To say the 2012 season was a frustrating one for Saint Francis quarterback Josh Miller would be an understatement.
The senior suffered a stress fracture to his ankle in a victory over then-No. 1 Saint Xavier in late September. No one truly understood the severity of the injury, so every week Miller tried to give it a go on the practice field and in games.
Sometimes he would get through an entire game; other times he would have to give way to backup David Yoder and others.
Miller waited and waited, and the ankle never seemed to get better.
“I could tell it was never the same (after the Saint Xavier game),” Miller said. “I played a few games then reinjured it in (the playoff opener) against Baker.”
Overall, Miller started nine games for the Cougars a year ago. He amassed 928 yards and seven touchdowns on 83-of-147 passing with a pair of interceptions.
“It was very frustrating, it was a week-to-week thing and we played it by ear (on whether I would play),” Miller said. “Obviously, when I did play I was not 100 percent. I was uneasy when someone did hit the ankle; it was that psychological factor.”
Miller, an Ohio native, used the time he missed to learn in other areas.
“Honestly, it was a blessing in some ways,” Miller said. “I wasn't on the field but it allowed me to grow as a person and leader.”
Miller got an MRI on the ankle during Christmas break after he could barely walk, which finally revealed the stress fracture injury. Luckily, surgery was not required, but he was unable to take part in winter workouts because he was in a walking boot.
“I couldn't participate, but it allowed me to be a more personable captain,” Miller said. “There is nothing more that I want than my teammates knowing they can come to me with anything.”
Miller hopes this year is an injury-free season, with second-ranked Saint Francis set to open its home schedule Saturday night against No. 7 Saint Ambrose.
Miller went 16-of-24 for 161 yards and a score last week on the road at No. 16 William Penn and feels 100 percent, a far cry from the majority of last year.
“The thing was, I was very open on whether I could play or not. I owe that to my teammates,” Miller said. “I am not going to go out there and hurt the team if I cannot perform well.”
So far, so good for the senior quarterback.