What Scott Satterfield, Louisville Players Said After 31-23 Win at FSU

Read what the head coach of the Cardinals, defensive end YaYa Diaby, running back Maurice Burkley and quarterback Malik Cunningham said after their win over the Seminoles:
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Louisville held off a second half rally from Florida State, escaping Doak Campbell Stadium with a 31-23 win in their first game in ACC play.

Here's what head coach Scott Satterfield, defensive end YaYa Diaby, running back Maurice Burkley and quarterback Malik Cunningham had to say following the win:

Head Coach Scott Satterfield

(Opening Statement)

First of all, just really proud of our team. We knew we were gonna get Florida State's best shot coming in here, and their backs were kind of bent against the wall. To be able to come in here, and really right from the start, we played outstanding. We got the ball, and the fourth play, we hit the long touchdown pass to Tyler Harrell. It opened things up for us. Defense was playing good, offense just kept doing it in the first half thing. I think we scored maybe four or five possessions there in the first half to get a good lead. Then in the second half, it kind of flipped. We didn't do very good on offense, the defense started playing really good, and then our punting game - Mark Vassett in particular, I thought he played outstanding tonight. Some great punts to back them up inside the 10 yard line. I told the guys in locker room, it was a team effort, and that's what we had tonight. We didn't play pretty in the second half, but we found a way to win, and that's what I'm proud of our team about.

(On if the play in the second half was more so due to FSU, or themselves)

I think, offensively, it was a lot of it was us. Florida State did bring a few more pressures in the second half. We were ready for them, I just think we didn't execute. It was one player here, one player there, and we got to be all 11 playing as one. When you get a good win, you can go back and you can fix those, work on those, and you continue to grow as a football team. That's what we will do offensively. Defensively, we gave up the one long one, but I thought other than that, they played pretty solid in the second half. We don't want to give up those big plays, make the team trying to drive the football, and they did. They missed the field goal, which was big. You come on the road, in ACC play, you get your first win, I think that was huge for our team. It's back-to-back good weeks of good wins there, really three weeks now.

(On what the offense needs to do to become more consistent)

Well, we lost Braden (Smith). When he went out, I think that really kind of jarred us up a little bit in the wide receiver room. He's such a great catalyst for our offense, because you can do so many things. He's in the slot, he also can play outside, he's our punt returner, so that was a big loss. Now, you kind of shuffle around a little bit in some of those plays. We had some plays there. Malik (Cunningham) missed a couple throws, but we also missed a couple of blocks. We had the holding penalty on the 70-yard touchdown run. It was a lot of factors - let's just say it that way - that kind of caused some things not to go well in the second half.

(On why they weren't able to run the ball as well in the second half)

We just didn't get any flow. There were a lot of three-and-outs, or four or five plays, then you're off the field. We want to get in that flow, and now you can go mix it up with the pass, with a run. We just never got in that good rhythm in the second half, for many reasons. It was a lot of the same plays we had in the first half. We were executing, and ultimately, that's what it comes down to. Florida State brought some pressures, and there was a couple of those that really kind of stymied us. We got sacked on the one drive there, but I thought we protected well tonight. They had 12 sacks coming into this games, which is good. They got some guys that can pass rush. I thought we protected well tonight, and that was the only sack. We just made enough plays in the first half to win the game, that's the bottom line. Come out of here, and let's just get better.

(On how the regrouped defensively after the quick scores by FSU before and after halftime)

Poor tackling on the big play. I think we've had two or three missed tackles on that big play, and that's really what it was. After that, they settled in. Disappointed in the drive before half, where they went down pretty quickly and scored on that one, as well. Overall, they played well, we just don't want to give up the big plays. With (Mark) Vassett pinning them back deep, they had to take long fields and long drives, and that's hard on offense. I think overall they played well, obviously have to go back and watch the film, but we certainly can get better. We're gonna have to as we move forward. We know we're gonna play a solid team, that's a great team, next week in Wake Forest. They're good and all three phases,

(On WR Braden Smith's injury status)

It looks like it's pretty bad injury, but once we get back and probably get an MRI, we'll figure out what it is. I saw him in a brace, disappointing to see, man. He's a great kid, a great competitor. We'll know more next week, probably by the time we do our press conference (on Monday).

(On the gap in offensive execution between halves)

I go back to the Central Florida game, when we executed, man, we looked awesome. First half, we executed, and we looked awesome. After the first half, you thought we were gonna score 50. It's just being consistent, I think more than anything. Being focused, and knowing exactly what you're doing, and going out and playing hard. Really, we're not that far off. Even in the second half, three or four drives, I can remember plays right now, where you get this play, and now you got momentum. You're gonna keep going. It's a very fine line from being really, really good, or just not looking good at all.

When we go back and look at these third downs, I guarantee you there's one play here, or this ball was not where it needed to be, or this one block. One time, we needed to run the corner off, and Malik comes outside, and the corner's right there. If we just run them off, they're in man coverage, then he's gonna go get a first down, and maybe a lot of yards. It's just little things like that, and we have to make those plays if we want to win these big games.

(On how he summarizes the first third of the season, and where they go from here)

I'll take 3-1, and I think Ole Miss is a pretty good football team. You look around college football, there's a lot of parity. There's teams that are FCS that are beating Power Fives, there's Group of Five teams that are beating Power Fives. It's a lot of parity in college football, and I think a lot of the reason for that is transfers and super seniors. I think there's a lot to be said for all those things, we're not giving a lot of credit for that. When you show up, and you have a good plan, you got a chance to beat anybody. If you don't show up, and you do some stuff like we did offensively in the second half, you may not beat anybody. It is a fine line for that. In this league, this year, then you got a chance. If you show up and play, you got a chance to win against everybody. It's encouraging to our guys. One third done with the season, and we're 3-1. We got a lot to build off of, let's continue to get better.

Defensive End YaYa Diaby

(On his reaction to seeing Kei'Trel Clark's game-sealing interception)

That dude there is clutch. Ain't gonna lie to you, Tre is clutch. I knew we had it all along, we did had belief to finish the game, and Tre did what he does best, which is capitalize.

(On what he was thinking defensively in the second half)

We're still in it, we just got to pick it up. Just learn from our mistakes, and come back out and do what we do.

(On the pressure on the last drive)

It was big. I just knew we had to get pressure, we had to. We had to get him by any means necessary. I'm really proud of what we did today as a line, and we're just gonna keep getting better.

(On how they responded after the quick scores by FSU before and after halftime)

We all as a defense just said, "it's okay, we got this". We just got to suck it up. We gave up a big play, but we just came back and just kept kept fighting.

(On Ashton Gillotte)

That dude is versatile, man. We both just get each other better every day. We just talk to each other, and tell each other what needs to be done. Tonight, we showcased our talent in the ACC.

(On his injury status)

Just got a little banged up, but I was good.

(On holding on to win on the road)

This is big, man. Our first ACC play, and I felt like we came together as a team, and played very well. But we still got some work to do.

(On his thoughts on the linebacker group without Monty Montgomery)

I feel like they did good. We still had a freshman back there, and he's still get into the flow thing, but they still played pretty well. CJ (Avery) had them playing well.

(On what they need to improve on)

Just the little things, like being in the right gap, and giving up the big runs. We can't do that, and we got to tackle better.

Running Back Maurice Burkley

(On the difference between halves offensively)

One big difference was the offense was clicking on all cylinders. We were able to run the ball, we were having way more explosive plays, and in the second half we didn't really have too many explosive plays. But, we were able to still move the ball, get downfield, and make adjustments

In the second half, we were making mistakes that really set ourselves back. it was nothing that they were doing, it was just us, in terms of whether we missed a block or things of that nature - or the penalties that were set us back, as well.

(On if the play calling changed in the second half)

The play calling, we really kept the same plan. We really weren't executing as much, or when we did execute, them there was a penalty or some type of setback. It was just on us, in terms of what we were doing.

(On what the offense needs to do to make sure the offense executes all game)

I would say take out the mental mistakes that we have on offense in the second half, and then being able to keep those explosive plays on the board. Explosive plays win games, and we just got to keep the ball rolling in terms of keeping the momentum, and not letting our own mistakes set us back.

(On of it's frustrating to see the offense sputter in the second half after performing so well in the first half)

I wouldn't say frustrating, I would say just a learning experience, and an area where we can get better at, and an opportunity to get better. We'll look at our mistakes on tape, see where we went wrong, see where we went right, and be able to make adjustments for the next game against Wake.

(On having the game he had after a late season injury last year)

It's a blessing. Me myself personally, I just always kept telling myself when opportunity comes, I have to make the most of it. Ppportunity came, I was able to make the most of it. I just got to keep improving, making my mistakes go away, and being able to adjust on the fly. Like I said, it's a blessing man. Coming back from a hip injury, it wasn't easy, but the Lord blessed me to be able to bring me back.

(On what they've learned through the first four games)

We learned that we're not going to quit, whether it be against Ole Miss, or any of the teams we played against. We haven't quit yet, and that's what I love about this team. We keep fighting until the last second and the last down.

Quarterback Malik Cunningham

(On his reaction to seeing Kei'Trel Clark's game-sealing interception)

The play before, they had ran on out route on him, and he had called it. I told him come right back to it. Next play, he picked it off. Just me believing in him, believing in the defense, I know he's gonna make the play. That's a side you shouldn't throw to.

(On if the Harrell touchdown play was part of the script)

It was on script, that was the third play that we called. We executed it all week in practice, we knew there were gonna cut the safety. Tyler is fastest guy in the stadium, and he showed it today.

(On the difference between halves offensively)

They definitely made adjustments, because if not, we would have had 60. I think we relaxed a little bit as offense. We weren't executing up front, me as well, and skill players laid back a little bit and thought the game was over. But that's what coach talks about all the time, we got to finish the game. We started off fast, probably the best start that we've had since those guys have been here. We scored every drive, but we just got to finish better in order to make the next step as an elite offense.

(On converting a lot of early third downs)

They were in the defense that they showed on film. We could complete out routes against them, they were playing a lot of two man, cover three, and so we were getting to those spots. Coach called a good game, they call a good whole game, we just got to execute more.

(On what it takes to execute for four quarters)

Stay dialed in, focused, and just believing in your technique and next play mentality. I thought a lot of players left some plays out there. Like I said, Florida State, give your hats off to those guys. They did a great job of making adjustments in the second half. If they were playing the defense they were in the first half, it could have been over with a couple hours ago. Those guys do a good job of coaching, we just got to do better.

(On frustrating it is to have all the short drives in the first half)

It's not really frustrating, they're football player just like we are. They make mistakes - like the first half, they made a ton of mistakes, and we didn't. In the second half, they came out, and didn't make any mistakes. We made a couple mistakes that cost us.

(On the wide receiver room making a lot of plays)

I challenge those guys each and every day. But I wouldn't be able to get the ball to those guys without the guys up front. Hats off to those guys, they battled their butts off. Took a couple plays off, but the fatigue settled in, and overall, they did a great job today protecting me.

Like I said, I challenge those guys each and every week, every day at practice. Even the scout team guys, they go hard If they go hard as a scout team, you know they're gonna go hard in the game. Those guys made a lot of plays for me today.

(On what they've learned through the first four games)

This team is never gonna stop fighting, and that's what I like about this team. There's no pointing fingers, we're in this thing together, down to the last second. There's so much fight in this team. I love these guys, I love our coaches. They put on us every day, they preach finishing, and that's what we did tonight.

(On if he thinks that play calling contributed to them becoming lackadaisical)

It wasn't play calling, it was definitely the players. When Braden got hurt, a lot of guys were like, "dang man, that's how our guy". But we can't always dwell on that, we got to be there for him. We want us to do the best that we can for him, and that's what we're gonna do from here on out.

(Photo of Scott Satterfield: Melina Myers - USA TODAY Sports)

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