This is the first post in NCB’s “Where Are They Now?” series featuring greats from the University of Nebraska. Our first interview is of former Husker Defensive Back Barron Miles.
Barron Miles was born in Roselle, New Jersey on January 1, 1972 – which happens to be the same day Nebraska defeated Alabama in the Orange Bowl 38-6 to win their second consecutive national championship. He played Defensive Back for the Blackshirts from 1991-1994 and helped legendary coach Tom Osborne win his 1st National Title. Miles was best known for his school-record 7 blocked punts during his career and still ranks among Nebraska’s all-time top 10 for pass breakups.
Miles continued his playing days in the CFL (Canadian Football League) and finished his career as the all-time punt blocker and 2nd in career interceptions. He is currently the Defensive Backs coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Barron currently resides in Regina, Saskatchewan with his wife and three children Raven, Barron Jr. and Ava. Barron and his wife Jennifer currently develop and manage fitness programs for children at their business “Miles of Fitness”.
Q: What made you decide to go to Nebraska as opposed to staying on the East Coast or attending another university?
A: “The feeling I got when I attended my visit to the University of Nebraska. It just felt right. I used to watch Nebraska/Oklahoma games on Thanksgiving and being there was a great feeling. The main reason was because of the academic program. During my visit it wasn’t just a quick tour of the academic department, but we spent almost an entire day there. I knew I was going to need support with my education so this was very impressive to me.”
Q: What was your first impression of Lincoln, Nebraska?
A: **laughter** “Small town and everyone seemed to know each other. There definitely wasn’t diversity like I was used to in New Jersey. This ended up being a good thing for me because I had to adapt and communicate with individuals differently than I had in NJ.”
Q: What was your best football memory as a Cornhusker?
A: “The summer leading up to the 94/95 National Title. We had just lost to Florida State. A close battle that we should have won. The team came together and vowed that we would end up back in that same situation to be fighting for the title. Here’s a bunch of guys from different walks of life who have the same goal. We all know the end result!”
Q: What was your biggest challenge at Nebraska?
A: “Getting through lecture halls in the classroom. I wasn’t used to big lecture halls and taking notes. This became a big challenge for me.”
Q: What is your favorite Tom Osborne memory?
A: “My favorite Tom Osborne moment was when he came in at halftime of the 94 national championship and said word for word what would happen in the second half. To see that all unfold was breath taking. It’s hard to understand unless you were in that room.”
Q: Can you provide any examples of the type of trash talking that went on during the 1995 Orange Bowl?
A: “To be honest nobody was really talking. We were there on a business trip.”
Q: What were your first thoughts about possibly playing in the CFL after your stint in the NFL?
A: “It was great. It was an opportunity to continue playing professional football. I was grateful to have an opportunity to showcase my skills even at only 5’9” and 180lbs.”
Q: What are the best and worst things about playing in the CFL?
A: “Best – the game is fast, full of life and takes you back to college football. You play each team more than once so rivalries start. The atmosphere is great in the stadiums. The two best aspects are getting involved in the communities and players up here play for the love of the game.
“Worst- the pay.”
Q: What was the highlight of your CFL Career?
A: “Becoming the all time punt blocker in the CFL and 2nd in career interceptions.”
Q: Where did life take you after your playing days in the CFL?
A: “I’m still in the CFL but as a defensive backs coach now. I’ve always wanted to be a coach and it was a natural progression to stay in the CFL. Maybe one day I’ll end up back in Lincoln.”
“My wife and I also started a fitness company. We specialize in family fitness (youth sports acceleration, bootcamps and keeping families active together)”
Q: What advice do you have to those hesitant in pursuing certain careers due to dyslexia?
A: “Go for it. Don’t limit yourself because of what others may be scared of. Yes, you may have challenges but as long as you know you’re weaknesses, you can turn it into your strength. I think one of the reasons I was successful in the CFL is because dyslexia ended up being a gift for me. It’s almost like Good Will Hunting (the movie). When they were sitting in the classroom and the professor was going over the equations and the student said “this is too easy”. The professor had to think and go over these equations for months and years but to the student it was so clear. That is how I see football.”
Q: What was your secret to blocking kicks?
A: “I wasn’t scared to put my body on the line. Whatever it took to block the kick, I was willing to do it. It was something I wanted to do. I wanted to block a kick. Half of the time players say they want to but deep down they are scared.”