In Osei's first year at Elk Grove, it's about attitude
Miles Osei has had a winning attitude on and off the field.
The Mt. Prospect native showed that during his playing days at Prospect High School, and later at the University of Illinois.
Osei is taking over this season as coach at Elk Grove, where the Grenadiers have gone 1-17 over the last two seasons. And the proven winner is working to build his attitude into the team.
"Whenever you go to a new program there is usually a change in the culture," Osei said. "And that is what we are focused. It is not just about wins and losses."
Osei has been met with nothing but positives from the players, parents and community of Elk Grove.
"It has been good," Osei said. "We have had great support for the program around. And around the community it has been very good as well."
That support has translated into higher numbers for the football team. There are currently 45 on the varsity. But where it has really translated has been on the freshman level, where 30 players came out during the summer. Since then, the number has swelled to 45.
"We are slowly progressing," Osei said. "Of course, all of us coaches want to go faster. But it takes time. We want our kids to know how to fight and what it takes to be a good teammate."
Osei will be installing a new offense that will be spreading the ball out more. But the focal point will still be running back Genio Hyppolite, who led the team in rushing last year as junior.
"He is an explosive player who has worked hard in weight room," Osei said. "We are excited to see how he does this year."
Sophomores Mark Matos and Nate Blankenship will also be in the backfield to give the Grens some depth.
There will also be depth at quarterback, where Tyler Selvig, who started last year, and sophomore Charlie Jamczak are competing for the job.
Both will have plenty of weapons to throw to. Jordan Villa, Vinny Fasiano, Dillon Elsner and Matt Crimmins are all back to get the Grens a solid look there.
The offensive line also could be a strength for Elk Grove.
Senior Tom Carpenter (5-11, 230) moved from linebacker last year to center this year. Matt Varga (6-3, 300) and Michael Clausen (6-2, 270) are also both seniors and played quite a bit last year. Ken Varga (6-3, 220) and Blake Berthold (6-1, 230) are both juniors, but are expected to fit in quite nicely.
Defensively , things are still a bit up in the air for the Grens.
Azarre Henderson, Tim Varga, Andrew Clausen, Devon Tillman Jr. and Cameron Crus will be part of a five-man rotation on the defensive line.
The linebackers are a bit more settled with Hyppolite, Villa and Brandan Paeng roaming there.
The secondary also is in a bit of flux. Sophomore Kosei Kusunoki along with Fasiano, Elsner, Crimmins, Matos and Jake Surz will play in a rotation.
"We have thrown a lot at them from a culture standpoint and X's and O's," Osei said. "But they have shown signs that they get it. We just need to pick up on the consistency."