One of the biggest problems facing University of Louisville football coach Scott Satterfield and his staff when he took over the program in December of 2018 was a depleted offensive line, especially at the center position.
The Cardinals lacked depth on the line and any consistency at the center position.
But as Louisville heads into the second year of the Satterfield-era, the offense line finally looks like it has some depth.
And the center position?
Offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford said he likes what he has seen from potential starter Cole Bentley and is ready for some major competition in fall camp to see what youngster could land as the backup center.
“It’s going to be fun,” Ledford said. “Right now we’re going to have some guys playing for that backup position.
“That will be with a lot of the young guys that we’ve got here.”
The 6-foot-3, 314-pound Bentley has 21 career starts, including six at the center position last season. He played the guard position in 2017 and in five of 12 games he started in ’18 before taking over at center.
Bentley shared the position early last season with T.J. McCoy before taking over full time.
“I think that he’s ready to have a really big season,” Ledford said. “I think so. He’s putting a lot of great work in.
“He’s very athletic. Coming here we kind of knew that Cole what type of athlete that he was. It’s just learning the position and just getting more and more comfortable with it. I think Cole was having a very good spring. I love the way Cole finished the season last year.”
The native of Lenore, W. Va., and graduate of Belfry High School, Bentley graded out as Louisville’s best lineman with a 90 percent grade against Virginia and had a pair of knockdowns and 78 percent grade against Syracuse.
Ledford said Bentley improved every game last season and he expects a lot out of his during his senior year.
“We ask the center that’s a position that we put a lot on,” Ledford said. “That guy has to be in knowing everything that we’re asking him to do as far as just the knowledge of the scheme and being able to apply it to demonstrate it to others, be it making the calls or whatever he has to do out there.
“But that position requires you to be very athletic as well. And Cole is very similar to Garrett (Bradbury) who was a tight end before (he became a center at N.C. State and now with the Minnesota Vikings). We expect a lot out of Cole.”
Redshirt freshman Jackson Gregory (6-2, 290) had been mentioned by the staff prior to last season as a potential backup at center, while redshirt freshman Joshua Black (6-2, 280) was running with the second unit early in spring ball.
Incoming freshman Austin Collins (6-3, 263) could also play the center position for the Cardinals.
“Some guys that are just now getting on campus,” Ledford said. “That’s going to be one of the positions that throughout camp that you’ve gotta find out who the backups going to be. But we have some good young guys in there.”