Miles Osei had a major adjustment to make this past year in moving from Prospect High School to Illinois. Besides new surroundings and rigorous academic load, Osei became second team quarterback and had to prepare to play every game of the 2010 season.
He saw only three plays in one nonconference game, but he was next in line if Nathan Scheelhaase had gone down with injury. Osei learned much as a backup, but there was much more to learn.
"Yeah. I've been working hard, especially in the off season. I'm just trying to learn the plays as best I can. I'm dedicating myself to football, football, football. I'm just trying to learn from every coaching point and my mistakes so I won't do it over again."
Osei was pleased to share all the spring reps with Scheelhaase.
"We're kind of low on quarterbacks. It's good. Everyone is getting better, team's getting a lot reps, and we improved this spring."
There was concern for his welfare when asked to go live against the defense several times this spring. But he looked forward to it.
"I like it. Having a person arm tackle you, you can break through those tackles. It's fun getting hit and delivering hits. I always like to go live."
The value in going live is seeing how the quarterback responds to an all-out rush. Will he remain calm in the pocket and deliver his passes accurately and with good timing despite the pressure? Osei admits more work is required.
"I still need to be much more consistent with all my throws. I feel a little bit better, but there's definitely room for improvement. All the time, there's room for improvement."
The other concern with a live rush is staying in the pocket long enough for receivers to break open in the secondary. Osei admits he sometimes flushes from the pocket too quickly.
"I think at times I do. But I just need to know when the right time is to pass and stay in the pocket. Especially down and distance-wise, if it's fourth down I need to buy more time to throw. Stuff like that."
The lefty has excellent speed, which applies pressure to the defense.
"Definitely for sure it helps. It makes the defense think about you more and makes the receivers more wide open. And it makes it harder for defensive linemen."
Illinois coaches Paul Petrino and Jeff Brohm utilize plays that take advantage of quarterback quickness.
"Nathan and I both have the same play where we get out on the edge and run a lot. So we do a lot of read stuff, like fake the reads and boot it out. So I think our games are pretty much similar. We're definitely doing a lot of rollout stuff."
Osei feels more accurate on the run than standing in the pocket.
"I think it makes it easier. Coach Brohm constantly preaches to us to buy time. It makes people more wide open, and it makes it easier to complete balls like that."
The 5'-11", 200 pounder enjoyed the Texas Bowl despite not playing in it.
"It was great. Being in a bowl game first year, just seeing Reliant Stadium, it was awesome. It was a great experience."
But he agrees with many teammates who feel the bowl game made them hungrier for something even better.
"For sure. The Texas Bowl is a great bowl, but there's also better bowls out there. So I can't imagine what those bowls are gonna be like. We're hungry to get out there and hopefully go to a bigger bowl next year."