Cole Bentley has the keys to the car.
The senior center is the starting point for every play offensively for Louisville football.
When he goes, the offense goes. It doesn’t start without his snap, that’s why offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford tells the West Virginia native who played high school football at Belfry in Kentucky that he has the keys to the Bentley.
At 6-foot-3, 314 pounds, Bentley started the final six games at center in 2019. Heading into his final year of college football, Bentley has played in 32 games and has 21 starts at either center or guard.
Ledford believes Bentley is primed to have a good senior year.
“Going through what he went through last year, the battles he had on the field, understanding what we are asking of him at that position because this is a lot that we put on the center position,” Ledford said.
Bentley and the offensive line are more comfortable in the second year playing for head coach Scott Satterfield’s offense.
With athleticism and great footwork according to Ledford, Bentley has learned blocks and assignments in the offense.
Caleb Chandler, who started all 13 games at left guard last season, has noticed Bentley’s growth.
“Cole has really improved on what the coaches have asked him to do,” Chandler said. “Cole seems like he is understanding the scheme.”
Ledford has looked to see how Bentley responds in tough situations.
Last season, Bentley graded at 84% against Clemson and graded out as the team’s best lineman against Virginia with a 90%. He continued to learn the scheme last season.
“He was becoming more comfortable throughout the more reps that he got,” Ledford said. “He went out and competed every day. We want to play the best five. I think Cole did a great job understanding asking him what we wanted to do.”
Louisville’s offense will start with Bentley this season.
“He can move,” Ledford said. “It is great to see him doing extremely well at that position.”