Robbie Bell might not be a name that the common fan is familiar with but most fans know…. and he has been one of my favorites since day one.
The first UofL football game I ever photographed from the sideline was also the first game Robbie Bell started as a Cardinal. Neither one of us had a great day but we both learned and became better because of it.
For me, my first game ended with me taking some subpar pictures, not getting the proper field credentials and not knowing where to go. But I learned a ton from that experience and nobody (publicly) made fun of my pictures.
For Robbie, He had the pressure of starting his first college game as a redshirt freshman – on the road – inside an NFL dome – and hiking the ball to the reigning Heisman trophy winner. And the opponents were coached by former Louisville quarterback, Jeff Brohm – no pressure, right? Oh, and he had never played center before besides three days as a freshman in high school.
Well, things didn’t go so well. Louisville was called for five false start penalties in the first 16 minutes and finished with nine total and had another penalty for an illegal snap. As a team, they committed 16 penalties in total for the game. Robbie was (fairy or not) given the blame for about 10 of those penalties. In talking with the staff after the game, it was my understanding that there were communication issues between QB and center. Basically, they couldn’t hear each other.
To be fair, it was very loud in that dome.
After the game, Robbie was blasted on social media. Fans that get frustrated tend to overreact and let loose behind the keyboard because there will be no repercussions for them. However, they forget the effects it could have on the student athlete.
It speaks volumes to the type of man Robbie is that he did not respond to one single social media post. You know what he did? He worked harder to get better. You see, while you wanted Robbie to preform perfectly, he wanted to preform perfectly more that you wanted him to.
Robbie went on to have a terrific season, starting all 13 games. He anchored a line that helped the Cards offense to finish third nationally. And despite the bad first game, he was called for absolutely zero holding penalties all season.
Robbie was injured for a big part of his sophomore season. But after being fully healed he saw little action. In fact he only appeared in one game all season. It was (and still is) my opinion that Bobby Petrino fell out of favor with Robbie and it was a common thought that Bobby played his favorites over players that gave the team the best chance to win.
To make my point of Robbie not seeing the field despite giving the team the best chance to win valid, just look at his junior year. Coach Satterfield comes in and starts Robbie all 13 games. It wasn’t at center but rather, right guard. You can’t tell me that Robbie couldn’t have helped that O-line in a 2 win, 2018 season. It blew my mind and hurt my heart to see him suited up and just standing on the sideline.
But now, with the departures of Mekhi Becton and Tyler Haycraft, Robbie has a chance to lead this offensive line. Robbie, Cole Bentley and Caleb Chandler have a chance to really help develop the future in guys like Adonis Boone, Renato Brown and Zach Williamson.
Robbie is a very smart young man. In fact, I predicted him to win the highest GPA on the team award in my 2021 coach Satterfield post season awards.
Robbie is going to lead this offensive line and he will lead by example. I for one can put my fandom aside and not look through my rose colored glasses and still see the leader in Robbie Bell. I’m not in the locker room to see if he is a vocal leader but I know what he has been through and I know he has learned from it and he will use all his good and bad experiences to make him a better player, teammate, friend, man and leader… LET’S GO!
As Always, GO CARDS!