"I didn't think it would be that bad, but sitting in the stands watching the game was real tough," said Bolen.
As a freshman in 2004, Bolen saw the majority of his action with the Illini as a member of the special teams unit, but the 6-foot, 237-pounder also totaled 11 carries for 51yards. During his prep career at Valley View High School in Germantown, Ohio, Bolen posted 6,099 rushing yards and 108 touchdowns. He garnered All-State honors following his senior season and was ranked among the nation's top 30 backs by Scout.com
After sitting out the mandatory transfer year Bolen has entered spring practice with a purpose – earn some carries.
"I'm excited to be out on the field and to be able to play after sitting out for a while," he said.
During Sunday morning's scrimmage, Bolen displayed not only his ability to knock over defenders while paving an opening for Michael Bush, but also his ability to quickly find the open seam along the offensive front and run over defenders on his way to the goal line.
"I thought I did pretty good," he said. "Everyone can improve on the little things, but we all did pretty good."
Bolen's physical style of running, as well as his deceptive speed, has helped him quickly become another offensive weapon for the Bobby Petrino offense.
"I just want to get out on the field," said Bolen. "If they want me to run the ball, I'll run the ball. If they want me to block, I'll block."
However, while Bolen doesn't mind mowing a path for other members of the Cardinals running game, he also hopes to join what has become one of the strongest rushing programs in the country.
"One of the main reasons that I came to Louisville was because they like to use bigger backs," he explained. "I don't mind blocking, but I'd also like to get the ball every now and then."