You can find video of Scott Satterfield’s post-practice presser here
It was awesome to be able to see people at the practice there. It felt normal. It felt like before the pandemic, it really did, out there on the field. Our guys have been putting in a lot of great work really since we got back in January, and to be back here in practice, what a great feeling. I love this sport of football, started when I was 7 years old, and to be able to come out here in the fall and start camp and practice, it’s awesome.
And what a great group. I’m really excited about this team, excited about our guys, they’re fun to be around, they go hard, they care about each other. All those things translate into success. It’s been a good ride so far.
After Day 1, excited about what we saw out there on the field. A lot of guys, to me, that’s one of the things that stood out. We’ve got 116 guys that participated today in camp. That’s a lot of bodies, a lot of newcomers being out here at practice for the first time. So it’s a lot of new faces for us to learn. But it was fun, and again, we have a long way to go, but after the first day I’m very encouraged by what we saw.
We’ve got a young football team this year. I looked at the roster, with some guys getting that year back and so on and so forth, we have I think 80 freshmen as you think about it — 116 (players) and 80 freshmen, walk-on and scholarship. So if you look at it that way, it’s the most freshmen I’ve ever had on a team. But I do feel like we’ve got a lot of experienced players, though. There’s a lot of guys that have played a lot of football. So that part, you know, is kind of a little bit different.
Anyway, excited about the start and ready to get this camp going.
Q: You’ve got a pretty new-look secondary. What have you seen from that group, first day out, and what do you expect?
SATTERFIELD: Definitely new guys back there in the secondary. We feel pretty solid at corner, but at the safety position got some new guys. Chandler Jones is going to be working both corner and safety. He’s a guy that has played a lot of ball and he can handle that, and I think he gives us another dynamic of a guy to be able to use in cover situations at safety. It’s hard to tell just after the first day. We’ll get on the film and start looking. I know we’re rotating a lot of guys at safety — we’re going to get a lot of looks at a lot of guys there. And they are young and new, both. Really the most experienced guy will be (Kendrick) Duncan, but he’s new to us. So that’ll be a position that will be interesting to see how it unfolds and who would get the playing time.
Q: With 40-something newcomers, what are the challenges of putting those guys together, and a couple who just got here this week?
SATTERFIELD: Yeah it is a challenge. Really, for them and us. They’re learning everything. The terminology is new. The schedule is new. This is the first time these guys have been in a big-time program, and that’s all new. And then, we’re trying to learn them, as well. We’re trying to learn their skill sets. Obviously we’ve seen their film, but out here, how quickly are they able to grasp it. That’s going to determine how many reps they’re going to get. And that’s with all these newcomers. It’s that way every year with newcomers — but this year we just have a lot more.
Q: One of the newcomers you brought in was Jawhar Jordan from Syracuse, what did you see from him that you thought could help you?
SATTERFIELD: First impression was two years ago when he took the ball 80 yards down the sideline and scored. He had a big game against us. He had a good game also in kickoff return. And last year, started the first three games for Syracuse then had an injury and missed the rest of the season. So he’s a guy that brings experience. He’s played. He’s played in the ACC. He’s a fast player. We wanted to bring another speed guy in at running back. I really feel we’ve got a lot of good depth there at running back. But one of the things that stuck in our minds was last year how we ended the season down numbers in running backs. That’s one position, we like to run the football, where we make sure we have to have some guys. We also like that he can bring an added dimension in the return game as well. He’s a guy, he hasn’t been here. He just got here. He’s got to get himself in shape, and that’s going to take time with him. But he brings some valuable experience and he’s a guy that’s got three years left too. That’s another thing that we liked about him.
Q: What’s the mindset with this team this year compared to maybe this time last year?
SATTERFIELD: I just think we’re a tighter bunch. I think the guys, so many things throughout this spring and summer that brought them together. Accountability. I mentioned this. We love a player-led team. But the accountability they have to each other is different. And that’s a different feeling. We felt it when we first got back in January, and that’s carried on throughout this whole semester, and we’ve got to continue it on throughout camp. And I think where that comes into play is when you face adversity, I think you’re able to get through it because your guys care about each other and are going to help bring each other through that.
Q: You brought in Brock Domann in at quarterback. What did you see on film that made you want to bring him in?
SATTERFIELD: We needed another quarterback, a little bit more depth there. We worked him out this summer and his workout, I think there were maybe 3 throws a little off during the whole 30 minute workout. He’s got the tools, can throw the football, and is a little faster than I thought on film and can move pretty good. So he just brings more depth to the quarterback room, and I thought he did good today. You really couldn’t tell it was his first day. He’s jumped right in there, running reps, throwing the ball nicely, had some good throws. In his junior college his offense was similar to ours. His offensive coordinator we had at App State, so their terminology was similar to ours, so that actually helped him to come in here and know what was going on a lot better. I think his first day was good. It’ll be interesting to see on film but I think he had a good first day.
Q: We’ve heard a lot about Tyler Harrell, but how would you describe the wide receiver group as a whole after some big losses from last season?
SATTERFIELD: We lost a lot of production last year but it’s time for some new guys to come in and make plays. I think about our first year when we got here and Tutu (Atwell) had 200 yards the year before and then he ends up breaking the school record, and (Javian) Hawkins the same way. So now it’s a different year and new guys are going to step up. We’ve talked Tyler Harrell and I think he’s going to step up. But we haven’t talked as much about (Jordan) Watkins or Braden (Smith). We feel confident and good with those guys, and what they can do. They’ve made plays in games and they’ve gotten better this summer. Justin Marshall I thought had a great day today. He looked awesome out there. We’ve got some guys that bring different skill sets to the mix. Marshon Ford is a guy who is going to be able to play more outside and inside as a tight end. So we’re going to make him more versatile within our offense. I’m excited about whose going to get these balls. And those guys are too. We’ve got some more balls to go around for these guys. And in the running back room also. We saw a little glimpse last year what (Jalen) Mitchell did against Wake Forest. He had a great game, and he’s had an awesome summer as well. Man, he looks good. We don’t need to put him in the weight room anymore. He’s big enough. He’s strong and looks like what you want him to look like. So we’ve got some good guys in that room and what’s going to be fun is to see who rises up, like who are the guys who we have to get the ball too? That’s going to be determined through these next 24 practices.
Q: On the running backs, how important is getting them more involved in the pass game?
SATTERFIELD: What I like about it is that it keeps the chains moving. If you get the ball to the running backs, usually it’s on a swing or a check-down, and they’re able to get 5-6 yards, and those plays keep the chains moving. It also increases passing efficiency. Maybe the defense covers guys down the field, so check down to the running backs. I thought we did a nice job of that in 7-on-7 today, just checking the ball to the running backs, take what the defense gives us. When you do that, you’re not forcing the ball where you could get a turnover, but you’re getting the ball in there to continue to move the sticks. If we move the sticks we’re going to score. And I like what those guys can do with the ball in their hand. That’s the other thing. You make one guy miss and you’ve got a first down.
Q: What did you think of Malik (Cunningham) and his leadership?
SATTERFIELD: I thought he looked like he had a lot of confidence out there. He felt very comfortable in what he was trying to do, distributing the football. I thought he made great decisions today. Maybe one or two times where I though on an RPO he could’ve thrown the ball but he didn’t. But shoot, one of our early drills he takes it 60 for a touchdown and said, ‘Man I haven’t run that far in a long time.’ He’s got that skill set to be able to score. It’s fun to see him out there. And he’s running the show. And that leadership part has really, really gained throughout the last six months.
Q: Nice to get (Maurice) Burkley out there after what he’s been through?
SATTERFIELD: I would say Burkley, it’s amazing what he’s been able to do and be able to come back. We’ve been seeing him run like this for the past three or four months. To have a hip surgery and to be able to come back off of that, a lot of credit to Matt Summers and him, because he’s shown up every time the training room was open to be able to get back. And he looked good, too, back just like he was last year, before the freak injury that he had. He’s another guy that got experience in the running back room, and he’s another one with great leadership. He was a walk-on and all that. So he really does a good job voicing what needs to be voiced as far as leadership go.
Q: You had more turnover in your coaching staff that you’ve had. What kind of challenge has that been?
SATTERFIELD: The guys came in and they do bring some new ideas and thoughts about how they’ve done things in the past. These guys have been awesome. They’ve been a great addition to our staff. They bring energy, they bring juice. Coach (Jack) Bicknell is one of the older coaches we have in here and brings head-coaching experience, Super Bowl experience, and yet he’s very humble and he wants to do what the program wants him to do. So that’s awesome to be around that. A lot of these guys bring so much energy out there. So there’s positives in that. Guys have picked up right where the other coaches left off. So I think it’s been a good mix and a good chemistry and I’m excited about the staff that we have.
Q: It looked like only two guys, Josh Minkins and Dayna Kinnard didn’t do everything, so would you say you’re pretty healthy?
SATTERFIELD: We’re pretty healthy. Minkins did some drills today. Hopefully as he gains more strength as we go, he’s cleared but we’ve got to get him a little stronger. And Dayna is going to be a little bit more down the road off his injury. But we’re in really, really good shape right now. Matt Summers told them yesterday, ‘This will be the best you feel all year. Right before Practice 1.’ That’s the way football is. But we’re in good shape right now. We’ve got new rules as far as camp. We’ve got 25 practices, but eight of those are just in helmets. It’s going to be different. You’re not going to be hitting as much. It’ll be interesting to see on the health of these guys, and hopefully we’ll be a little bit more healthy.
Q: Vince (Tyra) told us earlier he he thinks the team is underrated. You’re not being picked high in the ACC. What do you think?
SATTERFIELD: I don’t pay attention to it. You’re picked wherever you’re picked. I’ve been on teams picked first and teams that were picked last. Our first year here we were picked last. So it really doesn’t matter. Where you pick teams is where they were the year before. If you won a bunch of games you’re going to be picked high. If you didn’t win many games you’re going to be picked low. It’s just the way it works. You want to be there at the end. How much work we put into it today and tomorrow and so on. It’s all about the preparation, when we get to the game on that Monday night in Atlanta, we’ll know how much preparation we put in and how well we were prepared to go into that game. So I don’t worry about preseason stuff.