• July 25, 2014

Allan Mandell On Sports Prediction: Cobb will take care of business

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Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 12:30 am

Been real busy here shuffling through one college football preview magazine after another. Still can’t find one that lists former Ellison High great David Cobb as a 2014 Heisman trophy candidate.

Cobb, a senior, is now the top running back for the University of Minnesota.

On May 4, in this column, the prediction was the 6-foot, 222-pound Cobb would grab the 2014 Heisman, college football’s most prestigious honor.

Had to take a little guff in the Herald office from some colleagues for that prediction on May 5.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Mandell.”

But one college student read it and didn’t think it such an outrageous prediction.

“Yeah, I had a few people show that article to me when it came out,” said Cobb with a good-natured chuckle.

Cobb was in Killeen on Friday visiting family for the Independence Day holiday.

“The Heisman isn’t something that I’m thinking about right now,” Cobb said. “Believe me, if you gave me the choice of my team going 12-and-0 this season or me winning the Heisman, I’ll take that 12-and-0 record.

“But winning that award is something I can do. I have always had confidence in myself. I’ve never lacked confidence in my athletic ability. To win the Heisman you must be on an excellent team, and I feel we will be one. Our defense is so improved — we’ve got guys flying all over the place now.

“And our offensive line will be one of the best we’ve had in years. All our guys are back from last year, and they’re stronger, smarter, more mature.”

In 2013, as a junior, Cobb gained 1,202 rushing yards — and he didn’t become the Gophers’ primary running back until the sixth game. In Minnesota’s last seven games, once the coaching brass saw what it had, Cobb was handed the rock an average of 24 times per contest and averaged over 5 yards per carry.

Cobb and the Gophers get started this season Aug. 28 at home against Eastern Illinois.

“I’ve been thinking about that game every day,” Cobb said. “Hey, I’m thinking about it right now. It is critical that we get off to a good start.

“You go into every game, no matter what, respecting every opponent. I want to dominate in the first quarter. And I want to keep dominating all the way through the end of the fourth quarter.”

Minnesota begins Big Ten play on Sept. 27.

“We’ll compete and try to win our conference,” Cobb said. “We feel we’ll be right in the mix. Our team attitude is great. We don’t want second place or third place — we want to win it.”

In every contest, once Cobb leaves the huddle, then takes a handoff, his mindset is clear.

“My first instinct is always to score,” he said. “That’s what I’m first thinking about. If I can make you miss, I’ll do that. But if I have to run through you, I will.”

Cobb ran over a lot of people last season.

And Cobb ran around — and through — a lot of defenders while playing for Ellison High School. In his three-year varsity career, Cobb rushed for 2,946 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Cobb picked up his diploma in the spring of 2011.

And Ellison hasn’t picked up a football win since. The Eagles are looking to end a 30-game, three-year losing streak.

“They’ll be fine this season,” Cobb said. “I met the new head coach, Trent Gregory, and he’s a great guy. They’ll bounce back strong this year. I’ll be following them as close as I can. I’ll make this prediction right now: Ellison will win five games this year — or more.”

And, Mr. Cobb, what about that Heisman prediction made by this reporter back in May? I’m still a believer. How about you?

“The Heisman? I think it’s a realistic goal,” Cobb replied. “If I can take care of business, why not?”

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