“First of all, give Virginia a lot of credit. They came in there and put together a nice game to get the win, particularly in the fourth quarter I thought they played well creating a couple of those turnovers. We were short-handed again tonight and I told our guys I was proud of their fight. We talked about it on Friday night that it would come down to turnovers and turnover margin. We knew that was going to be a big part and if you go back and look at some of the games that we have played and the turnover margin is huge.
“And then it came down to that again today. We did create a couple today and that was nice to see by our defense but then offensively we come out and on the first drive we go all the way down the field and we are inside the 20 and we end up throwing an interception and not just an interception but it goes back the other way for six points. Obviously, that hurt and then we are in this game in the fourth quarter and we get a huge fumble there by Cunningham. We were driving and that was a huge fumble and then we get the ball back with four and a half minutes left and we fumble on the first play. You can’t turn the football over if you want to win football games but that was the difference in the game.
“But like I said, I was proud of our guys and what we had out there tonight but we just came up on the short end.”
Q: COMING INTO THE GAME YOU DIDN’T HAVE TUTU OR JAVIAN, BUT WERE FACING A PASS DEFENSE LAST IN THE ACC WERE YOU SURPRISED NOT MORE YARDS IN THE AIR?
Satterfield: ”Yeah, I probably was a little bit surprised. You never know how defenses are going to plan to play you. We felt like we had a good plan to run and throw but coming in here and it looked like the more we started playing the game they were playing a little off coverage compared to what they played throughout the season. They probably didn’t want to give up the big play in the passing game. We knew coming in that Malik would be a big part of the running game and we were able to get that established, but we still feel like we should have made a few more big plays down the field in the passing game. We were not able to do that throughout the course of the game.
“We were also trying to shorten the game so we came out and tried to slow it down a bit, to give us a chance because we knew we were short-handed. Even still after the game, I felt like we had a good plan it just goes to those three turnovers.”
Q: DID YOU BUILD GAME PLAN AROUND CUNNINGHAM RUNNING WHEN DID YOU KNOW HAWKINS AND ATWELL WERE OUT AND WAS IT CORONAVIRUS RELATED?
Satterfield: ”Yeah, it’s been that. We kind of knew that they were not going to be able to play with all of the stuff that was going on. These past two weeks have, obviously, been very trying on all of us of things that have been going on. It’s day-to-day things and really hour-to-hour. Some things that have come through with our program and it’s very frustrating at times. You have to try and focus on the positive stuff and you are almost becoming kind of numb to the stuff that is negative and you are almost like ‘What now?’ ‘What’s next?’
“There are so many things that have happened the last couple of weeks and again I was proud of our guys, the guys that played on both sides of the ball. We were short-handed on both sides of the ball tonight and we got a couple of guys back, but we got them back today. So they had missed the last two weeks. They didn’t practice for two weeks and hadn’t been out there, so it’s hard to ask them to go out there at a high level when they hadn’t gotten any reps. But some of them did that at D-line and Isaiah Hayes at safety, so it’s challenging. But we try to find something positive each day and try to keep motivating our guys and really everybody in our building because it affects everybody.
“There’s not a blueprint for the stuff we are going through and we are trying to make the best of it each and every day.”
Q: WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT ATWELL AND HAWKINS?
Satterfield: ”It’s kind of been throughout the week with those guys. So, we kind of had an idea about it you know, you are developing a game plan throughout the week and our idea was they would not be available. We knew some other guys would have to step up. Braden (Smith) out there in the slot did some good things, but we still didn’t get the ball down the field like we wanted to with him and then (Maurice) Burkley and (Jalen) Mitchell had some good runs and then you lean more on Cunningham.
“We had some designed Q runs today but then he also had some good runs on some scrambles to get us some first downs and on the touchdown run as well.”
Q: TO CLARIFY WAS HAWKINS COVID RELATED? AND DO YOU START TO PLAY MORE YOUNGER GUYS WITH A 2-6 RECORD?
Satterfield: ”It’s something that we want to put the best out there to play and there’s no question about that. And some guys are available and others are not available and Hawkins was one of the guys unavailable this week. We want to let our young guys play but we want to put them in situations where they are going to be successful and not just throw them to the wolves where they are not going to have much success.
“We have played some young guys, we have put them in and some out of necessity and others because we just want to get them in. To me, it doesn’t matter what our record is we want to get those young guys in. You like to be able to do it in some situations where they can have success but we have been in situations where it has been tough because of the situations to put them in and then the last two weeks we have had to put them in there and they are kind of growing up before our own eyes.
“As we go through the next three weeks there will be more opportunities for our guys who have not played. We want these guys to have success but at the same time they have to get some experience as we move forward.”
Q: WHAT WAS THE GAME PLAN AGAINST QB BRENNAN ARMSTRONG?
Satterfield: ”He’s a sneaky good runner. He does a good job in the running game and I think he just extends some plays. I thought our defense did a really nice job with some coverages but then Brennan would take it down and go get a first down or 5-6 yards. He did a nice job with that and he is a solid quarterback. He has great size, throws a good, catchable and like I said he’s able to run the football. Nothing flashy about him but he’s a very, very solid player and does a good job of spreading the ball around.
“Our defense, particularly in the first half, played really well and then in the second half got worn out a little bit. We had the back-to-back turnovers and they were right back on the field and again if you are short-handed and have to put those guys right back on the field. I thought the negative with our defense was third down. I thought we played first and second down pretty solidly and then on third down they got the first down and that just kind of keeps you on the field, extends those drives.
“We were brining some more pressure in the second half and we were hoping to get to him but didn’t get to him enough to get them off the sticks.”
Q: YOU ARE DOING SOME OF THE HARD THINGS WELL, IT’S JUST THE SIMPLE LITTLE THINGS THAT ARE COSTING YOU. WHAT APPROACH DO YOU TAKE MOVING FORWARD?
Satterfield: ”Yeah, we’re not good enough to have those turnovers and still win. We have to just play spot on all of the time and that takes extreme focus by our players and our staff throughout the week and on game day to have that focus that every play has an opportunity to hit. Our guys are trying hard. Our coaching staff is trying hard with the game plan, putting together a nice plan to then have them go out and play and then you get some adversity, a guy can’t play and you have to shuffle things around and it affects special teams.
“It’s tough and it’s very frustrating and we just have to continue to work. I told our guys when you face adversity the only thing you can do is keep fighting or quit and we are certainly not going to quit. We are in all of these games. It’s amazing the fine-line that college football comes down to. It’s such a fine line and it’s just a couple of plays. If you make a couple of plays, then you win and you look back to last year and we made those plays and we win eight games.
“But we are right there in these games and just not making the plays when we need to. I told our guys that we are going to keep working. This adversity is going to make us a better program as we move forward and it will make us better.”
Q: HOW DO YOU GET OVER THE HUMP AND START MAKING THOSE LITTLE PLAYS?
Satterfield: ”It’s just being more consistent I think and that comes through preparation. As I mentioned, we had guys out here tonight that hadn’t practiced for two weeks. It’s hard for them to make those plays if they haven’t been there for two weeks. But this is the hand we are dealt and we will just continue on working and continue to repping it in practice and it will start to click. And it had clicked a lot. But it has to be every single play, it can’t be one play where one guy didn’t do what he was supposed to do because all of a sudden that’s a first down. You have to get all of them on the same page where they are all clicking at the same time.
“And when it does, it’s beautiful and there’s a lot of good plays out there that we are making. But you have to be more consistent with it and as I mentioned before we’re not good enough that if a guy screws up that he’s so talented that he can go makeup, he can go bat a ball down or he can go with his athleticism and get a runner down before he gets the first down.
“We are not there yet, so we have to play solid football and mistake-free.”
Q: IT FELT LIKE MALIK HOLDING ONTO THE BALL A LITTLE TOO LONG AT TIMES?
Satterfield: ”It is a fine line. There are times that you hold onto the ball a little longer because he may be thinking that the receiver is getting ready to come open and let me hold on to that ball and I can get it to him or just throw the ball away. And here’s the other things that come into play with that is you have a guy like Cunningham who can run so he feels like let me hold this ball and I will be able to scramble and make a play and make this happen.
“And sometimes that gets you in trouble. That’s where you have to coach them that right here you can’t outrun No. 11, who is a great player so just throw it away. And that’s just that fine line but there are times we will be saying throw it away and he gets the first down. It’s just a fine line and we have to coach him up. It comes more with experience. We will look at it and coach him up and he will learn from it as we move forward.”