The University of Louisville football team finished its up-and-down 2020 season on a high note, and it’s looking to carry that momentum into the offseason as spring practice begins.
Head coach Scott Satterfield spoke with the media Monday after the first practice of the spring semester to discuss his expectations for the offseason ahead as well as the moves he and his team have made since the Cardinals’ 45-21 win against Wake Forest on Dec. 12.
“It’s great to be back out on the field,” Satterfield said in his opening statement. “Since our game against Wake Forest, we have several newcomers out. Thirteen scholarship players that we brought in mid-term that are really good people No. 1, but No. 2 are going to be really good players for us, too. That’s evident in practice.”
Satterfield stayed busy in the less-than-two months between the season’s end and the first practice of the spring. In addition to getting 13 kids enrolled early, he made several significant changes to his staff, including the addition of three new position coaches and the promotion of defensive coordinator Bryan Brown to associate head coach.
The most recent of those hires was Jack Bicknell, Jr., a 33-year coaching veteran who will take over the Cardinals’ offensive line. He joined De’Rail Sims (running backs) and Pete Thomas (quarterbacks) as new offensive coaches joining Louisville for its 2021 season.
That trio will help bolster an offensive coaching staff without a defined offensive coordinator after Dwayne Ledford took a job coaching the offensive line at the Atlanta Falcons. Satterfield himself will call plays from the sideline and serve as the top offensive guru.
“The one thing I’ve always said is that we always want to continue to build and elevate coaches,” Satterfield said. “I think that’s healthy for any kind of program. We had three guys who left for coordinator positions and one that left for an NFL position. All these guys got promotions and got elevated into something they wanted to do.
“The thing I’m looking for when I’m hiring coaches is fit: good people. I want to bring into this building someone who is going to bring the same kind of integrity we have in the building, the same kind of heart and desire to want to improve and get better.”
With coaching hires out of the way and a complete staff put together, Satterfield and the Cardinals can now use the spring to look forward to the 2021 season.
He said the primary focus of spring camp will be developing those 13 new faces and catching them up to the system so they can have a maximal impact by the time the season starts.
“We’re going to throw them into the fire,” Satterfield said. “They’re going to make some mistakes. We all know that. We’re really just trying to get them coached up. I really want them to get as many reps as they can get.”
More broadly, Satterfield pointed to turnover ratio as a key point of emphasis during this offseason.
The Cardinals were -12 in the turnover margin last year, turning the ball over 24 times and forcing opponents into just 12 turnovers all season. That’s something Satterfield said will need to change if the Cardinals want to have more success in 2021.
Story and Photo Courtesy of GoCards