by Danny Brewer

The goal for any young athlete is improvement. Smyrna high school quarterback Landon Miller appears to be rolling in the right direction when it comes to getting better.

Over their illustrious gridiron history, the Bulldogs have been blessed with their fair share of talented signal callers. Names like O.J. Smith, Larry Daniels, Luke Powell, Lee Carter, Steve Willey, Steve Wilson, and Sonny Gray jog memories of recent guys that could get it done under center. Miller may not be in their company just yet, but this six-foot three inch junior is now more than just a pup.

Experience has played a factor in the rise of this talented Bulldog. Having seen varsity action since walking on to campus as a freshman, Miller seems to be getting better every game. Of course the physical maturation process has taken place, but perhaps more importantly, the mentality has grown as well.

“Landon has done a really good job of getting stronger both physically and mentally since last season”, says Smyrna head coach Matt Williams. “He has worked very hard in the weight room but has also done an excellent job of becoming a real quarterback. He has grown by leaps and bounds.”

Miller’s improvement was on full display in Smyrna’s 35-10 lambasting of LaVergne on September 10. The statistics were very solid (8 for 12 passing 183 yards 2 touchdowns, 1 rushing TD), but the decision making was the real kicker.

One play that was a microcosm of his development came in the second quarter. Scrambling from the pocket, Miller could have easily ran for a first down but instead had the patience to let the play develop. Lofting a perfect 36 yard strike downfield to a breaking KJ Whitney, Miller’s timely toss set up another Smyrna touchdown and put the Dogs up 21-0.

“That play shows how far Landon has come as a quarterback”, says Williams. “He had the moxie to make that kind of play when he could have easily ran for a nice gain. That’s a play veteran quarterbacks make. We talked earlier in the week about taking pride in doing all the little things right and he responded with perhaps his best game as a Bulldog.”

Smyrna (3-1) now stands unbeaten on the field with a Covid forfeit to Rockvale as the lone blemish. With six games to play in the regular season, Miller understands the importance of continuing to be a hungry Dog.

“We are not where we need to be as a team yet, but I think our chemistry is getting better”, says Miller. “I am getting more comfortable at my position but understand the hard work has to continue.”

Smyrna travels to Antioch on September 17 and returns home to host Riverdale on September 24.