Louisville Football Coach Scott Satterfield held his weekly presser today. He spoke with the media and reviewed the victory over Boston College, his current QB situation, and this week’s upcoming opponent Wake Forest. You can read the full transcript below.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT:
University of Louisville
Oct. 7, 2019
I’m excited for what happened this past weekend. The way we came out after watching it on film. A lot of great plays offensively that we put out there from a lot of different guys. It wasn’t just one player that really played well. It was a lot of guys who played well, starting with our offensive line. It was their best performance of the season. We know offensively that, that is where everything starts. I’m really proud of how well they played. They didn’t give up a sack. Didn’t really give up any pressure either. Both quarterbacks played really well, and of course our receivers had a really great day. Our running backs did some really great things. Tight ends were not as involved in the passing game but they did a phenomenal job blocking. I’m really proud of how those guys played. Defensively, at times, we looked good with some things that we did. I thought we rallied to the ball well. I thought we gang tackled well. Our guys really played hard, but again, too many mental errors. Particularly with the linebackers and secondary in the passing game. The run game we did a decent job. Dillion (A.J. Dillion) is a great back, but going back and looking at it. They hit the reversal on us, which is a well designed play. It was about 35, 40 yards on that particular play in the second half. I’m really proud of how we were able to stick in there, continue to fight, not give in, and win the game. A lot of times you look at ACC games, a lot of times it comes down to the wire. You can just pick any game really. Most of these games are tight, and you just have to find ways to win. This week, we have a great opponent in Wake Forest. They’re like 19th in the country and 17th in the coaches poll. They are 5-0. Coach Clawson and his staff have done a fabulous job. I have been competing against coach Clawson, I think the first time he was at Richmond they came to App. State in the playoffs in 2007. Ever since then I have followed his career. I was at Toledo while he was at Bowling Green and of course when he went to Wake Forest being right there in a state of North Carolina. He’s done a great job. His guys are always well coached. He’s done a good job in redshirting a lot of players. At this point in his tenure at Wake, to where he’s been through a whole cycle of recruits. Those guys who have redshirted understand their philosophy and know exactly what they want and do. Offensively, defensively and in the kicking game they are very efficient football team. They’re not penalized, they take care of the football. The kicking game is very good, I don’t think there kicker has missed a field goal all season. They make you have to go out and win the game. They’re not going give you the game and that speaks a lot to what their coaching staff has done there and then what their players have been able to do. They have a quarterback who is playing as well as anyone in the country. He has put up some great numbers this year. I think he’s only lost one game as a starter, he started I think around the midway point of last season and has done a phenomenal job this year. Has two receivers who are really impressive. They make contested catches and are really good in traffic. So we know it’s going to be a huge test for our team going on the road. A team that is as hot as anyone in the country, but we are excited and looking forward to the challenge.
(Talking on Wake Forest’s running game)
They’re very unique and very different from Boston College. What they are running on offense, I’m not sure anyone else in the country is doing it. The way they run there zone read. It’s extremely slow, the quarterback is walking up the ball with the running back and putting the ball in the pocket of the running back. The quarterback can pull it and make those throws. He can hand it off or the quarterback can run behind him. It makes it challenging, you have to cover the receivers. Every play is an RPO. They have the ability to throw it out there to any one of those guys. They’re so big they can post up a corner or safety and be able to make those catches. You have to contain those wide outs and when you do that, your box is limited. Therefore, these quarterbacks and running backs are able to find these lanes and create yards. It is a tough offense to defend because if the quarterback is a good decision maker, and Jamie Newman is. Then that makes it really difficult.
(Update on the Quarterbacks)
Malik (Williams) practiced yesterday and he’s doing fine. He should be fine this week. I would say the status for Puma (Jawon Pass) is going to be very similar to last week. It’s just a day to day thing. I wish I could give you more. It seems like it has been dragging out. It is what it is. We’re treating it. It seems to be getting better every day, but until he is ready to go. We will just have to hold him out. That’s just kind of where we are right now. Malik and Evan (Conley) are obviously ready to go and should have a big week of practice.
(On the ACC Network’s comments about this team being built to win shootouts)
Well I think that we are. I don’t know where they got that, but I like to think that we are. We want to be an offense that has the ability to run the football and/or to throw the football. When we have the lead, we want to be able to run the ball out, grind that clock, and keep their offense off the field. When we are behind, we want to be able to go down and score if we throw the ball. We have enough weapons out at wide receiver and our running game should be strong enough to be able to do that. You have to be able to close out games. There is no question about it. You have to be a 4th quarter team. You need a good field goal kicker because of how close these games are and you need a good defense. Our defense gave up some big plays Saturday, but on that last drive we made enough plays to keep them out of field goal range. It takes a complete team effort to get wins like that.
(On Jamie Newman’s football IQ and his ability)
That’s what it all comes down to is what we talked about earlier. What I like about quarterbacks, one of the biggest attributes is decision making. It has to happen within a second. That’s why they are good on offense because he makes it all go. If you’re an RPO team, you have to read the defense pre snap. Then you have to read it post snap. I think that’s why his completion percentage is so high because if the defense allows you to hit one of those little slants or hitch. He can see that and can make the throw. It leads to completions. But you have to have that mental capacity to be able to do that and he can. But he is also physically talented. He’s got a big arm and is a big guy. He can run. He’s a total package and I think he is playing that way right now.
(On the quarterbacks so far after the Boston College game and what he calls Cunningham)
Yeah, I’m calling him Malik. I may not, you know, but maybe he wants me to call him Micale. I can, but he said Malik is fine. That’s what I know him as, so I think I think looking back. Evan Conley played really good football and made some big time throws on third down scenarios, threw the ball away when he needed to which was great earlier in the year you know we were not throwing the ball away. We were taking some sacks and so we threw the ball away when they recovered. We made some great decisions in the run game. The one play that negative play he had was the exchange with the fumble there and you know, and that could be attributed to the running back in him a little bit both, but that was a one negative play. I mean, I thought he played a really good football game and I thought Malik did too. Malik played his best game, maybe his best game of his career. He ran for some first downs, he ran for a touchdown, and then he made some great throws. And if you go back and as we go back and watch the film, there was four other plays. We I mean, we could have been over 400 yards, excuse me over 500 yard passing day for a couple a couple balls you know, I mean Tutu (Atwell) had one right in his hands in the endzone. Number 18, Justin Marshall head one across the field right his hands I you know, there’s a couple of (Dez) Fitzpatrick on a third down like the fourth quarter you know as a high ball, but we can make that catch. I’ll tell you he should of made it. So, man we were, we left a few plays out in the field. The quarterbacks gave the guys an opportunity to make plays. And that’s why we asked for those quarterbacks.
(On how he preserves redshirts)
Yeah, that’s a good question. We talked about that, really, at the beginning of the season, and you and you really assess it as we go through. It’s kind of neat where these bye weeks are at because it’s at 4-4-4. And there’s been some scenarios where we’ve played some guys in in four games, and now we’re kind of holding them back hoping to try to redshirt and then there’s a couple other guys you know, Dorian Jones is one that we would like to play in four games, you know, he hasn’t played yet but we want to get him into four games but still want to redshirt him. You know, we are very cognizant of where these guys are. So, if they’re not playing much, and how many games have they played in? Will they be available, we love to have them available at the end? And some of these guys were developing right now and where they’re practicing is if they’re playing like second team guys on special teams, so when the time comes later on in the season, we’ll be able to insert them and feel like we’ll get some good play out of them and plus they get to play get some experience for you know, the next four years of next year.
(On the Kentucky legislators jumping on board with the pay to play act)
I really have not looked at it very much of course it’s out of my hands really anyway, whatever laws that comes down, we will adhere to them and do it. I just know that. You know, I love I love college football. I love the way collegiate sports, amateur sport, people playing for the love of the game. I am a purist in that respect because that doesn’t like that feel. I like you know, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with this. There’s it can go in a lot of different ways I know we’ve been headed in that direction for many years now and so I know something’s going to happen I just going leave that for in the hands of the lawmakers and see what happens with that. I don’t I don’t want to touch anything with that well see what those rules are and then and then move forward from there.
(What adjustments will you make with the defense to prepare for Wake Forest)
Yeah, they can throw the football. They are one of the best passing teams out there in the country and a lot of it is tightening up the coverage, because if you if you play off of these guys, they’re going to make you pay. They’ll just throw the underneath all day long, and they’ll go right down the field, but then they’re also capable of running the football. So many of these times you’ll look at some of these teams that are, you know, you spread you out throw you throw it all the time type team. When they get in the red zone, it’s a little more difficult, but these this team’s not that way. This team’s built to be able to run the ball as well into the red zone. So you have to tighten the coverage down. And that’s everybody. That’s not just corners. I mean, that’s the safeties are your guys that are on your overhangs. Number two guys in the slots, you have to type it up on them as well. And you know, I looked at we obviously looking at Boston College. They played Wake Forest that was their last game. Boston College defensively did a very good job against Wake Forest I thought you know, they tied the coverage down. Wake had to make very good two contested catches. And Boston College did great job on first and second down against Wake. Now Wake was 17 for 24 on third down there one of the best third down offenses in the country and that’s where we got to be really good because you got to get off the field. And but it’s all about tight enough coverage.
(How he balances big plays on offense and keeping his defense off of the field)
Yeah, we’re not, we’re a no huddle team, but we’re not personally a tempo team. We can you know, get that, but I just we want to try to get in the best possible place and so we really don’t worry about time of possession, but I think when you run the football like we do, you end up eating up some of the clock. You end up allowing your defense to recover on the sideline and make adjustments before they come back on the field. You know, we’re not one of these teams that will go three and out in 30 seconds. I think that’s, that’s not good team football, you know, so but we want to try to run the ball be balanced, but I don’t necessarily worry about town possession. It just seems like at the end of the game, you know, we’ve had the ball longer, you know, and I think that helps our defense. So, I think that’s part of team football, and it helps teams win games doing it that way. And that’s just the way we’ll continue to do it. But we don’t necessarily think about hey, we got to have the ball for so long.
(On the growth of Micale over the last few games to this point)
Oh, yeah. Yeah, he’s, he’s gotten a lot better. I think he’s starting to fully kind of understand our offense now a lot better. It’s a pretty simple offense to be in as a quarterback. It enables them not to think as much because when you can get that run game established, then it’s going to allow these guys to get open out here and we got some playmakers outside. So now it’s just a matter of getting them the ball in, you know, for him, he started to get more comfortable. He made some mistakes and some errors in the Florida State game. He did a great job of really correcting some of those mistakes and again, come out and playing his best game. The receivers had a lot to do with it o line had a lot to do with it, you know, so, we don’t put it all on him. But I think he had some good teammates to play well Also, we’re trying to simplify it for him and allow him to play fast in and not have to think as much so I’m proud of the way he played.
(On if he thought to redshirt Evan Conley this year)
Yeah, we’ve thought about it. But then, we said, there’s probably not going to be a scenario we could redshirt him and then if Puma (Pass) stayed healthy and Malik we’re healthy then the next scenario which still be in play, but Puma has been out, you know, it’s been out for a month now. And you know, and it just, have to have guys that are able to come in and play. That’s why we’ve been preparing them all through August all through, you know, September. Saying hey, you’re going to have to play, you got to get in there and we had an opportunity to play him, you know in the WKU game. He got in and played well and then of course, I think what I mentioned, you know, after the game was that the bye week is when he gained so much respect from the teammates and then you know, and not then I think, you know, it showed on game day this past week, you know, where he’s out there. We have to have plays made and he’s true freshman and he made the play. A lot of credit to him on how he works.
(On how he evaluated who is going to start)
Yeah, I think it to go back to practice and who’s got the mentally who’s got the best grasp of the game plan and really understands what we’re trying to do and can help our team win. That’s what we’ll play, you know, and then, you know, once you get into a game scenario, if whoever’s playing is maybe struggling and it’s not so much for me, it’s not so much physically but it’s more mental. If you’re struggling a little bit mentally then you know, we’ll go on to the next guy because I feel good about him, and I think if they have a good grasp on it, then I’ll feel good about him play it out. You know, it’s just, I think all three guys bring a lot to the table of what we’re trying to do and I think we’ve seen we’ve seen some good play at all three of them and it was a long time ago for Puma, but it’s, you know, but all these guys have made a lot of plays for us. So, we’ll see when that time comes, I hope he becomes available soon.
(Wake Forest’s offense does a really nice job with ball deception. How do you really work on, and bring home, the ball recognition skills that you all with have to have this week?)
They do a really good job with it. I think more so than anything it’s about doing your job. I can’t have my eyes looking onto the backfield all the time if I’m supposed to be covering a receiver, because, next thing you know, they’re going to lull you to sleep and he’s going to throw it to that guy who will be wide open. So you have to be disciplined, maybe at times patient, to where you may think, ‘I have to make a play right here.’ But no, you have to do your job and stay on your guy. And that’s the same thing for linebackers or for d-line. If I have to get to his gap, get to that gap and don’t get out of your gap. We played Wake when I was at App two or three years ago, and it’s real easy sometimes when he’s riding this guy because his d-lineman thinks he’s got to get over here. Just stay in your gap, because if you don’t, he’ll make you pay. So it’s about being patient. It’s about staying in your gap and doing your job, and that’s what we’ll be coaching hard this week.
(Given where things were when you got here, how much of your work, and your coaches’ work, has been physical versus mental, and trying to build confidence and getting the guys to the point where they can win a game like they did Saturday?)
We’re just trying to be consistent. From day one, when we came in here, this is who we are, this is how we’re going to run our program. We’re going to hold you accountable. We’re going to ask you to do some things that maybe you weren’t asked to do before. We’re going to ask you to give great effort and when you come into the building to have a great attitude. That’s what we’ve been trying to do. And I think when you do all those things, you’re going to be a good football team. We haven’t talked as much about the X and O part of it in the off-season and in the summer. It’s all about giving great effort and coming to work every single day and being consistent. These guys are now they’re seeing the fruit of that labor and that hard work. We have to continue to do that. We’re nowhere near where we need to be. We really have to clean up a lot of things, and that’s what we’re continuing to strive on and really trying to stay in the moment. What can we do today to get better? We don’t really step outside to look at the big picture. We want to stay right here, right now, and what we can do to get better. They’ve done a lot better with that. They’ve gotten a lot better at really trying to understand what the program’s about and what we need to get to. I think when you focus on that, the wins will come.
(There were obviously expectations for you guys this year that weren’t very high. Some people thought you might not even win an ACC game. At this chance, you probably should be 4-1. Do you talk to those guys about raising expectations? A bowl game could possibly be in play.)
No, not really. When we say expectations, we expected to beat Notre Dame. That’s just our mentality. To me, that’s just a daily expectation of competing every single day. You’re competing every single day, really against yourself. I need to do better today as an individual, and when we do that, we’ll be better as a team. Again, we don’t really focus on the big picture. We stay right in the moment, and I think when you do that, you just do the best you can do today. And that’ll be good enough. We go back to when we were at App. We were winning a lot of games. After you win a championship, you come back the next year, we don’t even worry about that. We’re worrying about right now. Then you win another one. And another one. When you start looking at the big picture and start worrying about all this other stuff, then you lose focus on what really matters. And what really matters is how can I go today. If I need to lift weights today, I need to go as hard as I can in the weight room today. I think you have to stay in the moment. Us as coaches and staff, that’s what we talk about all the time: focus on the here and now and focus on the details. That’s how you become a championship-caliber team. You can’t look at all the other stuff. Once you start doing that, you lose focus. We want to focus on the details.
(You mentioned earlier that Wake has done a nice job on being able to redshirt. When you were at App your first year, did you redshirt almost everybody? And is that the optimal thing you would love to do any year?)
You would like to. Now the optimal thing is if everyone you signed would be ready to come in and play right now. That means they’re really good. Every class that you bring in, there’s going to be a handful of guys who could help you right now. So put them out there, let’s play them, we know what we’re getting out of that freshman and we know what we’ll get for a few more years after that. With this new rule, which is phenomenal and one of the best things college football has passed in a number of years to allow these guys to play a little. It keeps them focused throughout the year knowing that they may get on the field this year, not that they’re just on the shelf redshirting. Once they get on the field, now they’re going to get better. We want to try to play most of our guys in four games, and we want to try to redshirt most of our guys. But if they’re ready to play, then we’ll obviously put them in there to play. It helps your team two, three years from now because you know you have these guys one more time. All the work you’ve put in as a player and as a coach investing the time into that player that you will get back. I think that’s the key because the one thing you can’t coach is experience. When you have guys who are fifth-year seniors, they’ve played a lot of ball and are going to help you win, there’s no question about it.
(Two guys on defense were in the middle of a lot of plays the other day were Robert Hicks and [Yassir] Abdullah. What have you seen from those two, and it seemed like they played more.)
Yeah they did. Abdullah has always had the ability, he’s fast, very explosive player. Just trying to find a role for him. Where can we put him? We put him in that outside linebacker role. And then Hicks as well. We moved Hicks around going back to the spring, he’s an inside backer, a defensive end, now he’s an outside backer. To Hicks’ credit, he’s had such a great attitude over the past month, month and a half. Now he’s starting to see that when you come to work that way, you’re going to have an opportunity. Earlier he was wavering a little bit with his attitude, with this and that, really just trying to figure it all out, which is not uncommon for a young person. He’s really come around and balled in, asking us what he can do to help the team. We’re trying to find ways for him to help the team. We have him in a role as an outside backer, and I think we’re going to see his role increase and probably get more snaps because he has talents. He can run, he can hit, he can tackle. There’s a lot of things he can do for us.
(The amount of time in between UofL’s last ACC win and this one was about the time it takes for an elephant to have a baby. Do you think that the new male elephant at the zoo should be named Scott Satterfield?)
I don’t think it should be named Scott Satterfield but that’s a pretty interesting fact you brought up. I’m just happy for our guys. I wasn’t here last year, and I know it was dreadful for a lot of our players. But for me, this is all I know. We’re 3-2, 1-1 in the ACC, and we’re looking to get more. We like the taste of winning. Hopefully this will entice our guys to work even harder and have more detail everyday when they come to work. That locker room was fun. You all heard them yelling from the hallway, and I want them to get used to doing that. And hopefully we’ll be yelling a lot in Winston Salem at about 11 o’clock Saturday night.