Cardinals center Mason Cole: ‘I’m confident I can get the job done’
The Arizona Cardinals suffered a massive blow to its morale and offensive line when starting center A.Q. Shipley suffered a torn ACL.
With the next-man-up mentality now in full swing, backup center Mason Cole is ready to take over in the trenches.
“It’s part of the game, obviously you don’t want it to happen, but stuff like this happens in this game and you have to be prepared,” Cole told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Wednesday. “Going into this thing I knew A.Q. was going to be the guy for center, but that’s why they brought me in to have depth at the offensive line and my opportunity just came before I thought it would.
“It was rough, you never want to see anyone go down, but a guy like A.Q. who’s been around the league for so long, it’s hard. It’s hard when anyone goes down.”
Cole had been working mostly with the second-string offense before the injury to Shipley. And while no team ever wants to lose their primary center, the Cardinal veterans have voiced their confidence in the young lineman, Cole said.
Just like Shipley, Cole brings durability.
The center has made 104 consecutive starts between his high school days and his time as a Michigan Wolverine under former NFL coach Jim Harbaugh.
“I think I’ve had enough experiences in college football and I’ve got the right mindset and I’m confident I can do the job,” Cole said.
It will be a tough task to fill Shipley’s shoes, however, as the six-year pro missed just two snaps over the last two seasons.
But even with the confidence, Cole knows not everything might go as planned when he faces off against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first week of preseason.
“For me, I know there’s going to be some learning experiences in that game, my first time playing in the in an NFL game,” Cole said. “But like I said, [I’m] not trying to overthink anything. Just going out there and remembering that this is just a game and we’re playing football and you have to go out there and do everything you can.
As for the plan of attack for Week 1 of preseason, Cole is going to be eased in.
“I think just gameplan wise, they’re trying to not make it as complicated for me, just trying to set up the offense so we know what kind of defense we’re going to get, which I think has been huge for me so far,” Cole said. “We get so many different looks from our defense so that’s also been great.
“[I’m] kind of taking more responsibility of learning the offense even more in depth, and like I said, the veterans have been right there with me so it’s been really good.”
The Cardinals face off against the Chargers Saturday at 7:00 p.m. You can catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.