Transcript & Video: Dwayne Ledford, Dez Fitzpatrick Talk Notre Dame & Florida State

MatthewMcGavic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville Cardinals (1-4, 0-4 ACC) continue to search for their first conference win of the season, as they find themselves on a four game losing streak most recently extended from a 12-7 loss to the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0, 3-0 ACC) this past Saturday. Next up, Louisville returns home for the first time in over a month to face the Florida State Seminoles (2-3, 1-3 ACC). Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24 at 12:00 p.m.

Prior to their upcoming matchup, offensive coordinator Dwayne Ledford & wide receiver Dez Fizpatrick took time to meet with the media. He discussed the previous game against the Fighting Irish, previewed the upcoming game against the Seminoles, and more.

Below is the transcript from their press conference as well as the videos:

Offensive Coordinator Dwayne Ledford

(On what makes transfers so ready to play for Louisville)

I think that when you take a transfer in, it's got to be a good fit. It's got to be a need. I think that Cam (DeGeorge), when when we were recruiting Cam, just the type of person he is - he's very team first. He's the most unselfish person I've ever been around. I just knew that he would fit in. The big thing is is fit and that's the thing about this year with with the pandemic and everything that is going on. Us not being able to do a lot of team type things, that's one thing that's been really good about Cam and having him. The relationships and stuff like that - he's just a guy that does a great job with - he's going to take a step back, do whatever he can for the team. I think he's a perfect example of being a team player.

(On Cam's ability to give younger players more experience in practice)

I think it's huge. Getting a guy with his experience and with his versatility - we didn't know he was going to be this versatile force when we brought him in, being able to play three positions. But having that, it creates a lot of - like those interior guys, you're just, you're better rested. You're well rested throughout the season and also during the course of a game. I've talked to Caleb (Chandler) and Robbie (Bell) about that, with the rotation that they have on, I think both of them, they appreciate it. They can see the difference towards the end of games. It's a huge value it's it's really big. 

(On possibly getting Javian Hawkins more involved in the passing game)

Yeah, I think so. I think Hawkins has a really good, not good, a great skill set. He can catch the ball extremely well, and more ways that we can find to get him the ball, I think he had five catches his last game. But you saw what he could do catching the football. To me, he's able to show that he's complete back. I definitely think that you'll be able to see that.

(On if opponent plays a factor on deciding where to put Cam DeGeorge on the line)

It definitely can. Also, it creates competition within the room. When you have good depth - that's the thing that we have depth at certain positions. That's something that is really good because whoever's practicing the best that week, and I've told that to all the guys, the five who are practicing the best and preparing the best throughout the week, those are the five that'll show up on game day. Throughout the week, it could be a different rotation come Saturday, but I'm gonna play the five guys that I thought that practiced the best throughout the week with it. That's why you saw Cam at tackle the one game, and saw him at guard this past week.

(On center Cole Bentley and how he's performed)

The center spot's very special. It's very dear to us. It's very dear to me and what we do offensively. That is a position I think it's difficult to rotate guys in at just because of everything that's going in. The quarterback, I mean everything is gun snaps now so it's not like taken underneath, but still there's a timing aspect of it. There's guys up there getting their calls and waiting for those calls, so that is a hard position to rotate. When I look at Cole and look at his play, I continue to see him progressing. I see him just getting better and better with with running things up front. For some of the better centers you see, they're like a quarterback up front. They take charge, they take control and I think that's something that you see Cole getting better and better at. He's getting more and more comfortable, and he's very valuable to us that's for sure.

(On the penalties)

There's some accountability things that we do on Sunday's practice for any type of penalties like that. Any type of penalties mistakes, if we perceive somebody loafing, we do up-down accountabilities for that at the end of practice on Sundays. In the Georgia Tech game, you saw me take Renato (Brown) out right away. We were in a situation in the game at that point where Cam was already in the game, so I couldn't put a tackle in the game at that point. We can't have that. It's something that when Renato knew he was in a wrong as soon as the play was over and then came to the sideline. I could tell he was extremely hurt by that, because he took a lot of responsibility for that and for the outcome of the game because of his penalty after the game. That's something that I think he has learned from, but it's something that, you know, we're not going to have those type of penalties. And we're definitely going to do things to discourage those.

(On first down penalties)

You look at our last series that we had the ball - two penalties. That was the last series we had of the game, and I thought those two penalties really, really hurt us. We had three penalties in the game with seven drives, but those three penalties that we had, I feel like they're drive killers. So that's something that we definitely have to clean up.

(On if they feel like they're more efficient if they get more players touches)

Absolutely. To me it's all about rhythm on offense. For us, it was hard to establish rhythm when you're not out on the field. Both of those drives (before and after halftime), those were drives that we sustained. We were able to get touches, get guys the ball in different places. To me, it's all about the rhythm of the offense. When you have those penalties or you have a three-and-out, you eliminate those. We always try to script the first 10 plays of a game. Well it was the first play of the third quarter - that was when we ran our 10th play of the game. I've never been a part of that as far as taking that long to go through your openers That and that was just because of just those drive killers we're talking about, but just not having the rhythm on offense. But you're exactly right. When you see all those guys getting different touches, you see Hawkins going, you see the offense playing the rhythm, I think that's when you're at your best.

(About Florida State's defense)

We got home from the Notre Dame game and was able to watch them on TV that Saturday night. Saw those guys play with a lot of passion, play with great energy. It's a very, very talented defense. Extremely talented. You look across their defensive line - all those guys are 6-5, 6-6 and above, over 300 pounds. The two guys they got on the inside, they're two big thick strong guys that that can get after the quarterback. Our guys, they've played against these guys for obviously every year - so they know them. They they present, obviously, a huge challenge for us is because of who they are as far as their size, their length and their athleticism. You saw them get after the quarterback extremely well in this last game against (No. 5) North Carolina. We got to have a great game plan. Gotta have a good week of practice and go out on Saturday and execute it.

(On how to keep the player's spirits up during four-game losing streak)

We went through this at Appalachian State, we were 1-5 one year, and then we won six in a row at the end of the season. That kind of turned everything around there for us. When you look at this, the thing that I look for is how do the guys come back on Sunday the day after the game. How did they practice? Is it one of those things at practice where you're having to pull teeth to get guys to give a good effort, getting them to pay attention, to focus. You don't see that with these guys. You see these guys practicing hard. This past Sunday was probably the best Sunday practice we had all season. The attitudes of the players after the game in the locker room, when you see them, you could tell the game obviously hurts. Losing is not fun. You see that, but also you see the guys and you hear it when you're not around but wanting to get back to practice. Dez (Fitzpatrick) yesterday when he talked to the offense, it's about your preparation throughout the week. You can't go into the week and say 'oh we're gonna win this on Saturday'. You go out and you got to be about a process. That's one thing coach Satterfield has always been about. We talk to these kids all the time about him being about that process and that process is that everyday preparation. That's the thing that you see from these guys is they come to work. They came out on Saturday and had a great practice. When you see that you're very encouraged about that.

(On facing a team with rising confidence & momentum)

For us, it's never about that. We try not to focus too much on the opponent part of it, it's more about us and how can we get better throughout that week. It's just a little things. That's the first thing coach Satterfield talked about after the game. If we can do all the things correct, that's going to give us a chance. It's the small things that you might take for granted. To me, that's why we're so happy about this group - the willingness and the attitude that they've come out and to work with. As a coach when you look at it, when you turn on the field from the Carolina game, you saw a very spirited a defensive front & defensive group that really played hard against Carolina and get after the quarterback pretty well. They played with a lot of passion. 

Wide Receiver Dez Fitzpatrick

(On how he keeps players' spirits up)

The one thing that I've tried to do is always just preach positivity. We're not where we want to be as a team, as an offense, just as a collective group - you still gotta have faith in everything that we do. You still got to execute everything that's assigned to us. I just preach positivity, staying in the right mindset because when negativity reaches your mind in a state where we're in right now being 1-4, it just domino effects and it continues to fall down and fall down. One thing we have to do is remain. positive regardless.

(On how much he learned from the 2018 2-10 season)

It's never too late to turn it around. That's one thing that we've learned. I've learned that, like I said, just a moment ago, a lot of those guys and a lot of that team was not too positive. A lot of things were negative going wrong in 2018. Me being on that team, me knowing what negativity can do to a team when it's already spiraled down, I just preach positivity and staying in the game, keeping your nose down and working regardless if it's a win or loss. Regardless the next day, you're gonna have to come in and work just as hard if you win the game or lose the game. I would just preach positivity and preach work ethic regardless, that's what my dad preaches to me and that's what my coaches preach to me

(On what is wrong offensively and if he can pinpoint one specific thing)

Nothing is completely wrong, nothing that I can pinpoint. We just got to execute better. We got to execute at a state where we're used to executing at. It's just small things on both sides of the ball that happens to us, and we just need to learn how to recover from it. We lost a couple guys, we basically bring back our (whole) offense. Looking at last year, this year it's like 'oh what's different'. It's just very, very small steps to being where we were and being how we could be.

(On what getting behind the sticks does to the offense)

It's very hard to work behind the sticks, It becomes more predictable of what the offense is going to do, so the defense is now focusing more on one thing than the other. We just got to continue to move the ball forward, move the ball in a positive mind, and obviously play above the sticks because once you get down and it's third and long or second and long, then it becomes easier for the defense.

(On of this year feels different than 2018)

1,000%. I feel like every loss that we've had, it could have gone either way. There's offensive plays that were just, I mean, 88% perfect, and if it was that 12% that would have did their job then we wouldn't be talking about being 1-4, we would be talking about being 3-1 or another (outcome). But, completely different from the 2018 team. The coaching staff, the atmosphere's still really positive and the biggest thing is it's continuing to be positive. I think that's the that's the biggest thing because obviously once things start to slouch, it's hard to recover from that. But the great teams know how to pick pick things back up from being slouched in downhill spirals, and that's what we have to do

(On if coming back home could give the team extra juice)

Yeah, I think it does. Regardless if we're on the road or not,we still have to do our assignment. We still have to do our job. But could play a little part of it. That's something that I don't really think too much of honestly. I haven't thought about that. I just feel like regardless if we're at home or away, there's a job that has to be done.

(On if FSU's win vs. No. 5 UNC captured their attention)

I'm not gonna say it takes our attention more, just like Coach Ledford said. We're gonna do what we focus on regardless of who we play. Regardless if we play the worst team in the nation or the best team in the nation, we're gonna go through the same thing, we're gonna go through the same procedures, the same practice that we always do. We just got to get perfect at the things that we do, and the rest will take care of itself. One thing that I can say about it is I'm sure that they have some momentum, I'm sure Florida State is kind of excited about it. It's football. We both played top five teams last week and we lost by five and they won by a couple points. That's just how things are. I'm just excited for this matchup. I've always been excited, since my freshman year, of playing Florida State. Hopefully, this year we'll come out with a W.

(On if he developed a relationship with FSU QB Jordan Travis before he transferred out of UofL)

Not like too strong of a relationship, but we always used to talk and I used to always stay in his ear. When he was a freshman and being down sometimes on himself and a coach getting down on him, I just always bring positivity saying 'bro you're gonna be great one day, I already just tell. You're gonna be a great quarterback one day'. If it's here, if it's somewhere else, because I could just tell by the way he throws a ball, and his football IQ, that he was special. So, I always try to tell him that when he was down in the dumps in his days down here, and when he was happy also.

(Photo of Dez Fitzpatrick: Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

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