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By ASHLEY SCOBY
Mister Cobble is stuck right in the middle.
He still is in the process of learning techniques and life lessons from older guys he has played with in the past. But as a senior at UK this year, Cobble is also being called upon to provide leadership and help teach the younger defensive linemen the things he was taught as a youngster as well.
According to Cobble, he still stays in touch with former UK defensive linemen-turned NFL linemen, such as Myron Pryor (formerly with the New England Patriots) and Corey Peters (Atlanta Falcons).
“Every day you get older, you just keep learning,” Cobble said. “I feel like there is never a day where you can stop learning … It’s a dual process. As I learn and gather information, I’ve also got to pass it down.”
Pryor, who was drafted by the Patriots in the 2009 draft, taught Cobble a lot of what he had learned in New England’s defensive formations: hand placements, specific pass-rushing moves, etc. Cobble has taken all of that to heart as one of Kentucky’s front men.
As a sophomore, Cobble led all of UK’s defensive linemen with 33 tackles on the year, as well as one sack at Georgia. Last season, he missed two games but still finished with 25 tackles, as well as two sacks against Louisville and Vanderbilt.
Now, Cobble is ready to head into his senior season in Lexington, and kicked things off by losing weight as part of Erik Korem’s high performance program. He said he has lost about 15-20 pounds, which will help him be lighter on his feet in pass rushing situations.
Kentucky’s defensive scheme – back to a 4-3 with the edition of defensive coordinator DJ Eliot – will also be in Cobble’s favor, he says.
“It’s nothing against the 3-4,” he said. “The 4-3 is what I played in high school and that’s what made me dominant. Being in it again, I feel like it allows the defense to be more aggressive.”
Aggression is something that comes pretty easy for most defensive linemen. But patience is also key, and that is what Eliot has stressed the most when it comes to Cobble.
“He’s told me to just not worry about what’s going on in the backfield because it’ll come to you as you progress through the play,” Cobble said. “For now, just focus on the man in front of you and dominate them.”
If Cobble learns that patience, and continues to stay as aggressive as the 4-3 defense demands of him, it could spell out a breakout season for Cobble, as long as he stays healthy. With that, comes the possibility of playing at the next level.
Cobble’s position coach, Jimmy Brumbaugh, spent part of this summer with the Miami Dolphins as part of his Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship. His tutelage is something Cobble believes can help him get to that point.
“When he (Brumbaugh) went to the Dolphins, they were just learning things that he already had been doing for the past couple years,” Cobble said. “So he came back from them and came to us and told us, ‘Look, in the NFL, they just started what we’ve been practicing since spring.’ I feel like what he’s doing right now is getting us ready for the next level.”
With Brumbaugh’s and Eliot’s coaching, Cobble hopes to combine what he’s learned mentally with his powerful, physical frame (6-0, 338) for a chance to be drafted like his mentors were before him, such as Peters. Amongst all the talk on technique and movement that Cobble has had with Peters, one particular bit of advice stands out.
“I always wanted to be like him,” Cobble said. “The best thing he ever told me was to be better than him. Every day I just try to remember how he was and just try to be one step better than that.”