LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville football coach Scott Satterfield met with reporters after his team's 42-0 victory over Eastern Kentucky Saturday night.
It was the team's first victory since last Sept. 15, and his first victory as coach at the school.
Satterfield's comments to reporters (questions are paraphrased):
Q: It's been a while since the locker room was that happy. What was that like for you?
SATTERFIELD: Yeah, the locker room was awesome. It's been a long time since they've celebrated in the locker room with a victory. All the hard work we put into the offseason, the summer, and all of fall camp. To come out here and get a victory like that was tremendous for our guys. I'm just so happy for them. Because it validates all the things that we've been doing, talking about. And I told them I want this to become the norm. We want to come in and celebrate like this all the time. Every Saturday. So, hopefully we'll come out with another great week of practice next week. We talk about how it's all about preparations, and in a short turnaround, those guys did a phenomenal job. And you think about playing a physical game like we did last Monday night against Notre Dame, and then having to turn around and come right back on a Tuesday, kind of beat up and sore, bruised, and then to come back and battle like we did tonight. I thought Matt Summers, our trainer and his staff did a phenomenal job this week. Coach Mike and the strength staff of getting these guys to play physically. What we tried to do from the mental aspect of it was to not hit this past week. So, we didn't wear shoulder pads on any day. We just wore helmets two days, and it was really just mental practices so that we would be fresh tonight. And I think it proved to be right.
Q: When you're trying to rebuild a program, how important is getting that first win?
SATTERFIELD: Yeah, it's huge. Obviously we're in this business to win football games, and we want to do it the right way. I think that it just validates what we've been doing, as I said before. These guys have been in a long drought, and haven't been able to celebrate, haven't really been able to pull for each other. And I think what we were able to do tonight is going to get a lot of guys out on the field. We played a ton of players. A lot of guys got action, really for the first time. And for them to get in there and celebrate this, having played, is special to them, and I'm just happy for those guys, really. That's what it boils down to. I'm just happy for the players.
Q: Javian Hawkins had a little trouble getting going but how much did his big run to start the second half unlock the offense?
SATTERFIELD: Yeah, they kind of had him hemmed up in the first half. They did a good job with our stretch play and giving him not any holes to run through. So we made an adjustment at halftime, came back out in the second half with the first play. We felt we had an opportunity. And, he popped it. He hit that thing wide open, went down the sideline. He did a great job tight-roping the sideline. I hate he didn't score, it was really, really close. But he ended up having a great game rushing the football. Again, 123 yards. Back-to-back 100 yard games for him. And he runs hard. I'm proud of our offensive line. We rushed for over 300 yards tonight, and that's huge. I don't think we get excited about it either. So, the O-Line I thought played well tonight. We threw the ball better. We're still not throwing it the way we want throw it. We'll continue to get better with that. But I think it all starts up front. We talk about our offensive line, and I thought Hassan Hall came in and ran hard as well. So, you throw in those QB runs that we had with Malik (Cunningham) and Jawon (Pass), it puts a lot of pressure on the defense when we run the football.
Q: First shutout for the defense since 2013. What did you think of their play?
SATTERFIELD: Phenomenal job by Coach Brown and his staff. I can't talk about it enough; how hard it is in a five-day turnaround. To try and come in and clean up the Notre Dame game and put a game plan in, in that quick of time, and try and to get it conveyed to the players. They did a phenomenal job. Our guys, the mental focus was so much better than that Monday night. We played well Monday night defensively, but we had a lot of mental mistakes. It was a lot better tonight. We played a lot of guys on defense tonight, that's the other thing. Even as you go in the end of the third quarter, there's a ton of guys that have been rotating on defense. The fourth quarter we played a lot more. To still have a goose egg right there, as our guys like to call it. It's exciting for them to be able to celebrate that. That's a hard feat to do in college football, to shut another team out. There's a lot of good players out there. I don't care at what level that is there's some good talent out there. I thought they just kept the pressure on them all night. As I looked at halftime, they had the ball at nineteen and a half minutes at halftime. They possessed the ball a long time in the first half, but our guys continued to fight and didn't back down. I thought we were in great physical shape to do that, to withstand anything that they were bringing toward us in the second half.
Q: Particularly, how impressed were you with your defensive front seven?
SATTERFIELD: I think they're continuing to grow. As we talk about, the defensive staff are growing together. The staff and the players and trying to feel and understand what these guys can do and what they do well. That's what we want to allow them to do. We were able to keep pressure on the quarterback tonight. I think sacked him several times tonight, and not when we didn't sack him, we were there to pressure him to make him throw some errant balls. They're starting to mesh and get into a great feel for things. The timing on defense is a big aspect too, because if we're bringing pressure, when are you going to bring it. Are you sitting back and waiting until the last minute and then walking down and kind of disguising the pressure? All those things are coming into factor. I think we will continue to get better at that the more we play. As the weeks go on, hopefully we'll be able to fit it better and continue to play better. As we get forward in this conference there's going to be a lot of tremendous talent offensively that we are going to have to play. So, we are going to have to continue to get better.
Q: Puma struggled in the passing game early, but what did you think of his play overall?
SATTERFIELD: What we tried to do at halftime is kind of talk about what they were doing. Sometimes you come into games, you think you know but you don't fully know. In that halftime. we really got a bead on what they were doing in the secondary. We felt like that we could really isolate a couple guys. He felt comfortable back there in the second half. Hitting that back foot and letting the ball go. Really in the first half there were a couple of guys that slipped out there in the routes that kind of messed us up on two throws. He just got in a good groove. I was proud of the way he played tonight. He came back. There's was a lot of talk about his performance throwing the ball last Monday night, but you bounce back tonight and did a lot better. We're not there yet, but we'll continue to work. Hopefully that will give him a little bit of confidence heading into this week.
Q: Malik Cunningham got out there and showed what he can do. He might not start, but how do you plan to get him involved in games this season if he doesn't?
SATTERFIELD: Well it is a unique situation in that we have three quarterbacks. We have to get reps in practice at quarterback but it is hard to work them in any other position. We will continue to do that, grow our offense and we'll get better because he is an offensive weapon. There might be times when we want to get him in the game and let him go to work. People say if you have two quarterbacks you really only have one quarterback. I don't fully buy into that. You know, Malik and Puma are two totally different guys. If I am a defensive coordinator and I have to defend both of these guys, that puts more pressure on a defensive coordinator. We don't want to mess up the rhythm of the offense. We have to do a good job as coaches figuring out what we do well and putting guys in a position to make plays. As we move through the season we will see what we need to do with that and make the best decisions with that.
Q: You've won a lot of games as a coach. Does this one feel any different?
SATTERFIELD: Winning is winning, isn't it? From the very first time as a head coach to this one right here, I love all the wins. All I think about is our staff and our players. It really isn't about me so to speak. I think how hard they work. Our coaches work hard putting together a game plan. My joy is in their joy. It is not really me I am happy for them. We do this to win. We are all competitive. Our whole staff and players are very competitive. Every time we step on the field, we want to win. Last Monday, we were disappointed that we did not win. We expect to win. We may relax for the next few hours but I am going to get ready for the next one. I just love the competition, I love competing. I love to see our guys and when a plan comes together and make it happen I am happy for our guys. When Malik got in there for his first play and we dialed up a a pass play for him and he completed it. I just love that. The kids does and the team does. That is fun. They are all special to me because I always love to win a game but I am always looking for the next one.
Q: We saw Mack Brown at North Carolina dance after beating Miami last week. Did you break out any dance moves after this one?
SATTERFIELD: I can't dance. I cannot dance. You can ask my wife and daughter back there. I saw Coach Brown and I don't want to embarrass myself. Coach Mack Brown dancing the other day? I am going to stick with what I do halfway decent and that is coaching."
Q: Tutu Atwell gave you a big lift early. Is that what you're looking for from him?
SATTERFIELD: He is a good player. He is a good, good player. He can make things happen. If he gets his foot on the ground and gets a crease then he can take it the distance. That is what happened on that pass play when he came across. He can provide that spark for us. It didn't happen on Monday like I thought he might. There were a couple of times where I thought maybe man he is going to give us that spark. Well tonight he did in that big punt return and that big pass across the formation. We dialed up his number a couple of other times but they had pass interference. Teams are going to have to know where he is at because he can make things happen in the pass game and the run game. He is a dynamic player. He is a fun guy to be around and I am pulling for him. I hope he continues to make plays because I like being around him and I like seeing him celebrate and so does the team. He is a dynamic guy and I hope he keeps making plays.
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