—Spread check: Louisville by 1.
—The CJ’s Cam Teague has three keys to success for Louisville against Wake Forest.
—Dez Fitzpatrick is both “excited and sad” to see his college career come to an end this weekend.
“I was like, ‘Dang, this is my last Tuesday practice,’” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s real surreal. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, trying not to be too emotional, but it’s coming to an end. It’s exciting, and it’s also sad at the same time.”
The 6 foot, 2 inch, 210-pound wide receiver from Farmington Hills, Michigan, has been through quite a bit in his five years. He went from a scout team standout as a redshirt in his first year to a breakout year on the field as a freshman in 2017 and the ups and downs of winning and losing and a coaching change that have followed.
“My dad and I were talking,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve been part of a 2-10 team, and I’ve also been part of a Heisman-winning team while I was here. So that’s kinda crazy, the ups and downs. But I’ve learned lessons in both years.”
And he has grown through those lessons, even if he doesn’t always see it.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Wow, you’ve changed so much for the good. You’re so much more mature’” Fitzpatrick said. “And I think back sometimes, ‘Did I?’ I feel like I was mature back then. Everybody’s looking at me crazy, ‘Oh no, you weren’t mature back then.’ I’m like ‘Really? I thought I was.’”
U of L wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer absolutely believes Fitzpatrick can achieve his next goal of playing in the NFL.
“I’ve really enjoyed being around Dez and his growth as a person, as a player and the mental aspect of being a player,” Brewer said. “He’s got the size and maturity for it now. He’s got the skill set and ability to recognize coverages. And he’s a big guy playing in a small space. He can make all the catches that you want him to make. So I don’t see why not.”
—Louisville stays at No. 23 in Gary Parrish’s hoops rankings for CBS.
—Kyle over at Eleven Warriors would love to see Louisville emerge as a regular football opponent for Ohio State.
—John Tong forever.
—Cardinal Authority previews Louisville-Wake.
—Jack Harlow’s debut album is a Louisville love letter.
—Harlow, Bryce Cotton, Chicken Knowles; we’re always ahead of the game here.
—Gunter Brewer talks with the Cardinal Sports Zone crew about, among other things, TuTu Atwell and Dez Fitzpatrick.
—Matt McGavic of Louisville Report likes Wake Forest over the Cards by a field goal tomorrow.
—Nate Oats came for Coach K’s throat on Thursday.
Wow, Nate Oats coming for Coach K's grillllllllll...— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) December 10, 2020
Alabama will be hit with a five-year postseason ban before March.
—Donovan Mitchell says no more first round playoff exits for his Jazz squad.
—JCPS says it will delay the start of winter sports practice and games for public schools in Jefferson County.
—Pat Forde covers the Scott Satterfield saga of the last week in his latest Forde Yard Dash.
Another question worth asking in the aftermath of the Beamer hire is whether he was the candidate South Carolina most wanted. Signs point to no. That could well have been Louisville coach Scott Satterfield (18), whose on-and-off-and-on-and-off dalliance with the Gamecocks has turned into a bitter melodrama.
On Nov. 24, a report from The Athletic said the second-year coach of the Cardinals would interview with South Carolina. That led to an eruption from the Louisville fan base, which is still suffering from serial football coach desertions—from John L. Smith to Bobby Petrino to Charlie Strong. It also led athletic director Vince Tyra to immediately force the issue with Satterfield, putting out his own statement that night saying Satterfield was staying and asking the same of his coach.
Satterfield did issue a reassuring statement, and it looked like a dead issue—but it really never was. Last Friday, South Carolina had an in-person meeting with Satterfield (a “conversation,” the coach stressed, avoiding using the word “interview”) in Southern Kentucky. By that night, Satterfield decided he didn’t want the job and communicated as much to the Gamecocks. But word of the meeting got out, and by Saturday morning the Louisville fan base was apoplectic with a coach who has a 3–7 record in his second season persisting in discussions with another school about a job that isn’t demonstrably superior to Louisville.
In his weekly press conference Monday, Satterfield apologized three times for his handling of the South Carolina situation. (“If anything comes up in the future, it will be handled a lot different,” Satterfield promised.) That’s a beginning of the repair job, but not the end. Winning will finish the job—and if he doesn’t win next season, this thing might be permanently broken. Satterfield has gone from an overachieving 8–5 to an underachieving 3–7 that still would have earned a COVID mulligan from the fans—but now, not so much.
(Maybe in the locker room, too. Satterfield offered a clumsy answer when asked about the disconnect between asking for commitment from players and going job shopping. He said coaches have a familial obligation to consider career moves, while players should be “all in.”)
Behind the scenes, there also needs to be a mending of the relationship between Tyra and Satterfield. Tyra got Satterfield (and, significantly, his staff) for a comparative bargain rate coming out of Appalachian State, and there was no public alteration of that in the immediate aftermath of that 8–5 debut season. Then came a pandemic and a losing record, and whatever leverage Satterfield had went out the window. But if you combine that dynamic with the friction over South Carolina, the coach and athletic director have some couples counseling to do.
There is, of course, one cure-all: winning. If Louisville gets back above .500 in 2021, this situation will take care of itself.
—The 2020-21 ACC hoops season will actually get going on Saturday when Syracuse faces off against Boston College.
—Xavier’s first two Big East games have been postponed after a tier-1 positive Covid test from within the Musketeers program. Perhaps Travis Steele should have rethought his post-Cincinnati victory celebration.
—On a related note, the Big East is considering playing the second half of its conference season in a bubble.
—Ten days after referring to Kentucky as a “no excuse program,” John Calipari said this.
Not an excuse though. Definitely not an excuse. Just an explanatory statement.
—My guy Harry Lyles does the necessary digging to tell the story of why Evansville basketball always wears sleeved uniforms.
—Like Javian Hawkins before him, TuTu Atwell has signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus.
—Seems like a thing that could benefit a state in need of an economic boost.
Indiana has now set a monthly record for sports betting handle in three consecutive months:— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) December 11, 2020
Sept.: $207.4 million
Oct.: $230.9 million
Nov.: $251.4 million
Previous high had been $187.2 mil in Feb. 2020.
—Dabo doesn’t think Ohio State belongs in the College Football Playoff.
—The Louisville Zoo is now the home of the first snow leopard to test positive for Covid-19. We are certainly having a year.
—Chris Mack is addressing the media as I type this. We’ll have a recap of his presser up on the site once it wraps.
—Congrats to Josh.
People are always going to point to the Kentucky win, but I think it has to have been the Covid pinata party that put him over the top.
—Big Red Louie tells you what you need to know about Wake Forest.
—College Football News is predicting Wake Forest 37, Louisville 30.
—Rick Bozich examines Louisville’s shot at a farewell victory tomorrow.
—And finally, beat Wake Forest.