Cole Bishop Poised To Pick Up Where He Left Off
SALT LAKE CITY- Mohamoud Diabate might be one of the most intriguing newcomers for the Utes, but they also have plenty of returners with the same mystic. One of those players has to be safety Cole Bishop who made people sit up and pay attention when he was out on the field.
"Cole is a stud. Cole is one that makes you a better coach. Right? Good football players. Another guy who is a student of the game. You see him studying film all of the time." – DC Morgan Scalley on sophomore safety Cole Bishop
— Michelle Bodkin (@BodkinKSLsports) August 6, 2022
Bishop played in 10 games last season for the Utes, only starting the last six due to a nagging injury, but he absolutely made the most of the time he did get the nod starting with Stanford and ending in the Rose Bowl. Those performances are why many believe Bishop is in a position to pick up where he left off as a freshman in 2022.
Having another off-season under his belt, Bishops says he’s feeling even more confident than he did a year ago as a freshman. The comment feels pretty impressive when you consider Bishop put up 54 total tackles, three sacks, five passes defended and a fumble recovery in his first season of college football.
“Definitely a lot,” Bishop said of his confidence playing in the Utah defense. “Obviously, getting into games last year and spring ball- the more and more snaps you get, the more comfortable you are whether that’s in a game or in practice.”
Part of what makes Bishop so great, even as an underclassmen is his work ethic which defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley was quick to point out. Bishop is very self-aware as a young player and has already spent a ton of time over the summer perfecting weak-spots in his game so he can live up to expectations.
“I need to improve on my man-coverage skills,” Bishop said. “We didn’t run a ton of man last year and previously in Utah history we’ve been known to run a lot of man so I’ve been focusing on that and film study. Trying to make sure I know the defense as good as I can, not just my position, but other positions as well to make it go smoother.”
Already A Leader
It’s not often an underclassmen takes charge of their position group and unit as a whole, but that’s been Bishop pretty much from the go. He fears nothing and it’s what the coaches have loved and respected so much about Bishop early in his career.
“We’ve got R.J. Hubert, Clark Phillips, JaTravis- I mean a lot of guys with a lot of experience,” Bishop said of the secondary unit. “Last year I got to get a bit of experience so I’m ready for whatever role.”
Part of where Bishop has stepped up is making sure newcomer Clayton Isbell is caught up with the expectations of Safety Pride within the defense. Bishop says he and Isbell have spent plenty of time together in the film room going over things in preparation for the 2022 season.
“We’ve been in the film room together and out on the field trying to get footwork, man-coverage stuff” Bishop said. “Once you get to know the playbook things get so much easier, so I’m just trying to help him out with that.”
Early on in camp several of Utah’s athletes have talked about a “bad taste” after coming out on the wrong side of what many have said is one of the most epic Rose Bowl games in recent history. While that may be true and something to hang one’s hat off of, winning is just more fun for true competitors and Bishop certainly qualifies as one.
“I mean, everyone talks about the Rose Bowl, but we lost,” Bishop said. “Yeah, it was the first time in school history, but still coming off the season with a loss, hopefully we are coming back from that even better.”
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Last year the Utes were very driven to succeed largely due to senior leadership who wanted a Pac-12 title and the loss of their two teammates Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe within nine months of each other. Bishop senses the same driving forces heading into 2022. Guys want to show what this team are made of and what they are about and they believe they can do it much like they did in 2021.
“Last year you had all of the seniors like Devin and them who their whole goal was to come back and win the Pac-12,” Bishop said. “There are a lot of guys coming back on offense- we have higher goals than just a Pac-12 Championship this year.”
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