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Scott Satterfield previews Georgia Tech

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NCAA Football: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Transcript via U of L. Video available here.

Opening Statement

“First of all, I am glad that we are back playing this week on Friday night. We have had a good week last week with the three days that we practiced on Tuesday Wednesday, and Thursday. We worked on and stressed fundamental concepts, blocking, tackling, throwing, and catching, then we came back in and had our normal practice week. We took yesterday off, and then today we have a great Tuesday practice planned that we are ready get back in on our normal game week routine. Coming off of two tough losses back to back, we know how big of a game this is for us, very similar for them as well as they have now lost two in a row, it is a big ACC conference game. We are excited to get back on the field and play. I think that our guys had good attitudes last week and they got after it in practice. You know, sometimes in a bye week there are guys that want to sit out that have played a bunch of snaps for us, but all our guys participated and went hard in practice. That was a good sign to see and we are looking forward to going to about our business this week, going down at Atlanta and getting a win.”

(Coach Satterfield on the team’s health and the bye week getting guys healthy…)

I think it was a good time for us to have a bye week after playing those first three games, so it was nice to have not be able to play in in that regard. We were able to get some guys healed up last week and I think that we are in pretty good shape heading into Tuesday practice. We should have all of our guys available for this week.

(Coach Satterfield on Malik Cunningham’s health and progress…)

“He has made a lot of progress and got a lot better. He was able to practice last week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. He was a limited in practice last week, and then he was full participation on Saturday, yesterday we had a day off to get our guys some rest. He will be a full participant today, so he is feeling good. He will ready to go so there should not be any limitations for him as we head into this game.”

(Coach Satterfield on his offense and defense, getting both units to click at the same time…)

“There have been times where we have looked really good when our guys do what they are supposed to do on both sides of the football. We know we talked about that this morning as a staff. If we do what we are supposed to do, we look like a pretty complete football team. We have not been able to put it all together and that’s the one thing that we are looking to do this week and moving forward. This is something that we are stressing on both sides of the ball. Fundamentally, knowing where you are supposed to be defensively and playing to the ball, not getting out of your gaps. These are things that we talked about; we have to make the offense earn it. The same thing is true on the other side of the ball. Offensively, we know last game was a very poor outing by us, to say the least. We got whipped up front, we did not make plays in the passing game. We were not in sync at all offensively, and when that happens against a really good defense you are going to look really bad. That is what happened to us. If you go back and watch the game on film, if our guys were doing what they were supposed to do, then there are plays to be made out there. We had plenty of opportunities to make plays and did not execute. I think that if we are able to put everything together and get our guys do what they are supposed to do, then we are going to be fine. I think the effort is there and our guys are playing hard, but they are not doing what they are supposed to do at times and that is what we have got to get cleaned up moving forward.”

(Coach Satterfield on the offensive line and how they have looked after last week’s performance.)

“I thought that the group came out strong and had a good week last week. The offensive line was one of the groups that I was talking about earlier that came out during the bye week and there was nobody that took a day off. They were all out at practice and going hard. It was a tough week for them last week, Coach Ledford will probably speak on it later on this week. He got after them pretty good in practice. There were some things that we did uncharacteristically last game that we have not been doing up front. We got back to basics this past week and emphasized correcting those things. I think that the guys got after it pretty hard, and responded with a good week of practice. Some of the things that we did last week are hard to explain. We know we are capable of playing better, we showed this the week before Pittsburgh against Miami. I thought they fought and blocked well against a really good defensive front in that game. We have to get back to doing the kind that we are supposed to do and then get good at it.”

(On struggles on the offensive line against PITT…)

“I think a lot of it was just the technique and fundamentals; some of the things like getting too loose on a block. If you’re a little bit loose, they can play back up underneath you. Then they’re good enough to make plays. They had a lot of length up front from their two defensive ends, they got a good push up front form their linebackers when they brought pressure. So really a lot of it was just the fundamentals of taking the proper steps that you need to take: Your hat placement, where are your hands, all the little things.

“You put all those things together, and it ended up with us getting beat up front. It wasn’t just with the offensive line. It was the tight ends, also. I thought that was the worst blocking from our tight ends that we had since we’ve been here, maybe. It was bad in that regard.

“But it’s something that’s very fixable. We had a really good week working on all those things and those blocks. There were only a few times where we just got whipped one-on-one with one of our linemen and one of their defensive ends. It felt like it was that way, but when you go back and watch the film, it wasn’t that way”

(On the message to the team after a 1-2 start…)

“We need to take it one game at a time. We obviously are trying to learn from anything we can in the past, whether it be had we hit one of those balls at the end of the game for a touchdown and we won that game, but for us this week wouldn’t be any different. We still had a lot of work we had to get done during the off week last week, and then we’re coming this week, it’s a new week. Whether you win or lose in the past, this week’s a new week. How hard can we play? How much fundamentally better can we get this week? That’s how we approach it every year. It’s really game-to-game. Each game in itself is its own season. What can you do this week to go out and play good enough to get a win.”

(On getting younger guys more involved in practice…)

“Yeah, it was good. We did that about three days last week for about 15 minutes at the end of practice. We basically scrimmaged them without bringing them to the ground. There’s a lot of good work on both sides of the ball. (Lovie) Jenkins did some good thing in the secondary. (Jordan) Watkins did some good things as well at wide receiver. We’re really working our second offensive line up front. They did some good things. We got guys that aren’t travelling right now that were really able to get some good reps in those 15 minutes in all three days. So a total of 45 minutes all last week.

“That stuff’s just valuable. You’re trying to get them a little bit of experience before you actually put them out in the game and before they see live action. Now, some of these guys… have actually played in games these last couple weeks. They’ve been on special teams, a little bit on offense and defense. Hopefully, you gradually start putting them in more and more situations throughout the season and they’ll continue to learn and grow because we think they’re going to be really good players.”

(On Cunningham’s uptick in turnovers...)

“Well, two of them were fourth downs. One of them was a fourth down here in our stadium and another was a fourth down at Pitt at the end of the game. Those were interceptions. A couple of them have been bad decision like throwing them into coverage against Miami. I know one of the ones on the sideline, he just should have thrown the ball away. A lot of it comes down to decision-making. As I think back on those, one of them, he threw a post route against Pittsburgh, and it was intercepted. That one was bad ball-placement. He has to throw that and lead the receiver. He threw it behind him.

“But most of them have been a bad decision, throwing it late or not throwing the at all to those guys. All last year he did a good job of taking care of the football. He has to continue to do that. It’s about making the right, proper decisions.

“Then in the running game, carrying the ball loosely cost him against Miami with the fumble. We’ve had too many fumbles just in general form our running backs and our quarterbacks in the first three games. We have to do a much better job of taking care of the football. That’s the one thing we talk about, we have to be better on third down, and we have to do better taking care of the football. Those two things we have to do a lot better job of. Those are some things we’ve worked on the last week.”

(What stands out to you about Georgia Tech on film?)

“They started a new freshman at quarterback and he is a very talented player. He’s got great size, he can run. I think he may be leading them in rushing. He has turned the ball over so that’s one thing that obviously we have in common. Both teams have turned the football over which is not good, but they also have a freshman running back who I think is a really good running back. He’s a good player and is very fast. He’s also they’re starting kick returner. They have some playmakers offensively and defensively. I coached with Coach Collins at FIU in 2010, when I was the OC and he was the DC and I know he likes to bring pressure, he’s a very aggressive coach when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. He wants his kids to play fast and cause havoc on that side of the ball. I think in the last couple years they’ve been able to manufacture some wins a lot of it in special teams they’ve done some good things and special team wise the last year and a half to. They also have a good punter. I think he’s leading the ACC in punting, about 48 yards a punt, and also in the net punting so they can flip the field in that regard. He’s building that program up. They’ve done a good job in recruiting and he’s playing some of those young players. I think it comes back to us. We’re really more worried about us and focused on what we have to do in order to go out and play well in order to get to win.”

(Have you been pleased with your special teams defense?)

“I think for the most part we’ve done pretty well. Last Saturday we were backed up against Pitt against the goal line and that’s a great opportunity just where you want to flip the field and when we hit a low punt that was a 3.3 hang time, you want to have around a 4.0 and they got a return on us, but we’re not even giving our kids a chance to get down the field on those. We got to have a much better job of getting more hang time, allowing our cover teams to get down the field. I think kickoff team has been fine. We’ve done a pretty decent job with that. But again we can kick the ball a bit better. I think we’ve done okay in that where we were, we haven’t done very good as the two things is punting the football. Our kickoff return team last year, we were one of the top in the country in kickoff returns and we have not we’ve been. We got to a much better job with that. We think this week we’ll get an opportunity maybe to get some returns and so hopefully we’ll do a better job blocking up front and be able to pop a couple returns out.”

(On recruiting this week…)

“On a weekly basis we have been trying to stay in contact with our guys that have been committed to us and then and some other guys that we are recruiting. The negative of this whole deal and it’s negative for the recruits and for us is that we were not allowed to go out. We can’t go out and see any of these guys. Normally what we’d be doing is on Friday nights we’re everywhere. We’re going to be at all the games and watching these guys play and really kind of critique and evaluate. That’s the one thing that you can’t see I mean we’re watching film. Every day here on new 2022 guys and also 2021 guys and you haven’t seen him yet had been able to go out and actually physically we’ll look at them. We’re kind of guessing some sizes and those type of things and so it does make it a lot more difficult, and the fact of the guys can’t really come here either as recruits in our home games. It’s a new time and a new era for all of us colleges and the prospects, I feel for these guys because they obviously want to go on these campuses and meet with coaches, and be able to see him there, but it’s just way different now so we’re utilizing video calls and conference calls and those types of things and try and just, stay in contact.”

(On pressuring the Georgia Tech quarterback…)

“Well I think for us it’s going to start and stop with the running game. I think they’ve done a really good job of running the football. I talked about their freshman running back, they actually play like three running backs. I think all three of them are very good running, but then on top of that you add what the quarterback can do with his legs I mean he’s a big kid that can run so I think it starts right there. You have to be very sound in in stopping the run. Then when he does roll we do know we need we need to bring pressure. We need to be able to get into the backfield. We’re not doing a very good job of when we just bring three or four guys putting pressure on quarterback so we do want to put pressure on him.”