It became a running joke among Kentucky’s offensive linemen last season: What position would coaches play Cole Mosier that week?
“We were waiting for his transition to center,” then-senior guard Zach West joked in November.
That is the only position Mosier hasn’t played for UK’s offensive front.
Left, right, guard, tackle. Mosier has done them all.
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“I don’t know how he does it, honestly,” West said. “It’s so much harder than he makes it look.”
Mosier hadn’t practiced at left tackle all season before he started and played the spot effectively in a win over Missouri and its All-Southeastern Conference defensive ends. He played at left tackle for nearly the entire game against Eastern Kentucky, too.
“He did some really good things in those games,” offensive line coach John Schlarman said of the 6-foot-6, 335-pound former walk-on from Walton-Verona. “So I thought with more experience at it, and more practice at it, he could continue to improve and continue to get better.”
After all of that moving and shifting and switching, Mosier seems to have landed at the left tackle spot, where he played with the first team all day during Saturday’s open practice and scrimmage at Commonwealth Stadium.
“He’s done a real good job this spring,” Schlarman said. “He’s worked extremely hard at his technique out there, so I’m really excited to see what he can do with 15 spring practices under his belt.”
The Swiss Army knife of the UK offensive line seems to have carved out a new — perhaps full-time — position for himself this season, so far beating out junior college star Tate Leavitt, who was running with the second team Saturday.
“His wheels are spinning pretty fast right now because it’s day six and we’ve thrown the whole playbook at him,” Schlarman said of Leavitt, the 6-foot-6, 310-pounder from Hutchinson Community College.
They want to see Leavitt “just to settle down in there and continue to play consistent football,” Schlarman said.
Consistent seems to be the word of choice when discussing Mosier, both from his position coach and head coach Mark Stoops.
The ideal offensive lineman is “good and consistent,” Schlarman said. “Maybe there’s some weaknesses they have to work on, but they’re consistent players and they’re solid, and you love that.
“That’s exactly like Cole. He’s a very consistent player, even keel, just like his personality is.”
On film, there were plenty of examples of times when Mosier was bested by Kentucky’s defensive ends in the first scrimmage. But he wasn’t the only one, Stoops said. There’s been a huge push to improve technique overall at those tackle spots.
But the head coach likes what he’s seeing from Mosier.
“He’s a big physical guy, and again, he’s been consistent,” Stoops said. “You generally know what you’re getting out of him. He does not make a lot of mistakes, he’s very good with his assignments and he gives you good effort all the time.”
Mosier, who has played in 23 career games with three career starts, said he’s spent time in the film room and in his new playbook. It’s helped him see the game differently.
“My freshman year, everything was so fast to me,” the red-shirt junior said. “I was going crazy; I didn’t know how to handle it. But now, everything has slowed down a lot. It’s been a lot different, a lot easier to see stuff as it happens now.”
Being able to concentrate on getting better at this one position has been helpful, too, Mosier said with a sheepish smile.
“I can focus on just working on tackle, working on fast kick step and stuff like that, but I know all of them, so it’s not too bad going back and forth if I have to.”
▪ Greg Hart, the tight end transfer from Nebraska, will have to sit out at least a week while having surgery to recover from a fractured finger.
“It’s one of those fractures where you have to get it operated on,” Stoops said of Hart’s pinkie finger. “He will be out for a bit. He’ll be week to week. Hopefully we can operate and then put a cast on him and put him back out there.”
Tight ends coach Vince Marrow called it a “freak accident” in which Hart went to catch a ball and broke his pinkie, but he expects to have him back on the field next week.
▪ Ramsey Meyers, who started every game last season at right guard, missed Saturday’s scrimmage with a head injury. He was able to practice on a limited basis Tuesday and should be fine soon, Stoops said.
▪ Running back Mikel Horton, who took a helmet to the shin during the scrimmage Saturday, was able to practice Tuesday.
Blue-White Spring Game
Noon Saturday, April 16, at Commonwealth Stadium