"He is more composed," Miller said. "As a 10th grader, he wanted to rip it and make plays. We would tell him, 'You have to make the easy throws.' He has gotten better at that. He knows what we want from him."
Miller is eager to improve on last year's 3-7 record (1-4 county).
He's cautiously optimistic because the Falcons have more talent, depth and speed. They are stronger, too.
"The kids have made a concerted effort to be in the weight room and I think we are a lot stronger than we have been in the past," the coach said. "I think we have more team speed all around. We have a long way to go, but I've liked what I have seen so far."
The hope for Winters Mill's success comes back to Barnes and the offense, which returns six starters.
Running back appears to be another position of strength. Senior Glen Acha returns as the starter. He rushed for 391 yards and two touchdowns on 115 carries.
"Glen might be the strongest kid pound for pound that we have on the team," Miller said. "He is more polished. He sees the holes better and hits them hard. He is falling forward and maybe a two-yard gain becomes a 5-yard gain or a 7-yard gain becomes an 11-yard gain."
Senior running back Kevin Foster, a transfer from Liberty, should give the running game a boost.
The backs will be working behind an offensive line that features senior center Kyle Shanholtz (6-2, 255), junior tackle Dylan Steinwedel (6-4, 220), senior tackle Collin Smith (6-4, 200) and senior guards Blake Billings (5-11, 235) and Alex Miller (5-10, 220).
"I think they could be a very good offensive line," Miller said. "This is the strongest unit physically that we've had. I hope that translates into success for them."