Mills Embraces Change

Bearcats defensive lineman knows a change to the outside is a challenge, but he's use to challenges and has embraced what the Bearcats coaching staff has asked him to do.

University of Cincinnati defensive lineman Brandon Mills has heard it all before. Too short, too slow, too everything, when people talk about his football ability. But while others may have let words slow them down, Mills has worked and shown high quality football players come in all sizes and shapes.

In high school Mills knew all about playing in a winning program. As a product of Colerain High School (Ohio), Mills had a chance to watch several great players ahead of him show the way to championship football.

The same can be said about his journey as a Bearcat.

"It was hard coming in here as a rookie and playing with all these grown men. I came here at 17 years old, but I worked hard in the weight room and in the classroom waiting for my time. I learned a lot from the players who were ahead of me since I've been here."

As a player who stood up during his high school career, Mills had to learn more about playing with his hand down. He adjusted well enough to earn playing time last season. But this season a new challenge stands in front of him.

"It's a big change, we moved Derek Wolfe and John Hughes into the middle and put Dan Giordana and I outside so we could have a bigger rush and bigger passing lanes that will allow us to get to the quarterback."

One thing Brandon learned early in his football career was to stay true to oneself. Coming from a program like Colerain's gave him the small things needed to have success.

"It's basically the same here as it was at Colerain. Family, tradition and winning football are expected at each."

But Mills knows with change comes different expectations from coaches.

"There are some big changes with a lot of different stuff going on around here. But all we have to do as players is keep our head focus and continue to work towards another Big East Championship."

While some high school athletes have an adjustment period from the high school to college life, Mills seems to have found the balance needed to excel on and off the field.

"I had a 3.7 GPA this past quarter, it's all about working hard with my tutors and working hard on the books. There is a lot of stuff that goes on around campus and no parents here telling you what you should be doing, you've got to do it all by yourself. Get the work down when it needs to be done and turning it in by the due dates will keep you out of trouble."

As a local Cincinnati product, Mills knows the choice he made to attend Cincinnati was the right one. He's hoping more local players learn from those before them and really consider making Cincinnati their college choice.

"This is a good choice as we're still on the uprising. We just had another great season and we're going to continue to have more great seasons, Cincinnati is just a great fit for inner city kids and kids from the area. You have everything you want right here and you're still close to home without being too close.

Another change that Mills feels is helping him is the work being done in the Bearcats weight room.

"The weight room is a room full of benefits and I like Coach Lawson and how he handles the weight room. It's hard work but it's getting us ready for the things we'll have to face.

As for goals for the spring, Mills is trying to keep things on even keel.

"I want to get three sacks in the spring game and know all of my defensive assignments while also being a great teammate out here."

As for the change to the outside Mills is learning a thing or two.

"This is really a big change as I had to learn more moves and get use to going against bigger people, but I like the toughness of it."

As for who on the offensive line is giving him the biggest challenges right now?

"I would have to say going against Jason Kelce and Sam Griffin are the best two now. We have a lot of good players but they are the top two to go against.

Despite standing under 6-feet tall, Brandon Mills is proving to be a player the Bearcats coaching staff can count on no matter where they choose to line him up at.


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