LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A transcript of Louisville coach Scott Satterfield's press conference after his team's 35-17 loss to Notre Dame on Monday night.
"First of all, just give Notre Dame a lot of credit. They've got a really good football team. We knew that coming in. So, I want to tip my hat to those guys. They're a good-looking team and they've got several older guys. A lot of seniors on that team that play. They're very experienced. So give them a lot of credit. As far as our guys, I'm extremely proud of the way our guys played. The fight, the energy they had was awesome to see. The one thing coming into this game that we didn't know about was when we face adversity, how are these guys going to react to it. And they did a great job. So those are things we can build off of. That's one of the best D-lines in the country right there, and I thought our offensive line came out and did a great job of handling those guys up front in the run game… Rush for 250 yards on a really good defense. I thought that was outstanding. Our backs ran hard, our H-backs, our tight ends blocked well on the perimeter, that is winning football right there - 250 yards rushing a game - If we can do that, we'll be fine. We've got to get better in the passing game.
We were concerned about their two ends in the pass rush. Those guys are good. They caused havoc in the backfield, so we were trying to get rid of the ball fast. And they did a good job outside, covering up some of our guys. So we'll get better from that. We'll grow at that. Really proud of our defense - other than the one drive they had where they picked up I think three first downs on third down, our third down defense was great. We got off the field on third down, fourth down. Really did a great job with that. So, I'm proud of our defense. They ran to the football. We did a good job of not giving up big plays. I think the bigger plays they had were really key scrambles. The quarterback scrambles, he does a good job with that. But overall, I told our football team, we're not into moral victories. We're trying to win football games. And we wanted to win bad tonight. And, despite all the odds and all this and that, we wanted to win bad. And, our kids continue to fight like that, we're going to get better every week. And so I'm proud of them for that. The one thing we told them there at the end, we do everything together as a family. Win, lose, whatever it may be, all together, staying tight. And that's what we're going do. We've got a short week this week, so we've got to get ready in a hurry to get back out on the field. But when we just left the locker room, those guys were ready to get back out right now. So, I'm fired up for this week."
Q: What's your evaluation of Jawon Pass?
SATTERFIELD: "I think in the running game he did a really good job. That puts pressure on the defense when your kid can run like that. And he had a lot of big runs, couple of touchdowns there. We've got to take care of the football, obviously. On one of them, he got hit kind of from behind. We've got to do a better job of ball security. We're predominantly, 99 percent of the time, catching shotgun snaps, and we fumbled one, an exchange on that. Freak deal. But I think overall, his running game was good. I think in the passing game, we've obviously got to get better. We had a few drops tonight, few errant balls tonight. You add up drops and some of the bad throws, now that's why the completion percentage was off. But our plan tonight was to try to get the ball down to these one-on-one matchups. It was tough. Those guys do a good job of covering. We've got to get free. The receivers have to make plays. Couple times, we had some guys open and we missed the throws. We're going to get better from that. We'll watch it on film. We'll grow from that in the passing game.
Q: Were you pleased with his decision-making for the most part?
SATTERFIELD: Decision-making overall was pretty good. Again, you go back to, are we making the right read. I thought it was pretty good for the most part. I remember maybe three or four times where it was probably the wrong read, but you can get away with that sometimes. But I think overall that was good. It was good in the running game. We make him make decisions in the run game just about every play really. With our zone-read stuff. So he did a good job with that. We'll dive into more of that when we go back to look at the film. The way he ran the football is going to give us a chance as we move forward with this. We just got to do a better job. We got some guys on the outside who are good players, Tutu (Atwell), (Dez) Fitz(patrick), and Seth (Dawkins), we have to get those guys the ball.
Q: Did you expect your offense to be able to run the ball and move it like that against Notre Dame?
SATTERFIELD: I didn't know if you do it against Notre Dame, they are pretty good, watching that film. This is what we had hoped for. We wanted to establish the run. We were in the game, all the way until the end when they got two scores up. Now we can stay within our offense. We can continue to run the football. We can continue with your play action. Once you get down three scores, now you got to open up a little bit more. I thought they did a great job of that. Again, it's the first game, so you don't really know until you come out here and start playing. We know this, I know (Javian) Hawkins and (Hassan) Hall, both of those guys really capable runners. They run hard, and I think you all saw it tonight. They got open and free. A couple of times, they barely get tripped up and those are touchdowns. We're really encouraged by the way they ran the football tonight and it will help us as we move forward.
Q: After Notre Dame came out and scored right away on its first drive, did you have a message for your defense to help it stabilize?
SATTERFIELD: No, I think a lot of times in first or second drives. They do some things differently offensively and it takes your defense a second to make an adjustment. I think our coaches did a great job making adjustments on the sideline. What I was proud of, was the way the offense answered. It's a team game, so we're all trying to play off of each other. And they went down and scored. And our offense came right back down the field and scored. I thought that was a great answer. That gave us confidence. When you're playing a game like this, playing a team like this who is a really good football team. You want to be able to answer. You want to have some positivity to happen to our guys. So when we went and scored, that inspires the defense also to go right back out and start playing better. I think that we played well off of each other. The big play in the first half was the turnover right before halftime. We fumbled the ball, and I guess it was three fumbles in a row. I've never seen that, three fumbles in a row, and they ended up scoring. That was unfortunate. I think our defense played really well in the second quarter.
Q: What did you learn about your offensive line from its performance against Notre Dame's front?
SATTERFIELD: I'm fired up for those guys up front. That is a really good defensive line. That was a big question mark coming in. Quite honestly, our O-line, everybody knew that. I think we ended up playing six guys up front tonight. They held their own. I think that will give those guys confidence to know. And let me tell you, Notre Dame was stacking the box. That number 11 (Alohi Gilman), he's a good football player, he was rolling down there. There were a few times their guys were in the backfield. A lot of times our guys created those holes and our backs hit them. I'm encouraged by that and I think we will build off of it. We'll grow to help our running game. And we're also growing the passing game. I think there is a big jump between the first game and the second game. You learn a lot about your team as you move to the second game.
Q: Did you expect Notre Dame to stack the box? IT looked like you had some success running on the edge.
SATTERFIELD : "I think what they tried to do, first and second down, was to bring their safety and their linebacker up the middle to stop that inside run. Part of our game plan was to run on the outside, the edge. Part of that was Puma taking off on the edges. Part of that was our stretch play. That's going to be a staple on our offense. We run inside and outside zone. So the stretch play is a staple in our offense. That's part of what we'll do all year. That's what we're going to do. Off of that, you have to be able to complete the passes. That's where we got to get a lot better. Off of some of those misdirections, as you see, where the quarterback's wide, coming around end on the naked. We missed some balls, we dropped some balls on those plays. We've got to keep the sticks in check. If you guys go back and look at this, when we had penalties and we got off of the sticks, that's when we struggled offensively. Part of that is not making big plays in the passing game.
Q: From where this team was a year ago, was this a step forward?
SATTERFIELD: "I'm proud of our guys. Extremely proud of them and the way they fought. We want to win. They want to win. We play this game. Everything we do, all on the off season, winter programs, spring ball, all summer long, we hold these guys accountable to each other. That's what they want. They yearned for that when I got here. They've done a great job doing that. You do all that, right there, to win. So, we can come in here and sing and celebrate and high-five with each other. That's why we're doing all this work. I'm extremely proud of the way they played, the way they fought. We'll get better and then we'll win these games. We're going to take a lot of things positive out of this game even though we did lose.
Q: What did you think of your first game-experience in Cardinal Stadium?
SATTERFIELD: "It was phenomenal. It was unbelievable. Starting with the Card March, I've never seen anything like that. The support of the fans that we've had, really since the whole time that we've gotten here. Our staff and our team and our players, we have felt the support. Our players have felt it. That's really what matters. It's not about the coaches, it's really about these kids. They felt the support of the fans and tonight was unbelievable. That was an incredible atmosphere. It probably doesn't get any better than that right there unless you're in the national championship game. It was incredible. We had all the makings of that. We fed off of that crowd tonight. It was awesome, throughout the whole game. We got to have that continue. We got to have the fans come out Saturday. I know it's a five-day turnaround, but our kids deserve it. They deserve these fans to come back out and watch them play. I promise you this, our kids our going to fight their tails off. They're going to work hard to get better, so when we get on the football field, we'll win these games. Everyone can celebrate, these fans and these players.
Q: You had five fumbles tonight. Was that an issue in practice at all?
SATTERFIELD: "Puma, with him, ball handling has been great all camp. I can't even remember him having a fumble quite honestly. One of them was a snap. It's hard to fathom that because that's all we do in practice. It's just unfortunate. We'll work on ball security, obviously, as we move forward. We talk about the turnover margin; we have to win that, tonight we didn't. That's probably the difference in the outcome of the game quite honestly. If you don't fumble right there at the half, and they score those seven, then it's a ballgame. You're working the second half and it's completely different the way you call the game on both sides. We have to do a lot better job at that, and we'll work on that and we'll get better."
Q: You came in with this running back committee. Do you see Hawkins and Hall being the guys moving forward?
SATTERFIELD: "I think both of those guys (Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall) were playing well tonight. They were fresh. It was a tight game. If they're fresh, that's who we'll play. As we move forward, I feel good about the other guys. I feel good about, that we got four or five guys that I feel good about that could go out there and play. Those guys were feeling good, they were in a rhythm, why change up? If you look at what they did, they did a great job. Hawkins averaged 6.4 yards a carry and Hall averaged 6.3, that's phenomenal. We'll continue to do that with those guys. If we need to, we'll play some more backs. That really goes for any position, if they're ready to play. We'll see how that moves forward, but I really appreciate just the way the guys did. I'm proud of our staff. I'm proud of everyone in this building and we'll get better."
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