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The Cardinal Countdown: 66 Days Until Kickoff

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Louisville V Alabama

#66 Cole Bentley

Class: Freshman

Ht/Wt: 6-3/317

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Lenore, WV

Twitter: @colebentley66

Thoughts: Cole is probably one of the most publicized recruits in a non-skill position for the Cards in a long time. Bentley was a near consensus 4 star guard out of Belfry, KY and had scholarship offers from just about every D-I school within a 200mile radius. Ranked the #2 recruit in the state by Rivals last year Bentley was a huge get for the Cards in a position of need, which I think helped sell Cole on the prospect of joining the program. With the potential for early playing time floating out there Cole actually enrolled early (January) and got to participate in Spring practice as a true freshman. How’d he do? I’ll let Coach Summers fill you in…

"Cole's been understanding what he needs to do, what his assignments are, and I think he's going to be a great player before it's over with. He's so powerful, so strong, and that's without really doing much weight lifting. He just has natural strength and great hips and feet. I've been really excited about it. It's something that's been really good for us." (via Steve Jones-Courier Journal)

While some of that sounds like prototypical coach speak, Summers and Petrino liked what they saw enough that Bentley earned a starting spot for the Red squad in the Spring Game and played pretty much the entire game. It’d be really cool if there was some video of this out there, with maybe some behind the scenes footage, and I don’t’ know, maybe narrated by his significant other or something…oh wait, there is!

While Cole is playing well, my gut feeling is that Petrino lets one of the more experienced guys get the start against Purdue, but Cole sees plenty of action and actually works his way into that role before seasons end. With everybody and their brother focusing on the O-line this year I think the leash will be a little shorter on some of these guys now that the depth behind them is starting to come. I know lots of Louisville fans who are very excited about Cole’s future, and the coaches seem encouraged, but he’s even turning some heads nationally as well as Bleacher Report pegged him as the freshman to watch for on the Cards this season.

I don’t think we can hide him for long.

I love hyping guys up, getting you encouraged for the upcoming season, but I always try and be hesitant placing big expectations on players straight out of high school. With that said…I think we landed a stud in Bentley, and I think when it’s all said and done he adds his name to the growing list of pros produced by Summers and Petrino. (So much for limiting expectations, I guess)

***

Game 11: Syracuse Orange

Key Player: Eric Dungey, Junior, Quarterback

If I’m being total honest, (and based upon the fact that my thoughts are actually physically documented on the internet and thus I can be proven a liar) the Syracuse game last year scared the crap out of me. I hated the Cards traveling to the dome, I hated a young Lamar playing in that environment with still very little experience under his belt, I hated the fact that Dino Babers, their new coach, was likely going to score points with his offensive gameplan, and I hated that Eric Dungey appeared primed for a breakout season and was getting a shot at the Cards early after having Hearns basically end his season back in 2015 with a brutal hit. Nothing felt good about the matchup at all. Then, in one play, a long pass to Quick for a TD, it broke the tension for me and the offense never looked back. Maybe the game goes differently if that first play doesn’t connect, but it did, and the Cards rolled a Cuse team I thought may surprise a few people last season.

Dungey had his lowest completion percentage of the year and threw for the fewest total yards last year in a game where he had numerous possessions (considering the cards dropped 63 points) to rack up stats. The story on Dungey will once again be can he stay healthy, having missed the last three games of the 2016 season as well. Even though Cuse loses Amba Etta-Tawo they do have some threats at WR and Dino will get the offense rolling I’m sure. Playing Syracuse 11 games into the year will basically give Dino and Dungey two full seasons to have their offense installed before rolling into PJCS. The question at this point in the year will be are the Cards still fighting for a playoff berth, or simply coasting into another Belk Bowl appearance? Playoffs on the line, no way Dungey leads his squad to victory on Cards home field on Senior Day. Nothing to play for but pride...don’t be shocked to see the Cuse give the Cards a game late.

Sweet Tweet:

If you’re an O-lineman that doesn’t fish, get out of my face.

Pretty sure that’s Rule 103.A, Subpart 12 in the official O-line handbook, something along the lines of being required to catch at least four bass and two bluegill every calendar year or you must revoke your O-line status, blah, blah, blah. It’s a pretty thick handbook but here at UofL I’m pretty sure they only require you to eat, fish, lift weights.....and for the love of all things holy, protect the damn Heisman winner.