1: We asked him about this years team and what appears to be a great group of kids at Lakes.
Coach Miller feels the squad is as talented as any he has ever had. But he does sense that there is a cohesiveness in this group more so then teams of the past. It could be that the Lancers are riding the Family Over Everything or F.O.E. wave that began last year during the amazing run they had to the hoops trophy; winning it all in classic team fashion. But he is very happy with the kids and says they are talented and that the Seniors as as good of a group as you could ever hope for.
“Incredible kids. Both of them have meant so much to the program. In Banner you have one of the greatest kids you could want and everything an All American should be. Same goes for Cedric who I feel like we have had for many (100) years. They are both phenomenal kids and right now I can not imagine life (or Lakes Football) without them.”
3: Will he be Coaching again for the West Squad at the All American Game as he has done in years past?
“No not this year. And it is going to be nice because I will get to watch the guys and really enjoy them and the whole experience in that way,” he added. “I am really looking forward to this.”
4: We had to ask him about Bellevue and their anticipated match up ahead if both teams reach the quarter finals; somthing that is almost a certainty.
“Butch does a good job of downplaying the talent level of their kids sometimes. But we have seen them and my gosh they are loaded. No one should ever feel that they are not one of the most talented teams in the Nation because they are,” he said. “Good Coaches win with Good players and that is what they have there every year,” he said repeatedly complimenting the team and staff at Bellevue for earning all they have acheived.
5: What about the fact that they are both being ranked in the Top 25 teams in the Nation and yet they will meet before there is a Championship early in the playoffs? Is there a need to change the way Washington does it?
“There is no question that we probably do need to adopt a new system and we are looking at that right now. We are watching what Oregon has done and actually having their computer model do a mock version of how teams would be seeded this year. That will be interesting to see the results of.”
Coach Miller is a sitting member of the Washington State Coaches Association committee that is determining what would work best in the future to insure that this sitaution of top teams facing each other early does not happen. This year is certainly one year where no one wants to see the Lancers and the Wolverines meet up early; well with the exception of teams and coaches who benefit by one of them being eliminated early.
Miller says he thinks the Committee is on the right track and pointed out that guys like Jon Eagle of Camas, a legendary Head Coach, are really helping to figure this out. The Papermakers are a top rated team who this year will be on the opposite side of the bracket from the Lancers and Wolverines; certainly helping them have a bit easier road to the finals. Only time will tell.
“We are thinking about setting up a committee of 12 panelists who are capable of agreeing on concensus top teams, then seeding those teams, and then using the current system to fill out the brackets,” said Miller. “Guys like yourself see way more football then any of us do and have a much broader perspective for who the top rated teams should be. That should lead to a better outcome potentially.”
What he is suggesting is that a panel of experts would be agreed upon; they would reach a concensus on the top 4-8 teams, and those teams would be evenly distributed throughout the brackets. So the top teams would be spread through the Top and Bottom of the brackets evenly. Then they could potentially allow predetemined league finishers to fill out the rest of the bracket as is currently the case.
“Oregon’s system of allowing a computer ranking based on a ton of data and information seems to be working really well. But that is not the whole story. You have budget cuts and travel related costs and issues that in this economy you better be sensitive too as well.”
That is a point well taken and something Oregon is going to struggle with if a team from Medford, for instance, has to travel 7 hours to Portland for a game. The cost of Diesel, food, and Lodging along could become prohibitive. So Miller and the Coaches committe are on to something.
He says he and the group will meet at the end of this Season to discuss the collected data and information and they will look at the outcome verus the Oregon systems model. They will then make recommendations.
One Look at Oregon’s System can be done right here: http://w3.osaa.org/scorecenter/fb/11-12/rankings/List/6A?classification=6A and that reveals some interesting thoughts. The #1 seed right now is Lake Oswego who is #2 in most Statewide Polls. Sheldon who is undefeated and #1 in most polls is actually #4 in this modle as they have not beaten teams as highly rated as Lake Oswego. West Linn who is 6-2 is rated #2 right now and are rated #6 in most polls. And South Medford Panthers who are 8-0 are in 7th position behind a 5-3 Jesuit team who is rated #4.
In the end however what you would like to see is these Top 8 teams each spread top and bottom of the Bracket but you sure don’t want a concensus #1 and #2 in the Top half of the bracket. Look at Oregon’s rankings in one week after all the finals are done and see where they are at then.
6: Last question for Miller was to ask if he is sensitive to the claims that his boys have not been tested as much and maybe that the team has run the scores up a bit; something a few have quietly said.
“Well have only scored once in the second half of every game this year and that has been the result of sitting our starters. This is a really good group and of course we have to play them some. We are certainly not running the scores up or trying to set a record or any of that,” he said. It is noteworthy that some believe this team could set League and or State scoring records. Something that did not matter a bit to Coach Miller.
Now to the second part of the question.
“When good kids get squeezed you find the good stuff. We have not been squeezed that much this year but when we do I think people are going to see some really good stuff,” he concluded.
No doubt they will. This Lakes squad is so loaded with talent; more then we have seen anywhere this year with the exception of Bellevue.
There is an old saying that “To be the man you gotta beat the man”.
Right now Bellevue is the man and the Lancers appear to be headed to a showdown with him.
We wish to thank Head Coach Dave Miller for taking the time to talk with us and for working so hard for his kids and all the kids in the State of Washington.