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Transcript: Scott Satterfield Monday press conference

A new week begins for Cardinal football.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Clemson at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

(Opening Statement)

“It was a big game and great atmosphere playing Clemson, all the festivities of before the game and in the back of the end zone, we’ve got all our recruits that are here for the game, we had a ton of great recruits here and great families. We got great feedback from all the recruits and families man and we’ve got to continue to recruit at a high level and bring some great players and families into this program and this was a great weekend for that. The fans were awesome. They were into it throughout the game, they were loud, our guys were feeding off of it was big- time college football and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what these recruits want to come play in. I think the game obviously hashed the game over a million times and watched film, just very disappointed, in the fact that we didn’t finish, hurt or pissed off, whatever you want to say. I’m hurting for our guys in that locker room. The one thing that our guys do and they’ll continue to do is play their tails off, they work out that way, they practice that way, they go out in the field and play that way and that gives us a chance and a great opportunity. We’ve been in these games and I’m proud of them for that, we let Clemson off the hook, essentially, and that’s the hard thing. That’s what makes us all mad and upset. It’s motivation for our guys to continue to work. They know that they’re so close. They came back yesterday and worked hard. They’re back working out in the building today. I love being around them, seeing their faces and to see how hard and passionate they are about what they’re doing. That puts joy in my life to be around these guys and it’s real easy to come around and start moping and all this but not around them. When we get on that field and get in the weight room and, and that joy is in the air, that’s exciting for me. That’s why I’m optimistic about our program, because of the way they carry themselves. anybody I’ve ever been around my whole life that works hard and does the things they do; they’re going to have success and that’ what we’re going to have and we’re going to keep fighting for that. We’re on to Syracuse, and Syracuse has a good football team. They have five wins on the season. They were off last week. They’re the number three rushing team in the country. I think their running back might be number two in the country himself. He’s a really good running back, runs low to the ground, he’s got good speed. I think about every game breaks off a 50-yard run with just watching the film. They’ve settled in on Garrett (Shrader), their quarterback, a kid I know, recruited him back when he was in Charlotte and ended up going to Mississippi State and transferred to Syracuse this year. I think they were playing the other kid maybe early in the year and then Shrader kind of came in and settled in. He’s a runner like Malik (Cunningham), he can run he’s about 6’4’ or 6’5’. They’re really usually utilizing his legs along with the running back’s legs, they have an identity on offense and a very aggressive defense. They’re number one in the ACC in sacks, very aggressive tackles for loss, they’re going to get after the quarterback. It’s imperative for us to be able to occupy the ball, keep it away from their offense and score, obviously, score touchdowns. I think that’s going to be huge this week. They’ve been in a lot of close games, lost three games by about three points and they’ve won their last two. We know we’ll get their best shot when they come in here but we’re looking forward to it, our goal as a team right now is to go take care of this game and be 1-0 this week. We’re excited about this opportunity about hosting Syracuse and looking forward to it.”

(Update on Malik Cunningham)

“He took the loss hard. I mean we all did, but he’s doing good. He’s in a much better place now. I think he’s going to be fine with his injury. He was out on the field on Sunday but didn’t do a whole lot. I’m pretty optimistic about him getting back out for tomorrow and Wednesday’s practice.”

(On team’s fourth quarter struggles)

“It’s obviously been a sore subject really in the fourth quarter, we’ve played well, the first three quarters, you go back and look at it and it’s given us a chance and an opportunity and in the fourth quarter we’ve just not finished games, we’ve not done the things we need to do. We know that you got to come down, you got to finish, it’s focus, it’s adjustments, it’s getting the ball in the hands of the playmakers offensively and then it’s doing the right things. It starts with me, making the right calls, and decisions that need to be made in the fourth quarter. There’s different scenarios and different games and we’ve been behind, we’ve been up, there’s all kinds of things that have happened. This past game, we got in a lull and couldn’t get anything going. We got the ball back, down six, with a chance, and our guys did a great job to get down there, and we just have to punch it in. I told our guys, if we punch it in and you score and you get the extra point, you win the game, I mean, and you played the same way, there’d be a lot more joy and excitement, but we played well and we just didn’t finish it there. We just have to find a way. Our guys are to the point where it’s like, we’re not talking about it, we’ve got to go do it, we just got to go prove it and do it.”

(Running onto the field to help with playcalling)

“Well, I think I mentioned this last Monday about how to do some things different offensively.

Brent (Venables) and Clemson they do a great job of getting signals and when you line up your offense, they do a great job of figuring it out. They’re a much better defense that way to me. We wanted to huddle, we huddled a lot in the game and tried to limit our signals from the sidelines. There were times where I just went on the field and told Cunningham the play and he goes into the huddle and tells them. I think we had success. The first drive, we went right out and down the field for a touchdown. I thought our kids did a great job and that’s the first time I’ve ever called plays like that. I was a little worried about penalties and such and I think we may have gotten one or two called with it but again 400 yards, 24 points on a really good defense, I think it worked.”

(On the last series of the game)

“I couldn’t sleep again last night thinking about those plays. The first play we thought they were going to pack it in, so we ran an outside zone; it was very close to getting in, it was probably just inside the two-yard line there. The next three plays were pass plays, and I know we didn’t throw it, but they were pass plays. Clemson did a pretty good job of defending those plays, so Malik (Cunningham) ended up running around a little bit. The whole deal was, and I think there was a minute and 21 seconds or a minute 23 when we got the ball, and we didn’t have any timeouts, so we were a little bit nervous about running. We felt the first play, we were going to be fine, we’ll run that and then we’ll jump into the next play really quick, which we did and then Dabo (Swinney) called a timeout to stop the clock, which was actually good so we could actually regroup a little bit and figure out what we needed to do for that third down and then we called another pass play with Malik (Cunningham) coming off the left side, basically to get him on the edge so he can run pass option there, and he ended up running it and now the clock is ticking down and of course you have run the next play pretty fast, which was a sprint out play, thinking pressure is coming and we’ll get outside of all that pressure and we got two receivers in the flat and in the back of the endzone and let Malik (Cunningham) just buy time and maybe try to send it in the endzone. That was the thought. It didn’t work out that way. Pretty good defense by Clemson on that play as well. With no timeouts and the time coming down I think it had something to do with the plays that we did call within that scenario.”

(On staying positive despite fourth quarter struggles)

“Well, during the game don’t think about it and say ‘Okay, here comes the fourth quarter and we haven’t done well.’ I don’t think we think that way. Our guys and our coaches are just thinking about what the scenario is right now and when the offense is on the field, it’s your job to get first downs and score touchdowns and then defense, it’s your job to stop them. I don’t think we get scared or whatever in the fourth, I don’t think it happens that way. Our players know what they need to do, and they know they need to go out there and do it and they know in the fourth quarter we want to go finish the game. It’s not about the talk then, we have to have action. Throughout the course of practice, we’ve tried to put them in some scenarios to simulate that but it’s hard to simulate it until you really get into it. We just want them to focus, pay attention to detail, do their job, all the little things, it’s the same things that they’ve done the first three quarters of these games, we just have to carry it on to the last one.”

(On the long-term impact Lamar Jackson has on the program)

“Yeah, he is a generational player. Coming out of high school, I don’t know how highly ranked of a recruit, I don’t think he was very highly ranked and he’s arguably one of the best to ever play. Sometimes the rankings get it wrong. I think it comes down to, in my opinion, a player’s heart, you have to have talent, but it comes down to more what’s right here, what’s in the heart with these players and he has as much heart as anybody going. He obviously has talent, he’s got size, speed, he can run, he’s got an arm, but he’s got that something inside of him that makes it all go and sometimes it’s hard to measure that, it’s hard to measure what’s inside somebody. He’s certainly a guy that will forever impact the program. As a guy that came through here and was able to do what he did and have that kind of impact on, not only on college football, but now what he’s doing in the NFL, it’s incredible. So, he will be talked about forever, and we’ll always talk about him to recruits. It doesn’t matter what position you play, because these guys all relate to him, they don’t care if they play the DB or receiver or whatever, they think they’re the next Lamar. We’ll always use him and his name and appreciate him, really for who he is, for the way he approaches the game. I love the fact how he always talks about everybody else but himself and I think that’s huge.”

(On Lamar Jackson’s impact on young players)

“I think so. I think because they see themselves doing what he did and they think they can come up through the ranks just like he did, doesn’t matter the position, and will hopefully one day come play here and go play in the NFL and be a great football player. It’s lofty, it’s dreamy, you know, but in their eyes, it’s obtainable which is awesome.”

(On the recruiting weekend)

“It’s extremely difficult. You have to have a lot of staff. We’ve hired a few, we need to hire some more, in our recruiting department because there’s so much going on and when you have a bunch of them, like we had, how can you show attention all of them and the moms and the dads and they have questions. We had several from our west who maybe hadn’t been here before. Coming in, some of the feedback was ‘man, we thought Kentucky was just going to be fields and farms and pastures. We didn’t know it was a city like this, this is kind of cool.’ They loved it. They loved this atmosphere and they loved what we have to offer here. We had some local kids that were here that had a ball and loved it. It takes a lot of manpower, there’s a lot of moving parts. We had official visitors here, we had a unofficial visitors that showed up on Friday, we had some more of them on Saturday, there’s so many things that are going on. You’re trying to give a tour on campus, you’re trying to give a tour through our facility, you’re trying sure all the guys and their families are taken care of. Meanwhile, we’re trying to get ready for game. It helped that it was a night game. The feedback was awesome and our whole department did an outstanding job with that.”

(On memories of Lamar Jackson)

“I remember watching him play. I loved watching him play because what he did offensively at the time is very similar to some of the things that we are doing now with Malik (Cunningham). He did it at an incredible level, so I love that. When I first met him, I was kind of in awe. I was like, “Oh, man, that’s the Lamar”. I had no idea he was that tall. I thought he was going be around six-foot kind of quarterback, but he’s tall, he is 6-2 or 6-3. He is tall. I couldn’t believe that a guy could run like that at that heigh because he is able to run like a little guy. I remember how humble he was on the field that day in practice when he came out. He was extremely humble and wanted to hang out with the guys. He wanted to be one of the guys when he is arguably the best player in football. Those are some of the things that I remember about him”

(On the play of receivers/tight ends)

“I love the way they work. They are going to keep getting better with the way they work, anyone that works like our guys are going to get better and keep getting better. As they gain more experience, they are going to understand what we do better. A guy like Tyler Harrell, on the two touchdown runs that Malik (Cunningham) had, he was the lead blocker out there. Him and Marshon Ford both did a tremendous job blocking on both of those runs. It was a great run by Malik, but two great blocks sprung him. Tyler (Harrell) is a guy that every time he catches the ball you think he is going to score. He is that kind of player that we need to give him the ball more. He has earned that right to play more and get the ball more. He caught that dig route last game and I am thinking “Okay, he is going to go all the way”, but we got a penalty of that play that brought some of it back. With Justin Marshall, it was a tremendous play on that fourth down, the ball went right over one of their defenders’ hands right into his hands, and then gets a foot down. (Tyler) Marshall has been playing a lot better the last few weeks, so we have a lot of good players. I love being around them and they are going to keep getting better. We are going to win these games. That is the bottom line we have to have that thought process and our guys do so I am excited about it.”

(On the absence of Kei’Trel Clark)

We miss Trey (Kei’Trel Clark). He is a really good football player. Thinking back to what he did at NC State a week earlier, he had four or five batted down balls. The offense tried to take advantage of him and he wouldn’t allow it. We got to be better out there with his absence. Clemson got a couple plays on us, one being that post route on the first drive and there were a couple more they were able to hit on the outside. We had a few penalties in the secondary that really hurt us. If you think about driving extending penalties, the pass interferences, defensive holdings, and then (Jack) Fagot’s unfortunate targeting. That Fagot foul was going to be third-and-six, but instead it was a first-down, 15 yards closer to the end zone, and they end up scoring. The penalties really hurt us in this past game. They ended up scoring 17 points on the drives where we had a penalty.”

(On difference with Syracuse offense with Garrett Shrader)

“(Garrett) Shrader has a lot of confidence. He plays with that confidence. From knowing him, I know he is a confident player. He has a lot of ability, but he is different than Malik because he is six-five. He is a strong runner, he will try to run you over, but once he gets out of containment he can go with those long strides. I think their offense has an identity now; they feel good about either him running or handing it off to their running back. (Sean) Tucker does everything well. He’s got great vision. He always has a good forward lean, what is impressive about him is once he breaks through and gets to that next level, he can go. He has a carry of over 50 yards about every game, which is very impressive. They have not been as good passing the ball, that is kind of their weak link, but they have run it so well they have really needed much in the passing game. The key to the game will be defending the run and making sure that we are in all the gaps to contain the running back and quarterback.”