You can find video of Monday’s press conference here
Coach Scott Satterfield Opening Statement
We will do our mock game this evening and then treat tomorrow like a Sunday practice. We would like to start to get into our normal routine of a game week starting tomorrow. We are very excited to be headed down to Atlanta to compete in the Chick fil A game. We did it once before in 2015 against Auburn. It is a great opportunity to showcase not only our football program, but our school on national television on Monday night. Our guys are excited about it, they are fired up for this opportunity. They had a really good camp, it was hot, the last two weeks were really hot, and we have had to battle some lightning and a lot of distractions as far as weather goes, but our players did not slow down on anything they did. Our guys continued to fight and practice hard. I think that one thing that is always worried about is injuries, particularly coming out of camp, but we are in great shape as far as that goes. We will have everybody available for the game, which is always a positive when you come out of camp. particularly when we have been able to have two big scrimmages and came out in good shape.
Coach Satterfield on Ole Miss (Part of Opening Statement)
We are playing a team that has gotten a lot of notoriety over, the offseason, coming off a big bowl game win over a really good Indiana team. They are known for their offense and Lane Kiffin really over his whole career is known for being able to move to football. He has always been able to move the football, especially over the last few years at FAU, being able to move the ball well the way he did there with that fast paced spread them out and get the ball all over the field. That is what Ole Miss does well, they make you defend the whole field; east, west, north, and south. They do a good job with that; they utilize their tempo to make the defenses unaware of what’s going on because it’s happening so fast. I think when you do that, you have to have an excellent quarterback and they do in Matt Corral. He is an outstanding quarterback, because you have to make decisions very quickly in his offense, where the ball is going because they have several plays call within one, and he can do that, he can make all the throws, he can throw a tight window, and he throws a great deep ball, in addition to being very accurate. On top of all that he can run, when we first started studying him in the offseason, I was hoping he couldn’t run, but he can. He is one of the better quarterbacks in the country and it’s why it’s been mentioned up for Heisman recognition because he makes it all go. The other thing is the media has talked about their defense and how they are giving up a lot of points. That is all that those players have been hearing all offseason as well, so I know that they will be ready and make improvements there. They added some more talent to that defense, and they got a lot of guys back you know so they will be a better unit for that. It is a great challenge and opportunity for us to go play an SEC team and we are looking forward to that.
Coach Satterfield on the biggest key slowing down the Ole Miss offense
The first key starts off with alignment. Once the play is over, Ole Miss is getting lined right back up and jumping into their formation; we have to see what the formation is and get lined up quickly, but at the same time we as coaches have to get the call in from the sideline. That is going to be the number one key; getting lined up, getting our call, and getting ready to play the next down because so many times and we see it on film, defenses are looking around for all call, they are not where they are supposed to be when the ball is snapped, and then the offense is getting the throw out quickly to the side, or a vertical route. That is the number one key for us is alignment. Number two is not letting anybody get behind you, as a defense we have to make everybody stay in front of us. Ole Miss loves to take shots down the field, they thrive as big playoff offense. When you don’t get lined up right, then there goes a receiver, he’s running by the defense, and they are throwing it up to him. That the two biggest keys, eliminating the big plays which is staying on top, but the biggest thing is getting lined up getting our call, and getting going, that will be something that we have to be great at.
Satterfield on safeties position group
“We always feel good about it, we have talked about the two transferring safeties that have come in here to Qwynnterrio Cole and Kenderick Duncan. Both of those guys have had a really good camp, they are going to be our starting safeties back there. Josh Minkins has been worked his way back in now and he’s been practicing so he’ll be available as well. We have about Chandler Jones as another guy that we think can slide in and help at the safety position if we need him to. He’s a guy that has worked really about three different positions in the back end, he has matured as a football player and really understands what we’re trying to do defensively, so we have some guys we can certainly get back there, but we feel good about the two guys that are in the starting lineup there.
Satterfield when you’re up against a team that you expect to be explosive, how does that factor in your substitution pattern and the kind of plays that you call to try to control the pace
“That’s the challenge. You watch them last year against Alabama, and we know how talented Alabama is, and their defensive line is walking around because they’re tired because they couldn’t substitute any guys. They’re going so fast, you can’t get anybody in because you’ll get a penalty, because they’re going to snap the ball. We have to do a good job of when we can substitute and when we can’t. If they sub a guy, then we need to be able to run a guy on to get some guys some breaks. That’s one of the advantages of going fast as an offense, that they’re able to do that. That is a concern as well, being able to get guys in and out of the game. We have to be very good at getting guys in the game when they sub so we have an opportunity.”
“Early in my career, I thought our job was to move the ball and score and not worry about that defensive side, the defense’s job is to stop them. Over the years I’ve learned you have to play team football, and there’s times where the defense has been out there for a while and they need to catch a break, so we need to slow it down a little bit offensively to give those guys an opportunity to catch their breath. It absolutely comes into play. That’s more of a feel thing as you go through the game. We have times where we’re going to go fast on offense as well, but you don’t want to get into that if your defense needs a blow, and ultimately, we have to score points, we know that, and we have to sustain drives and if we’re doing that, then we are going to help our defense out, but it certainly comes into my mind.”
“You just never know how a game is going to go once you start playing. We feel good about what we have on offense. Our offensive line has had a really good camp. We have some good skill players outside, we have several backs I think can play, all our tight ends are basically back this year. Cunningham and Connelly both have had really good camps. We’ve played in a lot of different kind of games over the last two years, we’ll see how this game goes but we’re ready for anything. We just want to have one more point than they do by the end of the game, whatever that takes to get that done. There are so many things that happen in a football game. I’m watching this game this weekend, Illinois and Nebraska and the first point was a safety off of a bad decision to field a punt. There’s so many things that can happen in a game that can affect the outcome of the game and the little things are really what mattered in that game, so they’ll matter in this one as well.”
Satterfield on what he has seen from the offense
“I think they’ve had a really good camp out wide. Braden Smith and Jordan Watkins are two of the guys that played a lot of ball for us last year and they’ve worked extremely hard and done some great things. Justin Marshall is a guy that has had a really good fall camp and I think he’ll be able to make plays out there. We’ve talked about Tyler Harrell, he’s a guy that can make plays. I think Ahmari Huggins-Bruce is a freshman that’s going to be able to make plays out there and we’ve talked about Marshon Ford. He’s another guy that we want to get more involved, not just at the tight end position maybe out wide as well. There are several guys we think are going to be able to make plays out there. Shai Werts is another guy that just got here that is still learning the position but is explosive and can make plays. I think we have enough guys out there that can make plays. Ultimately, they’re going to have to win some one-on-one battles out there, we’re going to have to give them a chance to to make those plays, but we have confidence in them and we know they’ll be able to make them.”
“It’s a great opportunity. We’re playing a team that’s been talked about a lot in the offseason as a Top 25 team, an SEC team and we’re the game that’s on TV for all the nation to watch. It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase where we are and showcase what kind of players we have, and how much fight we have. I’m happy for our guys, I’m excited for them. This is a big-time game. As opposed to playing a smaller team, an FCS team or something to start the season off, we’re primetime, spotlight. Let’s go, let’s showcase what we have.”
First impression of Kei’Trel Clark’s competitiveness:
“I think he’s very competitive. I think he’s a very emotional player, he gets fired up easily and he didn’t ever want to lose at any rep. Right from the start, he really didn’t say a whole lot, he just came in and started making plays and after the first week we were like man this guy’s going to be pretty good and he’s going be hard to get off the field and he ended up having a good year, he’s had a good camp. He’s quick, feisty, strong, he’s got good instincts. He’s able to read what routes the receivers are running. I think that’s what makes him a good player and he’s got a lot of experience now, he started a year at Liberty, started a year here and he’s got a lot of experience now. We’ve seen a lot of different things and we’ve got a lot of confidence in what he can do at the corner position.”
On the defensive line and getting pressure on the quarterback:
“I mean that’s obviously a thing that we want to be able to do is put pressure on quarterbacks. I think Yaya has been a guy who’s done some great things, Ashton is a really good pass rusher as well. I think Yasir is a guy who’s going to be able to create pressure from the outside linebacker position. Monty Montgomery is another guy, I forgot how many sacks he had last year maybe three and a half, four sacks from the inside linebacker position but he’s a guy that we like to bring because he’s a good pass rusher. We want to be multiple, there’s going to be times we want to bring six guys and other times where we’re dropping eight. We want to keep the offense off balance, and I think particularly when you’re playing a team like Ole Miss, you’ve got to be able to do that, you can’t just line up and play the same defense every time, they will pick you apart, so we got to be very multiple and the things that we do. We also have to be able to have different packages in on defense, I think that will help our pass rushing ability as well. I think some of the guys we just mentioned there I think they’re going to be much better this year in rushing the passer. I feel like last year, a lot of times, these offenses get the ball going so quickly, it’s hard to get pressure on a guy if it’s basically a catch and throw and you can be a great pass rusher you’re just not going to get there. You have to put them in situations where it’s a little bit more dropped back so they do hold the ball a little bit longer and now that’s where you can create some pressure.”
On camp for the younger tight ends:
“It’s been good, Isaac Martin is a guy who has kind of been a mainstay there as a battering ram, so to speak. Duane Martin is a guy who’s had a really good offseason as well. He’s a lot bigger and stronger, I mean he’s close to 260 pounds and he’s got soft and really good hands so we wouldn’t hesitate to put him out there as well. Dez Melton is guy who didn’t play much last year for us but has a really good offseason and he’s got good size at the tight end, and he can run too.
I remember in the spring game he had a 55 or 60 yard touchdown run in spring game. Sherman is a guy whose played some wide for us and on the ball tight end and we feel comfortable with him as well. I think all those guys will be a little bit by committee in that room, there’s six or seven guys that can go out and play and help us and you think about that is that we asked them to do so many things, in the passing game and in the running game and it had to be multiple they had to be able to decipher a defense on the move and on the run. All those guys are really good at it, and they’ve got a good feel for what we’re doing.”
On Malik Cunningham’s improvement and maturity:
“I think he’s matured a lot more; he’s done it every year and he’s just continued to do that. He’s become a really good leader for us and I’m talking program wise. As a quarterback, he’s done a better job of sitting in the pocket and really working the pocket, as opposed to when things are breaking down, let me get out and start running right now. I think we’ve done a much better job working on, sitting right in that little slot there in the pocket, where our O-line knows where he’s at, and he’s able to sit there and he’s making throws. When he sits there and he’s on balance, he’s as accurate as anybody in the country, he throws a great ball, he’s got great accuracy. It comes down to decision making for him and the things we’ve tried to simulate with that, it’s hard sometimes, you still just got to get in the game, but he does make better decisions he’s dropping the ball off to the underneath, to the backs and tight ends better. The thing is that sometimes defense wins, and you don’t compound what they’ve done well into a mistake for us. He’s done a better job with that as well, so I like his progression. I think he’s primed to go out and have a great year this year.”
On importance of the little things and mock game tonight:
“It is and tonight is also just operation, a sideline operation, we’re going to go through the pregame routine what we do, we’ve got guys that have never traveled, never played a game for us so we’ve we got to go through the locker room to the field, where you’re at on the sideline, where do you go at halftime. Then we’re going to be exchanging for all the teams like kickoff teams, kickoff return and punt return, all the different teams will go through all those scenarios. One of the things we did this camp also was every night, we we’re showing clips of things that have happened either to us or other teams throughout the last few years, just crazy plays and things that we’re just trying to learn, a lot of is in special teams, just like what happened with the return guy, some of it was with turnovers, some of it with penalties. I just heard Coach Frost mention after the game about pre snap penalties and not fielding a ball on your goal line, on the opponents’ two-yard line. Those little things like that just add up. We talked to our team a lot about hidden yards, there’s a lot of hidden yards in a football game and particularly in the kicking game in special teams. Those things get lost sometimes in the stats and where you’re starting at in terms of field position. I mean last year, that’s one of the things, our field position was awful last year where started drives and when we started drives near plus territory plus 50-yard line, we were scoring points but it’s hard if you’re backed up inside the 10-yard line every time when you start your drive so those little things add up. We’ve got to be really good at those things and those are things we’ve been really harping on this whole offseason and hopefully it will show as we get into the game and that we will be solid in our approach and in all those little things.”