LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Like most college football coaches, Louisville’s Scott Satterfield doesn’t want to think of a world in which the season can’t begin as expected next September.
He thinks that football kicking off on time would be important for the nation’s psyche. Legions of fans social distancing at home would approve that message.
“I’m planning for the season to go on,” Satterfield said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “We’re a long ways away before then. I think, hopefully, we’ll get this virus under control. I think we’re learning every, single day. Our medical people and our caretakers and people taking care of the sick people, I really commend all those people. I think about those people a lot. Hopefully we’ll come up with some drugs that will get into this virus and help people get well, meanwhile working on a vaccine. We’ve got to stay positive and upbeat and really think forward that this season is going to get in. I think we know what sports do for your psyche. Not only for us that are doing them but for everybody out there, all the fans that really love sports and really need that. . . . I just think as a country we need it for our psyche, for our well-being.”
While most of the college football world was early into spring practice when the COVID-19 threat put the brakes on the whole thing, Louisville was nearly halfway through its allotment of 15 on-field sessions.
Having completed seven practices is just a slight advantage, but Satterfield will take any kind of advantage he can get as coaches and players sit at home like everyone else until an all-clear is given to resume activities. For Satterfield, it has meant more time at home with his family and some time in North Carolina with his oldest son, who was finishing his senior year of high school there but who has, like all seniors, lost some of the milestone moments that come with the final semester of high school.
As for football, the practice of starting spring work early may have paid off just a bit for Satterfield and his staff.
“We started doing it, I want to say, back in 2014, so it’s been a while. Maybe the spring of ’15. We started doing that right when they got back from Christmas break,” Satterfield said. “They had about a three-week period to get acclimated, maybe a little lifting weights, then we jumped right on it first of February and initially when we tried it we were just going to see how it worked out. But we really liked it. I think the coaches really liked it, the players really liked it, because we got on it, knocked it out before spring break, and we were able to come back and train for roughly eight or nine weeks of straight lifting and running and some player-led practices, where they’d go out on their own and do some fundamentals, throw the football, almost stealing practices. Coaches weren’t out there, but players could do that and carry it right into the summer.
“We liked that, and then we started winning a lot of games at App State by doing it that way, so that when we got up here to Louisville last year, we did the same thing, jumped right on it and got it in early.”
Satterfield said that he liked what he saw from the team’s early workouts. After a year in his system, spring practice was a new ballgame for the Cardinals.
“We felt like we picked up right where we left off form the bowl game, hitting on all cylinders,” he said. “This whole thing is unfortunate for a lot of people and for a lot of reasons, but if you look at it just from a football perspective, we’ve got to find a positive. The positives are that we did get six or seven weeks of lifting and running when we first got back, and we did get seven practices in, so this semester of football was not a total loss. We were able to get a lot of work in. And another thing is you have film from those seven practices, and all these guys have their iPads back home and can go watch some of the film from the spring, and that’s beneficial. So a lot of great things happened and we’re so excited about being able to get those seven in. Now, as you move forward, the big question is when are we coming back, and we’ll have a plan when that happens.”
With players at home, there’s not much coaches can do in terms of conditioning or nutrition. There are players in many different circumstances. Some have families who are struggling. When they return to campus, Satterfield said, all will need time in the weight room and to regain strength and conditioning to play football.
But on the other end, Satterfield envisions a celebratory return for Louisville football. With the postponement of the Derby to Sept. 5, Louisville is going to be a busy place. The Cardinals open their season on Thursday, Sept. 3, against North Carolina State in Cardinal Stadium.
“I think it could be extremely special, particularly it being the start of football season,” he said. “Hopefully we’ve been back in camp and we’re getting ready to start the sports season back again with college football and then you have one of the largest sports venues in the world with Churchill Downs, kicking off that weekend with the Derby. I think what better place to be than Louisville, Ky., that week? I think it’s going to be a tremendous week for us, particularly kicking off with an ACC game right off the start, and then the Derby. I just think it’ll be very exciting, a week that’ll be very anticipated, and hopefully all the people coming in for the Derby will swing on by Cardinal Stadium.”
Satterfield, if you can’t tell, is upbeat. All he needs now is a call to get going.
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