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The Cardinal Countdown: 66 Days Until Kickoff

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North Carolina State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

#66 Cole Bentley

Class: Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/314

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Lenore, WV

Twitter: @ColeBentley66

Thoughts: My man Cole has been round here for what seems like 5 or 6 seasons coming in as an immediate contributor up front. As a freshman Cole played in seven games at guard and actually got three starts back in 2017. His sophomore season and last year Bentley was hanging around the middle of the line playing a little left and right guard while also pumping out some snaps from the center position. Bentley started all 12 games in 2018 and after seeing some sketchy play time and time again from transfer TJ McCoy Cole earned his starting spot back at center last year and is in prime position to hold onto that job with daylight fading on the “offseason” and players reporting back to school the last couple weeks.

While I know that most of the time you can’t count on me to be totally objective, as my optimism for the season and players in general is typically bright enough a colorblind dog with a blindfold can still see it, but I do have to be real with you from time to time so you trust my opinion and know it ain’t always puppy dogs (colorblind or not) and rainbows. There were times in 2018 and last year that Cole wasn’t playing very well, and likely some of that is why he lost the starting job to begin with. Even as late as the UK game and the bowl game Bentley was still getting popped with some holding calls that brought back big runs when it wasn’t necessary or missing blocks to allow a free runner. It was gonna be a long December, long January, and long February before they rolled the balls out again if that’s how the season ended, but thankfully it didn’t. The Cards won the bowl game and Bentley, I thought, earned some respect with how he rebounded back with some solid play in the second half against Mississippi State. I loved the play below where Bentley (#66) at center gets below his man, creates leverage and then while blocking to the left side of the field completely shifts his entire body with good footwork to actually place himself between the defender and Hawkins who was also running towards the left corner of the endzone. Javian had so much space it looked like he was trotting through the cornfields in Omaha…

If you watch that play you’ll notice that the O-line at the time from left to right is Boone, Chandler, Bentley, Bell, and Haycraft. Four fifths of what we expect to see on opening night this season. Maybe it’s a conscious effort to trick my brain or maybe I’m just accidentally in love with that group up front, but I’m really excited about what Ledford can do with those four and Renato Brown (likely) this season.

Also, a quick congrats to Cole who got engaged last year. A big step for anyone but especially for Division-I athletes who are trying to balance work, school, football, and a relationship all at the same time. This is also a great opportunity to remind your friends and family that summer and spring are for weddings, and football is for August and everything after. If COVID kills football, sure have your mid-September shenanigans, but if we’re playing…please don’t make me choose.

Sweet Tweet:

Four things offensive lineman love. 1. Eating 2. Fishing 3. Mudholes 4. HIDDEN SONG CHALLENGES!!!!

That’s right folks, time for the annual tradition of yours truly smashing song titles into a write up like a modern day Joey Chestnut with a stack of wieners. This year I went a tad old school and fed into the 90’s era of rock/folk and slid ten (10) Counting Crows song titles into the post above. Counting Crows not your jam? Who cares, it’s a game, lighten up. While I would urge you from jumping directly into the Google machine I know you all well enough to see that is exactly what you will do anyway, so have at it. First to respond with all ten accurately will get a little something from me and all the love and adoration from your fellow CC readers….or at least a few snarky comments and a tinge of jealousy.