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By LARRY VAUGHT
For Kentucky defensive tackle Mister Cobble, it has never been hard to know where most of his family’s loyalty lies in the Kentucky-Louisville game.
“Everyone in my family is a Louisville fan other than my mother. She is the only Kentucky fan. She was always a Kentucky fan and always wanted me to come here,” said Cobble, a fifth-year senior. “Everybody in my family always hated on Kentucky, but when I came here it got worse. When we play each other, it is usually just me and her by ourselves in the corner. She is just rooting for me.”
That’s what he expects again Saturday when UK hosts favorite Louisville and tries to slow down the high profile offense led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. However, he knows his mom, Cassandra Cobble, and him will both have fun.
“It is a fun rivalry. When I go back home, everybody likes their team. They like how I am doing. It just all ties into how I am doing and me getting better to make them like Kentucky a little more,” Cobble said.
Cobble, the cousin of former UK quarterback Andre Woodson, was a two-year first-team all-state honoree at defensive tackle — and an all-state wrestler — for Louisville Central in high school and won consecutive state titles. He was ranked as the No. 6 prospect in Kentucky by SuperPrep .
He redshirted in 2009 and then missed all but the BBVA Compass Bowl loss in 2010 because of academic issues. He played in 22 games his sophomore and junior seasons and started over half those game. He had a quarterback sack in last year’s loss to Louisville.
Now he would like to find a way to beat Louisville.
He says most of his high school friends are Louisville fans, too.
“Most I don’t see and the rest, all they can really tell me is just that they like Louisville and when we play them they will root for me, but they still like Louisville as a team. They show me love and want me to do good, just not Kentucky doing good,” he laughed and said.
He believes he understands the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry from a different angle than most of his teammates.
“It’s not that it is not a big deal, but I just understand it from a different angle than most people because I come from Louisville but I play for UK. Most of my family is Louisville fans and I only have one fan, and that’s my mother. But that’s all I need. She has my back every day and cares about me and makes sure I am going graduate and that I get out of here and do what I need to do,” he said.
Cobble admires his mother and all she’s done for him.
“She was a one-woman household. She raised me and my other three sisters all around the same time. I always looked up to her,” Cobble said. “She still helps me every day now. I miss her, I love her, I care about her. I know she is always there for me and I try to show her as much appreciation as possible.”
It’s normally easier to find her at games wearing a jersey or UK shirt with his number and name.
“My mom is outgoing. Since I was in high school, she always had this French horn and she would blow it. My freshman year here, she brought it here and was blowing it and they told her she couldn’t do that any more. She brought a different sound effect, but she always has some form of a horn to let me know she is there,” Cobble said.
He certainly knew where she was during his season of turmoil after he neglected his grades and couldn’t play.
“As a child your mother always tries to instill good habits, good behavior into you. As I got older, she started letting me experience everything and learn for myself,” Cobble said. “She would jump in there every now and then and put me in the right direction, but she lets me take that direction and that path. All I know is that when I look back over my shoulder, she is right there for me.
“When it came down to my grades, she called me and I told her what happened. The first thing she told me was, ‘Don’t lose your focus, baby. We will love you. Keep working hard, Get those grades up. Stay in CATS (UK’s academic program).’ Every day she would call and ask me if I was in CATS and I would say, ‘Yes, mam.’
“She was always on me about my grades, but at the same time she knew I was growing up and trying to become a young man. Every day she tried to let me do it myself and when I needed something, I knew she was there.”
Cobble knows what Saturday’s game — and an upset win — would mean to his mother.
“This game really is special for her. She has been a UK fan all her life. The day I signed with Kentucky, it was the happiest day of her life. She is my biggest and No. 1 fan. I love her to death. She is always there in my corner,” Cobble, who used to pretend he was the Incredible Hulk when he played football as a kid, said.
“Your freshman year you get here and think you will never graduate and then it finally hits you in the face that this is your last year. I am trying to do as much as I can to talk to the younger guys and show them what I have learned and pass it down so that when I leave they will have something to learn off of. But winning this game would be one of the greatest things I could do for them, or my mom. She would be the happiest woman in the world if we won.”