Florida A & M’s last homecoming game was bittersweet for punter Damon Miller.
The Rattler’s routed Norfolk State 60-10, and Miller was forced to sit on the sidelines the entire game as FAMU did not have to punt all day.
“I was pretty upset,” Miller said. “I touched the field for pre-game warm-ups and the coin toss, and that’s it.”
Although it’s always good news for a team when they don’t have to punt, Miller is just like any other athlete, he always wants to be on the field.
“I wouldn’t mind getting out there at least once a game,” Miller said. “But I’m always happy with a win.”
The 6- foot-3, 200-pound punter often wishes he could play another position on the field to help the team.
“I’m bigger than most of our wide receivers and some of our defensive players, and I want to be out there so bad sometimes,” Miller said. “I think about it so much, especially when Cardan (Alexander) went down, I thought maybe I should go and play safety.”
Miller, who has had several knee surgeries over the past five years, feels his injuries are the only thing that prevents him from playing another position.
Miller, a senior criminal justice student, is averaging 42.5 yards per punt this year.
Head Coach Billy Joe is very pleased with the efforts of his senior punter.
“Miller has been excellent, and he stands to be commended and congratulated for a job well done,” Joe said.
As a high school player at FAMU Developmental Research School, Miller lettered in baseball, basketball, football and track. For this former four-sport athlete, the game of football is special and nothing can compare to the feeling of a homecoming game.
“When I was younger I never missed the home games, especially homecoming,” Miller said. “Homecoming is a feeling like no other for everyone.”
Miller, who was second-team all MEAC in 2002, remembers his first homecoming game as a surreal experience.
“It was different; the crowd was into it and so was the band,” he said. “I had to learn to deal with it.”
The senior punter knows how to deal with more than just a football game, for he is also a dedicated member of the Alpha Eta chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Offensive lineman Fletcher Williams, Miller’s teammate and fraternity brother has much respect for him as a player and a person.
“Damon is one of the best punters FAMU has ever had,” Williams said. “He shows good leadership on and off the field, and he is a good role model for some of the younger members on the team.”
While there is only one homecoming game remaining in Miller’s Rattler career, he’s planning to enjoy the events of the week as much as possible.
“In the past, I couldn’t enjoy the festivities because of practices and our schedule,” Miller said. “I plan on cherishing this one. I plan on taking the week real slow and doing as many things as possible, within Coach Joe’s law.”
Joe’s law is a reference to the coach’s rules for his players during the homecoming week.
“We don’t allow our players to get involved in any pre-game homecoming activities, and as a matter of fact, we take them off campus the night before the game so that they can get their rest and concentrate and focus on the game,” Joe said.
However, after the game the players are allowed to make the most of the remaining events. This year’s homecoming game kicks off at 3 p.m. versus the Tigers of Savannah State.
Contact Andre Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.