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The Cardinal Countdown: 66 Days Until Kickoff

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NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

#66 Cole Bentley

Class: Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/313

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Lenore, WV

Twitter: @ColeBentley66

Thoughts: Cole Bentley came in and played incredibly well as a true freshman two seasons ago. It seems like only yesterday he was part of a new and improved line back in 2017 that was trending in the right direction. Well, I should have known better than to get my hopes up that the O-line was going to turn into world beaters in a single season, as it frankly just takes time to come together as a group, and getting better is not an overnight activity. While Bentley, Bell, and Becton were a step in the right direction on the recruiting trail they we’re all very young and tomorrow never knows what a freshman or sophomore is gonna do. The group played well but we knew there would be some bumps in the road. Fast forward a year and the benefit of additional experience along the line was blemished by an injury to Robbie Bell at a key position (center). Someone had to step up; something had to happen to fill that void. Enter Cole Bentley.

Bentley got a ticket to ride right on over to the center spot, with the goal of keeping the most talented players on the field. Bentley put in the work during the fall to make the shift but people just don’t understand the amount of information the center needs to know in order to call out shifts, identify the formation, and typically take on a much larger lineman on the opposite side of the ball. A day in the life of a center is no joke, and my man Bentley could have practiced eight days a week during that month leading up to the season and likely would still be in a tough spot to excel at his new position, especially considering Alabama was the first opponent out of the gate. You could likely put two of us out there in that one position and we would struggle keeping the Tide at bay. I think some of his frustration came out on a second quarter interception from Pass where he displayed a nice form tackle and let it be known he can lay a hit if need be.

While that one game wasn’t the end all be all at the position I think Summers and Petrino saw that they were losing a really good guard and getting an average center in return. It was time for Bentley to get back to his more natural position. I thought the move for Bentley was the right call and my “don’t let me down” attitude was rewarded with some solid play from Cole the rest of the year. He started all twelve games last season at various spots on the line but got the majority of his time at guard. The line as a whole did not perform well last season, but you’re not telling them anything they don’t know. Bringing Ledford in will absolutely move things in the right direction but getting some additional talent behind them on the depth chart will be key as well. Let’s not get tricked again into another ‘here comes the sun’ type moment thinking a complete transformation is going to happen Week 1, but Cole is a very good lineman, as is Becton, Bell, Boone, and the transfer TJ McCoy. While I may not be going out too far on a limb I am predicting a big jump statistically in a few major categories for this group including sacks allowed and tackles for loss allowed.

I’m hopefully that in my life I never again have to witness the QB/O-line combination we saw last season. Some new coaching, a new attitude, and a different offense should all help contribute to the growth we’re looking to see. When we brought Bentley in we were hoping he and the others would help take the UofL line from just okay to a great one. Now we need that same group to help us get back to being average. I think they will.

Sweet Tweet:

I like the smell of grass too, standing there looking at my freshly cut yard is a nice moment in my week. It’s become a tradition of sorts to take it all in after I’m done; seeing what a couple hours of work can produce. Another tradition I really like is….the HIDDEN SONG TITLE CHALLENGE!! Once again yours truly has planted song titles in the post above. Who is the lucky artist this season you may ask? Well, a little known band out of Liverpool called ‘The Beatles’ (You may not have heard of them, I’m pretty deep in the music scene). How many songs this year, you may ask? Well this year you are searching 15 (yes, fifteen) different song titles. Yes, it’s a lot, and yes, I am extremely talented for doing so. Your complements are greatly accepted. First person to drop all 15 in the comments below gets a little something special from me and the pride of being crowned the ‘2019 Hidden Song Challenge’ Winner. I’ll even make you a certificate and everything.