"I'm hoping to get in there and make all the plays that I can, not make any mistakes and fill the role that Nate has always done," Cole said.
The Monroe, Michigan native is one of the more versatile players on the team. Prior to playing linebacker, Cole also played quarterback at Monroe high school.
"It wasn't really that hard for me because the whole time I knew that I was coming to play linebacker," he said. "I knew some other people that played linebacker in college and talking to them really helped me to understand what to expect."
The 229-pound converted quarterback threw for 3,285 yards and 23 touchdowns during the course of his high school career. Cole believes that his transition to defense was made easier by the experience he gained by playing defense during his senior year.
"The switch wasn't as hard physically as I thought it was going to be, but it wasn't easy either," he said. "Mentally, it seems like it kind of simplified the game."
In the second half of last week's game against Maryland, Cole logged his first playing time of the season at weakside linebacker. Playing 30 snaps, he tallied five tackles and did enough to catch the attention of his coaches.
"The first drive was a little rough," Cole said. "It seemed like I was on the ground more than I was on my feet. After that, it kind of seemed to slow down for me as the game went on."
Although the 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman took a beating against the Terrapins, one of his more memorable punishments involved what he refers to as his "welcome to college football" moment.
"Last year, when I first got here, I remember Pat Bedics just putting me on my back," he said. "I don't even remember getting on my back. I just remember lying on my back looking up. After that, I was just hoping it would never happen again."
At practice Tuesday, Cole expressed his anticipation of playing Duke this Saturday.
"I don't have that much experience, but I don't question my confidence," Cole said. "After running the same thing since spring ball it's all become a second nature."