "No, I didn't."

(did you visit Jacksonville?) "Yes I did. It's an amazing place."

(is this the only team you visited?) "No, I worked out in Miami. I visited Indianapolis and I visited Green Bay and Atlanta, and then I came to Jacksonville as my last visit."

(was every work out at tight end?) "Yes."

(solely at tight end? Didn't throw a ball?) "Nope."

(how do you prepare for playing the tight end position?) "I've got a ton of preparation. I've got to get health; I have a thumb injury I'm coming off of. I had surgery back on March 16th but I'm almost completely 100% healed with that. I have to learn a ton of technique blocking-wise. I'll tell you one thing that is never going to be lacking for me is effort. Being a quarterback all throughout my whole career playing football, I'm never scared of contact. So I think the transition to tight end hopefully will be a plus for me in my career."

(it looks like you kind of did a little bit of everything in college. Were you kind of the guy they counted on whenever they needed something and they put you wherever they could?) "Yeah, I was counted upon by my teammates and things like that and coaching as well, but it was just doing what we needed to do – run the ball, throw the ball. I had a decent career in college and thankfully can transition into the NFL."

(is there any player who you model yourself after?) "Athletically, Matt Jones is a very gifted man. If you look across the league the other athletic tight ends, you have (Jason) Witten out of Dallas and you got Dallas Clark coming out of Indianapolis. I want to mold myself after the best at the position in the entire league, so from that aspect it's looking to be as good as those guys."

(former Dolphins TE Jim Jensen did the same type of transition. Do you know who he is?) "I'm not quite sure I've ever heard his name, but you know what? I'm going to go Google him, I'm going to watch his tape and I'm going to do anything I can to be like him."

(are you OK with getting drafted late or would you have rather gone the free agency route and picked a team?) "No. If you talk about me wanting to not be drafted and pick a team, I'm talking to the team I would have picked in the first place. If they had offered me a position to come and be a free agent, it was hands down most likely going to be Jacksonville. And it was something I felt comfortable talking to the general manager, the head coach. Obviously talking to Coach (Mike) Tice, I felt comfortable there and hopefully it's going to be a great fit."

(what made it so comfortable? Why Jacksonville?) "I don't know. It was just one of those things, a feeling that I had. Coach Tice came to my pro day and it just seemed like we had a connection right away and it clicked. As soon as I got to Jacksonville, it never dropped off at all. I sat down with all the personnel and everybody and it seemed like it was the right fit."

(where was your pro day held?) "It was here in Omaha."

(was there a combine of players?) "No. There were five of us from Nebraska-Omaha."

(were any other schools represented?) "No, just us."

(is Class C high school football 11-man football?) "Yes. If 5A is the biggest level, we'd probably be like 3A."

(with your size, did you not have scholarship offers from the bigger universities?) "When I was in high school, I was maybe six foot tall, maybe 160 (pounds). I got a growth spurt going into my senior year. I broke my collarbone my junior year and played one year of high school football. I started as a senior, played quarterback and from then on I didn't have very many offers; even coming to UNO. UNO offered me to walk on."

(what year did you get the growth spurt?) "My summer going into my senior year I really took off on a growth spurt. I was 6-3, about 175, 180 pounds I played at."

(in your junior year you broke your collarbone?) "Yeah, my junior year I broke my collarbone twice."

(you only had one year of high school football?) "Yeah, I only started one year. I played all four years but I only had significant playing time as a senior."

(so that was the reason the bigger universities didn't come around?) "Yeah, I didn't get very many looks coming out of high school."

(do you feel like you could have played at those places?) "I do. I walked on at Nebraska coming out of high school."

(at University of Nebraska-Lincoln?) "Yeah. I walked on and played quarterback there and we had a coaching changes when Coach Callahan came in, and it wasn't in the cards for me to get on the field there so I had to take it elsewhere. But thankfully I had an opportunity to come up here to UNO and had a good career."

(so you transferred?) "Yeah."

(in looking at the combination of your rushing and passing numbers, some of those numbers look kind of Tim Tebow-esque. Is there a comparison there?) "I'm the poor man's Tim Tebow, and I'll take that. Tim Tebow is obviously a phenomenal football player and if I've got to be put as the poor man's Tim Tebow, that's it."

(so they don't have to draft him next year then, right?) "No, they already got the poor man."

(have you played on special teams at all?) "I played special teams when I went down to that Cactus Bowl. They put me on every special teams there was, and I had never done it before."

(how did you do?) "I had a couple tackles on kickoff, then it was just up back on kickoff return and an upback on a punt block, punt returns, things like that."

(how did you get your two tackles last season?) "That was probably from throwing a pick and a fumble."

(can you play safety too?) "I played safety in high school, that's about it. But I'll try it out if you guys want me to."

(did you line up at safety in the Cactus Bowl?) "No, I didn't."

(what do you think your chances are of making it in the NFL?) "Personally I think they're going to be very good because I think I can play in the league. The best football players in the world step on the NFL football field every weekend, and to step on the football field with them is a great honor. And hopefully I can grow and develop into a great football player and maybe be mentioned with some of the best."

(what's your 40 time?) "The low end was a 4.47. The high end was about 4.54, so anywhere in between there. I think the official times are like 4.52, 4.53, but I'm going to throw out the 4.47 to you guys because that is what I have heard."

(is your weight at 216?) "No, I'm about 235."

(6-4, 235?) "Yes, 6-4, 235."

(how was it decided for you to become a tight end?) "It just kind of got brought up throughout the year, and then when the selection for the Cactus Bowl…I don't even think they had many tight ends come down there. I think it was a late pick. They just said 'If you want to try it out.' Maybe some of the area scouts said, 'We'd like to see him as a tight end and maybe see what he can do.' And I think that's kind of how it really took off."

(are you pretty excited?) "I'm probably the most excited man there is on a Sunday."

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