LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky redshirt freshman defensive tackle Mister Cobble, who has not seen action this season because of academic ineligibility, has been ruled eligible for the spring semester, head coach Joker Phillips announced Monday.
Cobble was ruled eligible after grades were posted at the conclusion of the fall semester. He is expected to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 8 when Kentucky takes on Pittsburgh at noon ET in Birmingham, Ala., on ESPN.
“The first thing that I want to announce is that Mister Cobble made it and will be eligible to play in this game,” Phillips said after a two-hour practice Monday afternoon in the Nutter Field House. “We just made ourselves better. He is probably one of the biggest recruits that we have had this year so far. He will be eligible to play.”
The first-year head coach said that Kentucky didn’t only get better today, but they got a lot better.
“He has made our offense better already this year by being down there and practicing against them and hopefully he will make our defense better by being eligible for this game,” Phillips said. “How many plays he is going to play I don’t know, but he is going to play. He has looked good in practice every day.”
The appearance in the bowl game will mark the first collegiate action for Cobble, who redshirted in 2009 but was named the Most Valuable Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year by the UK coaching staff. Earlier this season, the 6-foot, 321-pounder from Louisville, Ky., was named UK’s Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week for the Florida game.
“It’s wonderful and amazing and I’m thankful to God that I’m able to play,” Cobble said. “I did everything the opposite that I did last semester. I didn't procrastinate. I didn't chase the girls. I read my books and I answered the phone when Momma called.”
Along with the good news about Cobble, Phillips was pleased with how the Wildcats practiced Monday, saying there was a lot of energy and that the team showed improvement, especially on defense.
“Good practice again,” Phillips said. “Another energetic, high-energy practice and the guys are doing a really good job of bringing good attitudes to the table and making Kentucky better.
“Our defense is still (improving),” Phillips said. “We put in a couple of things to try to take away some of the things that Pitt will do. It is not a huge overhaul but we are just tweaking a couple of things, similar to what you would do in the regular season. You are going to put in a couple of things to try to stop what the opponents want to do and I thought they (the players) got better at understanding what they are doing today.”