Mt. Prospect's Miles Osei is making rapid progress learning the complex Illinois offense. Like all rookies, he came in with the rest of the team in June to begin informal workouts. He had no coaching during the summer, but he did have help from his teammates.
"I think I learned a pretty good chunk. Obviously, there's so much more that's going in. I think I've got a basic grasp of what's been installed already. We keep rehashing. Every little detail helps."
Osei was mentally prepared for Camp Rantoul. He took advantage of all the advice offered, and he began to assert himself the second week of camp.
"They told me it's gonna be hard. Just be confident, know everything you're doing, just pick up everything you're learning. Rehearse it, rehearse it, rehearse it and you will be fine after that."
The 5'-11" lefty with good speed and a strong arm has been a quick study despite the complexities of the position.
"I think it's been going pretty good. I've just been trying to learn the offense. Learning terminology, routes and stuff like that. Learning the speed of the game, coverages. There's a lot that goes into it. I've just got to take it one thing at a time at practice. It's been helping so far."
Unlike most positions, a quarterback must learn the assignments of every member of the offense plus defensive alignments and tendencies.
"You have to know every position, what the defense is gonna do, their tendencies and everything. There's a lot of studying. I've been really concentrating on the routes from high school to college, especially the timing routes and how the game flows."
Most freshmen say their heads are spinning throughout Camp Rantoul. Not Osei.
"I wouldn't say it's spinning. I would say I'm just concentrating on one thing at a time. Whatever play is called, I'm just concentrating on that play. It's better than the first day of summer."
To be good, quarterbacks must be students of the game. Osei got a head start through the assistance of his Prospect High School program.
"My coach, Coach (Brent) Pearlman, we watched film all the time. He would send DVD's home after a Monday practice, and we had the whole week to game plan and prepare for tendencies. And we'd go over film and take notes.
"This is a new level of it of course, but I think I was introduced to a lot in high school. The coaches are doing a really good job of preparing me for what's to come."
Osei and fellow quarterback Chandler Whitmer, who enrolled at Illinois a semester early, have the luxury of a good freshman receiving corps. They can develop together throughout their 4-5 years on campus.
"Oh yeah. Anthony (Williams), Darius (Millines), Lank (Ryan Lankford), Spencer (Harris), Jake (Kumerow). They've got speed and hands on top of that. If you get in trouble, just look to one of your good receivers and hit them. I'm excited to get on the field and play with them."
Osei had one advantage at Rantoul other freshmen lacked. He had practiced there before.
"My high school team goes there every year. I'm kind of used to it. They go there the week before we go there. I've been there for three years, and now four more."
Osei is a quick study. If he keeps improving, he will see a great deal of playing time in his career. And who knows, even though a redshirt year would be ideal, maybe even this season.