Independence Bowl notebook
Miller could return as Ole Miss' starting QB
Posted: Tuesday December 29, 1998 08:05 PM
SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (AP) -- Mississippi quarterback Romaro Miller, who broke his collarbone last month, sounds like he's ready to return as the starter in the Independence Bowl on New Year's Eve.
New coach David Cutcliffe, however, said no decision has been made about Miller's status for the game against Texas Tech.
"I think he's going to be ready to play, how long he can play is the issue," Cutcliffe said Tuesday. "He hasn't been in a live situation. He is still in a situation that we have to evaluate as the game comes."
Cutcliffe said the decision may not be made until just before kickoff Thursday night.
The decision will be based on "how good he feels after practicing hard a couple of days here, and see how much tenderness and soreness he has."
Miller, who has thrown for 2,273 yards, broke his collarbone on the final play of the November 21 game at Georgia. He hasn't taken a hit since, but has thrown passes and gone through offensive drills during 10 days of prebowl workouts.
"I feel real good this week. My shoulder hasn't bothered me," Miller said. "Early in the week, I had a problem with timing, but I feel like the last couple of practices my timing has gotten better."
Cutcliffe said freshman David Morris would share time with Miller. Morris was forced into the starting role for the regular season finale against Mississippi State, a 28-6 loss.
Before becoming Texas Tech's starting quarterback this season, Rob Peters played eight other positions for the Red Raiders.
In 1997, he played quarterback, flanker, fullback and tight end on offense, and on special teams as holder, backup punter and on the kick block, kickoff and kick return teams. He played about half of those positions as a freshman.
"More than anything, it was just the experience of playing," Peters said about his versatile first two years. "When I got here, we had a guy who had started for four years and my first couple of years I was not going to get to play that much at quarterback.
"Being able to do other things, and just getting on the field, you can't replace the opportunity to get out there and pay. More than anything, it helped me."
In his first season replacing four-year starter Zebbie Lethridge, Peters has thrown for 1,269 yards, nine touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe has been forced to alter his schedule at the Independence Bowl, which will be his head coaching debut.
A bout with pancreatitis put him in the hospital for four days during Christmas and delayed his arrival in Shreveport, Louisiana.
"I'm better, to a point where I'm day-to-day," Cutcliffe said Tuesday. "I'm just glad to be hear, and I'm watching what I'm doing. I balance my day, get the things done I have to get done, then try to get back in bed and get some rest."
He is still experiencing pain in his stomach and back, but his diet has elevated to instant breakfast drinks and applesauce.
"I just haven't done the partying at night. They [the players] have done all of the eating and partying. Since I'm not eating anyway, it's not any problem for me," he said. "When practice is over, I kind of shut my day down."