With the Dolphins depth chart thinned after Reggie Bush's departure to the Lions, there are high expectations for second-year running back Lamar Miller. It sounds like the former Miami Hurricane is doing his best to fulfill them, too.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Miller's in North Miami Beach being mentored by 49ers running back -- and fellow former 'Cane -- Frank Gore. The pair are working out twice daily along with other NFL players, including another former Hurricane: Steelers linebacker Sean Spence.
“The way Lamar is learning from Frank, it's a beautiful thing," Spence said.
The backs are also working with Pete Bommarito, who runs Bommarito Performance Systems and has trained a who's who list of running backs in the NFL. And Bommarito's praise of Miller is even higher.
“He's the fastest running back I've ever seen,” Bommarito said.
The trainer also noted that working with Gore has done positive things for Miller's "work ethic and mentality" toward the game of football.
“Since Lamar started gravitating toward Frank, his work ethic and mentality are unparalleled," Bommarito said.
It's easy to understand how working with Gore can help Miller: There's arguably not a more underrated running back in the league than Gore, and he also happens to be a guy who's been counted out and dismissed more times than you can count. He had multiple knee surgeries (right and left ACLs) in college, a slew of injuries in the pros, and people expected drop-offs in production every season. (And yet, since being named the 49ers starter, Gore has averaged 15 games, 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns a season.)
I digress, but you get the point here: Gore's a great role model. Per Bommarito, Gore's also showing Miller “how to take care of his body, what to do beyond what is required.”
So is the work paying off? Gore praised Miller, saying he's the "fastest" Hurricanes running back of the last 20 years (a group that includes Edgerrin James, Gore, Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee) and likened the youngster to Portis.
Miller says the result of his work with Gore is that he's "stronger" and "more explosive" than he was in his rookie season.
"I've gotten quicker doing lateral work, and I've become more explosive by training every day doing squats on my legs,” Miller said. "[And] I'm stronger. Last year, I was kind of lost getting adjusted to the speed of the game and knowing where I'm supposed to be at all times. Now I'm very comfortable with the system."
That's a terrifying thought for opponents looking to stop the second-year back. For the Dolphins, though, it provides early justification for their decision to let Bush walk on the open market and put their faith in a young running back who appears eager to live up to the expectations that surround his 2013 season.