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Cobble rejuvenated, fit heading into senior season

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Defensive tackle Mister Cobble (Chet White, UK Athletics) Defensive tackle Mister Cobble (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Conditioning is a priority for any football team, and Mark Stoops has put an especially high premium on getting his players in shape. 

The first-year head coach was especially impressed with how well-conditioned the Wildcats appeared upon welcoming them to preseason camp last weekend.  So much so that the team's fitness was the first topic he raised to the media at Monday's camp-opening press conference.

By all accounts, Mister Cobble is at the top of the list when it comes to the well-conditioned Wildcats, at least by defensive lineman standards.

The senior defensive lineman enters 2013 with a lighter frame thanks in large part to Eric Korem's High Performance regimen. The 6-foot senior is listed at a streamlined 338 pounds going into camp.

"I lost seven percent body fat and gained five percent muscle," Cobble said of his physical transformation in the offseason. "I actually lost 15-20 pounds. It just allows me to feel quicker, and I still feel really strong."

Cobble has been a stalwart on the UK defensive line for much of the past two seasons, playing in all but two games since the start of 2011. But three games into 2012, Cobble began suffering from an illness. He only missed two games, coming back for the final seven Saturdays of his junior season, but he struggled to regain the strength that is such an important part of his game.

A full offseason of High Performance training and nutrition has rejuvenated Cobble as he prepares for his senior season. 

The prospect of a lighter, but stronger Cobble bodes well for a veteran Wildcat defensive front that will be called on to lead a unit with inexperience at many other positions. Like many lineman, the senior relies upon getting off the ball quickly before asserting his power to disrupt opponent backfields.

With his strength and quickness reestablished, Cobble is now focused on mastering a new defensive system.

"The new system is very simple to learn, but it's effective," Cobble said. "It's so simple that we can go in, hear the call and just go after it. As we keep moving on and progressing we're learning more and more. Some mistakes are going to happen, but I feel like we're doing well at this point."

Cobble, who has accounted for 58 tackles the past two seasons, is also taking on a leadership role as a senior on a young team adjusting to a new scheme. The coaching staff has noticed.

"You've got to lead by example and guys like (Mister Cobble), who are vocal leaders, are doing that well," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said.

Eliot has been pleased with his defensive front's progress this past offseason as he looks for the big men in the trenches to lead the way in 2013. Cobble has played a big part in that early success by displaying a willingness to put in the work off the field by revamping his physique. 

Plenty of challenges remain, but the senior lineman is off to an ideal start.

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