Scott Satterfield left Louisville for the Cincinnati job this week and ended up taking a few coaches with him. That’s not abnormal at all but the loss of Wesley McGriff and Lance Taylor have left the Louisville staff very thin.
Deion Branch will be the head coach for the game but he won’t be the only member of the support staff to step up for the players and the program. 11 quality control and graduate assistant staff members will be covering for position coaches or elevating their responsibilities for the bowl game.
These are the people who build scouting reports, cut up video, hold the bags for drills, set up cones for drills, get the rooms ready for meetings, and a lot more. In my opinion, they deserve some recognition for taking on even more work due to the coaching change.
Below is a list of the coaches who are coaching a position in the bowl game and a little bit about them. While it will be great to see these young coaches step up, it remains to be seen who will cover their normal roles. Between things like signaling in plays and handling updates for coaches, there will be work left to sort out.
Josh Stepp - Tight Ends/Offensive Coordinator
Stepp is in his first year at Louisville as the tight ends coach. Though he is a young coach, Stepp’s experience is pretty vast. He was a head coach at the high school level before moving into the college ranks.
Before joining Louisville, Stepp had taken over as the offensive coordinator at Georgia State. While he didn’t get the chance to call a play before leaving for Louisville, he should be fine covering the role for a game.
Seth Price - Offensive Line
Price has been with Louisville for the last few years and he has worked with the offensive line through a few coaching changes. Price is the most unlikely offensive line coach from a physical standpoint but he has a wealth of experience in this system and with this group of players.
Curtis Fitch - Quarterbacks
The quarterbacks will be coached by another long-time staffer in Curtis Fitch. Fitch is a former App State scout team quarterback and he has been working with the quarterbacks at Louisville for multiple years.
Vijay Stingley - Wide Receivers
UofL has had two impressive wide receiver QCs in the Satterfield era with Tony Washington now coaching the receivers at West Virginia. Stingley took over for him and I think he could be on a similar path to being a position coach soon. Stingley has some ties in texas that helped in recruiting this past summer and I think it’s at least a possibility that he could stick around at UofL.
Larry Dace - Running Backs
One of the few QC coaches with experience as a position coach is Larry Dace. Dace is in his first year with Louisville after being a grad assistant at Tulane where he played as a receiver. Before his stint there, however, he was the wide receiver coach at Louisiana College.
Zeb Speir - Tight Ends
Another former App State player on staff who has been around for a while is Zeb Speir. He has worked with the tight ends since joining the staff in 2019. Speir is the son of Mark Speir who joined UofL this year as the Chief of Staff after being the head coach at Western Carolina. Speir was my initial guess as the coach to call plays in the bowl game but that was mostly due to being so familiar with the offense as a former quarterback at App State.
Mark Ivey - Defensive Line/ Defensive Coordinator
Scott Satterfield’s former App State teammate has stuck around to see this season through and he will lead the defense in the bowl game. Ivey led the App State team in their bowl game after Satterfield took the Louisville job, so this will not be completely foreign to him.
After his defensive line showed some outstanding improvement this year, there has been a bit of a push from some fans to try to retain him. I’ll be the first to line up and eat some crow as I have been very critical of the performance of his group before this season. But I think more than anything, sticking around to finish this season says a lot about what type of coach he is. That’s not a knock on the guys that moved on to Cincinnati, but just genuine credit to Mark Ivey.
Greg Gasparato - Outside Linebackers
After spending a year coaching UofL’s safeties, Greg Gasparato slid down to coach outside linebackers this season. The superb play of Yasir Abdullah obviously stood out but Kam Wilson and Popeye Williams also showed some nice flashes in their limited time.
Gasparato has worked in this defense for years now, so he should be able to help maintain the process of game planning.
Jeff Popovich - Safeties
Experience is always a plus and Jeff Popovich has plenty of it. Popovich joined the staff this year after coaching the cornerbacks at Georgia Tech. He has also coached at UTSA, Bosie State, and FIU.
Fun fact: Popovich appeared on the first season of “The Bachelorette”.
Jake Brandon - Outside Linebackers
The only QC coach on the staff that has actually served as a position coach at Lousiville is Jake Brandon. During Cort Dennison’s suspension last season, Brandon stepped into the role of outside linebackers coach. With Gasparato sticking around for the game, I would be interested to know if Brandon could coach from the booth.
John Law - Linebackers
Law joined the staff this year after working as a graduate assistant at App State. Law was a very good player at App State, picking up all-conference honors as a linebacker.
Standford Samuels - Cornerbacks
Former Florida State star Stanford Samuels will leave the recruiting room to coach the cornerbacks for the bowl game. Samuels joined the staff this year as a recruiting assistant and bolstered UofL’s recruiting in Florida. Before joining the staff he coached cornerbacks at Florida Atlantic.
Caleb Fuller - Defensive Line
Fuller is another former App State player who joined the staff as a graduate assistant. Fuller played for Mark Ivey at App and has been helping him improve the defensive line over the last two years. Fuller could also be one of the coaches in the box as he and Ivey cover the same position.
Grant Gourley - Defensive Backs
Grant Gourley will coach defensive backs after working as a graduate assistant with the group for the last two seasons. Gourley started at UofL as a recruiting intern while he was a student. His experience will be helpful with Popovich and Samuels working in other areas this season.
Tim Conner - Special Teams
Conner joined Popovich in his move to Louisville from Georgia Tech this summer. They will both work with special teams for the bowl game. Conner has experience as a special teams analyst under Geoff Collins at both Georgia Tech and Temple.