What Head Coach Scott Satterfield & Louisville Players Said After 30-0 Win vs. Syracuse

MatthewMcGavic

(Photo of Scott Satterfield: Atlantic Coast Conference Pool)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisville out-gained Syracuse 413-125, resulting in a 30-0 shutout over the Orange to secure their second conference win of the 2020 season (3-6, 2-6 ACC).

Here's what Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield, linebacker Rodjay Burns, quarterback Malik Cunningham, defensive lineman Jared Goldwire and running back Maurice Burkley had to say following the loss:

Louisville Head Coach Scott Satterfield:

Opening Statement:

“First of all it was very exciting to get a win. We have been through so much within the last couple of weeks and to come out here and play like we did particularly defensively, what an awesome performance by our defensive guys. Our defensive staff did a tremendous job this week. Defensively, we didn't know how we were going to come out and play tonight but based off what they did this week I thought they were going to play well. To come out and shut a team out, I think it was our first shut out to a Power Five team since ’04, it was just a tremendous job by those guys. Credit turnovers, great on third downs and I think their first third down they got was the very last one in the fourth quarter. I can’t say enough good things about the guys. Offensively, solid performance, obviously the turnovers were not good tonight but we were able to move the football. We moved it up and down the field. We only punted it there a few times. But James Turner was great at field goals tonight, he’s been solid all year. The kickoff team created two turnovers and two fumbles they were able to get on. They were flying down the field. Dorian Jones and Jordan Watkins, those guys were flying down causing turnovers and we were able to get those balls back and that’s a big part of the game. Overall, great performance by our whole team and our coaches. With so much adversity we’ve had to go through I am really proud of all these guys.”

(Talking about defense and what they did this past week in order to get them ready for tonight’s game)

That’s the first thing, we had all of our guys back. For a full week on the defensive side of the ball we haven’t had that in a few weeks and it was great to get them all back out there. There were a couple of things but number one, our staff did a great job of coming up with a really good plan of what they needed to do to stop Syracuse. We made practice fun. There was a lot of competitions that we were doing throughout the week on defense trying to create turnovers, trying to get tackles for loss and trying to get sacks. We had certain quotas we had to meet with that. If they met them, the coaches had to do up-downs and pushups right then on the spot during practice. The kids were fired up, it was a lot of good fun, a lot of good energy and that’s what they had tonight. They came out tonight and played with a lot of great energy and that’s the way this game is meant to be played and should be played.”

(Talking about playing a lot of the young guys and his thoughts on their game)

“Particularly, when you get down toward the end of a season you have to get these guys in. We mentioned it earlier that we’ve had so many guys out throughout the last few games so they have been able to play a little bit and then you get into a game and you want to play them a little more. But there were some big plays tonight. Jordan Watkins made some great third down catches tonight and stripped a fumble on kickoff team. He’s a really good football player and I love the way he plays. Jalen Mitchell scored a touchdown tonight, his first tonight and had some great catches. There were a lot of firsts I thought from a lot of guys. We got to play all three quarterbacks they threw the football and completed some balls. Defensively we got to play a lot of guys also on that side of the ball. So the more you can play the better your team becomes and inspires them throughout the week in practice to put that kind of effort in. It’s fun to watch them go out there beat them and make plays. Marshon Ford didn't play tonight so the tight ends had to pick up the slack from them so you got to see a couple more guys get out there making plays and catching the football.”

(About the decision to keep Malik in the game and let him fight through his turnovers)

“He makes a lot of plays, there’s no denying some of the things he is able to do. The touchdown pass to Tutu Atwell in the corner was a great throw and the third down scramble to get a first down. I think he had a couple of those tonight, a few draws. He does a lot of good things, we obviously have to clean up some of the bad things. We are continuing to work through that and he knows that, that’s something we talk about every week to get that cleaned up. But he does make a lot of plays with his legs and his arm. We are going to continue to work on that and work in progress.“

(About playing the young guys, if it bodes well for the future)

“You want to have full power when you go into play your games but you also have to develop some young players. As you move forward throughout your program, the more guys that you can play and you feel good about playing then it’s just going to help your team and it also helps practice throughout the week. These guys feel comfortable at what they are going to do once they get into the football game. I think we have some good young football players. I think they are going to continue to get better and better as they continue throughout the rest of this season. It also propels them as you go into the off season to be that much more hungry to go work in the weight room, to work indoor during the winter time and to do all the things that are going to make them better players.”

(How much do you think the team needed a night like tonight, given the fact everything you guys have kind of gone through in these last two to three weeks?)

“I can't think of anything better than what they got tonight. To come out and play the way they did and to get a big win. We've battled in so many aspects, not just on the field. We've battled off the field too with a lot of different things that a lot of people don't even know about. It's very rewarding for our guys to go out and get this kind of win. To get a shutout and to win 30-0 is incredible. They're hard to come by. We know winning is tough in college football, no matter who you are and no matter how talented you are. It's tough, and you’ve got to battle to get these wins. We needed it the worst way.”

(On Malik Cunningham turning the ball over more this year compared to last and talk about the other quarterbacks who saw snaps tonight)

“I think some of it comes down to decision making. I think some of it has been on fourth downs we're trying to fit the ball in tight spots. Tonight, right there at the end, right before the drive and we don't have any timeouts. We're trying to take a shot down the sideline and the safety comes over and makes a good play. So sometimes the decision to try to fit the ball in there. Obviously, you don't like it. We tried to throw a post to Tutu (Atwell) tonight and he got pressured. He got hit right as he's throwing the ball so the ball was a little bit behind. I thought it was a great play by the corner. Had we had better protection, I think he's going to put it out there and Tutu was probably going to score. So, it's not all Cunningham (Malik Cunningham). I think, if you're just watching the game you may say the quarterback is turning the football over, that's really not the case. Some of them are him and solely him, but there are some that you go back and look at and their other players. His protection, or it's a drop or it's a tipped ball or something like that. So it takes a whole team sometimes when those things happen, but we're going to continue to work on it and clean him up. On the other quarterbacks, we feel good about them. I mean we could play them. They're not much off, as if you hadn't put them in a game. I think those guys that came in did a really nice job tonight.”

(You've talked about how big it was to get this win. What was the locker room like I mean it had to be a lot of fun and just kind of maybe some frustration leaving some of the guys?)

“A lot of fun and a lot of frustration leaving… It was awesome. It's awesome to see them dancing, celebrating, and having fun as it should be when you win like that. To go out and do that. So they should celebrate and they should be rewarded with that celebration in the locker room. Hopefully it propels us to come back out and be ready to go for next week.”

(Thoughts on Marvin Dallas - a guy who just had thumb surgery a couple weeks ago. Gets a big fumble recovery with basically one hand, just kind of your thoughts and what he went through and getting him back out on the field.)

“No question, it was awesome to see him out there. He was really coming on big time on our special teams, particularly on the kickoff team which is flying down the field. He gets hurt at the Florida State game and it's a pretty gruesome injury on his thumb. It's an exposed wound on his thumb and some things were messed up and he had to have surgery. So, he has the surgery and he comes back and it's all casted up. He wanted to play, but he was not able to play. He finally felt really good this week and was able to put him out there. Man, did he make some big plays. It was great to see. And on that note, I do want to mention one thing about Tutu Atwell. Here's a guy who's missed the last few weeks and in a week. Really in the last two weeks, you guys have seen so many guys opt out and decide they are going to the NFL. All these things that basically guys are saying hey I'm done playing with my teammates and I'm moving on. Here's a guy who couldn't wait to get back on the field. Who all of last week, this week, was saying ‘Coach I'm ready.’ Physically he wasn't but mentally he could not wait to get out there and then tonight was able to play a little bit. We didn't play him much. We held him out, didn't want him to get touched really, for that reason. But he wanted to go out there and play, and he goes and gets a touchdown. So, I think what he did tonight speaks volumes about our program and what we want to be. The kind of players like that. He's a super-talented player and a great human being. He has a great family that helped lead him in the right direction. I really wanted to say that before we get off this thing tonight. He's exactly what we want in this program.”

LB Rodjay Burns:

(This is the first shut-out against a Power Five team since '04. What was this win like? It seemed like a combination of everything you guys have done the last few weeks.)

"I'd say this win is just more or less coming together as a team. You know, it's one thing we always we always preach: 'we always play as one.' Sometimes the offense shows up, sometimes the defense shows up and we haven't put it all together. So I believe tonight we put it all together as one and we were able to come out victorious."

(Coach Satterfield mentioned this might have been your best week of practice for the defense as a whole. What led to that, and was that kind of the reason why we saw so many big hits?)

"I will say practice helped me prepare. I just try to be the leader and give it my all and just run around and show them boys that if we practice hard, we're able to do great things as one. When opportunity presented itself, I was able to make the play. Everybody was doing their job. It's one thing we preached before the game was to trust in yourself to make that play and trust your teammate to do his job. So I believe as a defense that's what we did. We just believed in each other and trusted one another and those plays they would present themselves."

(Syracuse only ran seven plays on your end of the field. They didn't get inside your 45 yard line until the last series. At what point were you guys were aware that you were just dominating them physically)

"I don't think we were really aware of it. The whole thing was not getting comfortable. We knew we were winning, so we kept preaching on the sideline: 'the score is 0-0,' in order to keep the focus up, you know, we're still in a dogfight. So I don't think many players were focused on 'oh, we're winning,' or 'we're beating them' or 'we're abusing them and keeping them down here.' It was just keeping them down the whole game, score was 0-0, we're in a dogfight all game and just keeping that mentality and that focus in order to able to shut them out like that."


(When you commit turnovers, what kind of pressure does that put on you all as a defense? How do you feel like you all had to respond to that and come up with the plays you made?)

"You know, adversity will strike. So I feel like as a defense we just handled it well. We always say, if a turnover happened, we always say 'good.' That's something we use as a defense. Play the next play. Go get it back for the offense. So, I feel like that's what we did tonight. We just had juice, enthusiuasm, ran around, and was able to make those plays."

(In the last couple of weeks, obviously all the COVID has impacted the defense. You've seen a lot of young guys come in and make plays and get a lot of playing time. How much improvement have you seen out of those guys over the course of the last three weeks to a month?)

"I feel like it gives the young guys more confidence. Being able to go out there and play and make plays, they know they'd be able to play comfortably. Going out there, from them not playing in the beginning of the season to them playing now, I just think it's a confidence booster and they're able to play comfortably now. You know, we can always depend on them now, as one, to put them in a game. So you see a lot of young players now getting more playing time, so I just feel like is this a confidence booster."

(Do you think that confidence showed up, kind of, today?)

"Yeah, believe it did."

QB Malik Cunningham:

(On his thoughts on the offense including turnovers and the interceptions)

"I just want to give credit to the O-line and the running back and those guys. Jalen Mitchell was stepping up a lot and Hassan Hall, it was great having him back. I just want to give thanks to those guys for running the ball well, and for the guys up front blocking. On the turnovers, like I say every week, just trying to make a play. Some of those things I just have to eat and throw away, and just have to protect the football from here on out." 

(How does this win feel after a lot of struggles. What was it like there on the sidelines after the game?)

"It's a great feeling. The guys were enthusiastic, and it was good Friday night football in our own stadium. We were very pumped up for this one. It just feels good to win again. We put in so much work, and when a win happens, it's like a relief. We can't dwell on it. We have an off day tomorrow, and then it's back to work on Sunday."

(About his good game passing once he settled in with the ground game. How much did that help, and how important was that, considering with Javian [Hawkins] gone and somebody needing to step up?)

The run game from those guys was very big. It starts up front, and those guys took it on their shoulders and told the running backs to run behind them, and that's what they did. They ran the ball well, [Jalen] Mitchell and all those guys like (Maurice) Burkley and (Hassan) Hall. That's good to see, those guys running the ball and getting a chance to step up."

(On getting the ball to a lot of people today,, and a lot of guys who hadn't gotten experience before tonight. How important was that for you all to get them some experience, and do you think that bodes well for the future as well?)

"It definitely does bode well for the future. Those guys have been putting in work. A lot of those guys are freshmen, and some of the guys haven't got a chance to show what they can do. It was good to see those guys make plays. [] came in with me, and it was good to see him catching the ball and running around and doing something he loves to do and can do. It was good to see a lot of those young guys on both sides of the ball, defense as well, and seeing those guys make plays. Those guys make plays in practice and they work hard in the weight room." 

(Rodjay [Burns] was talking about how a lot of young guys have gained confidence over the last three weeks to a month when they've had to play more because of the COVID stuff. Did you see that, and did you see that come out tonight?)

"Yeah. Like I said, those young guys have been waiting on their chance to show what they can do for the future coming up here, and they did a good job with that. They've been putting in lots of work, I promise. Even some of the scout team guys got a chance to show what they can do, and they are pretty good. It's a pretty good bunch of young guys."

DL Jared Goldwire:

(Satterfield said that defense as a unit probably had its best week of practice this week. What led to that? What was the reason for the enthusiasm in practice this week?)

"We told ourselves that we have three games left and we were going to give our all, but we all know it starts with practice. We kept the intensity up. Every single practice play was like game play for us, and we just kept it on like that throughout the week."

(This is the first time in about a month you guys have had everyone on the defensive side of the ball. What was that like, and do you feel like that led to some of the high-energy plays and hits you saw tonight?)

"It was great having my guys back out there with me. It was a great feeling having the whole squad together. You could definitely see it during the game, and definitely during practice. It was a great feeling having my guys back with me."

(Shutouts don't happen too often, how motivated are you guys to keep that blank scoreboard on there?)

"As it was winding down, even during the fourth quarter, we were just telling the young guys when they were getting in there that this is something big. Nobody really gets goose eggs anymore. This is a special moment, and you remember these always throughout your whole career. We kept that motivation going, and that's what led to the late push."

(How much in the last month, when some of these young guys have been forced to get more experience, have you seen their growth and their confidence grow in the last month?

"Tremendously. A lot of the younger D-lineman had to step up. Their study habits and their work ethic just increased exponentially. It was a great thing to see this past month, just seeing how they grew and matured while the older dudes were out."

(As one of the older guys who was actually still there, what did you tell them or what did you say to those guys to keep them focused, even when they had to be thrown in on a short notice?

"I just told them, and this has been a crazy year - everyone knows that - but college is short. I told them that these opportunities are once in a lifetime, so you boys go out there and swag out and ball out and do what you need to do. And that's what they did, and I'm proud of those boys for holding in there."

RB Maurice Burkley:

(You've been through a lot in your time here in Louisville as a former walk-on and working everyday. What has it been like to get more snaps and have your moment to shine on the field?)

"It means everything. Me, personally, I would like to say I work very hard. To see the hard work pay off and get more snaps and to be able to get more opportunities to prove myself to the staff and to myself, means a lot, honestly, especially from being a walk-on to scholarship to now playing more snaps."

(There was one drive there where you were basically the workhorse. I think it was 45 or 48 yards of your total came on that one series. What was that like, just getting the ball one after another after another and coming up with big runs there?)

"With that momentum, it was fun. I just had to realize to stay the course and I was using that momentum to carry me throughout those other carries. I wanted to end up with a score, and we did later on in that drive with Tutu [Atwell]. That was the main focus, just getting the ball in the end zone."

(You touched on it a little bit there, but as you are going through your career and, especially last year, you were behind Javian [Hawkins], you were behind Hassan [Hall]. What do you tell yourself to keep yourself focused and working hard on a day-to-day basis like that?)

"What I always tell myself is that life is a marathon. The late, great Nipsey Hussle said that. It just means to me that you can't quit. Life is a marathon. The one that goes the longest is the one who is going to survive the most. That's what I keep telling myself every day."

( has obviously come on strong over the last few weeks. What have you seen from him in practice, and how bright of a future do you think he has being such a young guy?)

"Jalen is a very hard worker. He always does the little things correctly and always does extra work more than anybody. For practice, like I said, he's a very hard worker and he pushes himself to the limit. I feel like his future is going to be very bright here in Louisville, for sure."

(The defense obviously gets motivated by the goose egg up, as called it. As an offensive guy, when you see the score up there, what's it like when you're watching a potential shutout happening? Do you talk to the defense, or do you stay away from them? What's it like as an offensive guy watching that happen?)

"We definitely motivate the defense to keep them going. We always want zero points in a game. That's phenomenal. We try to encourage them, and we're going to try to get some points on the board so we can look even better. We can keep encouraging them to have zero points, and they encourage us to basically get more points."

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