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Louisville football hits practice field for first time since March; Cardinals still waiting for ACC schedule


By Rocco Gasparro
University of Louisville

The long road back to practice ended on Tuesday when the University of Louisville football team hit the field for the first time since March.

The Cardinals were in the midst of finishing their seventh spring practice when the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world and shut down not only college athletics, but the world’s economy.

“It was a good first day,” UofL head coach Scott Satterfield said. “Our guys were eager to get back on the field and I was excited to see them all back together on Tuesday. I liked how sharp we were and what we got accomplished in just the first day.”

The long road back to practice ended Tuesday when Louisville hit the football field for the first time since March. (UofL photo)

Under cool and cloudy skies, the Cardinals practiced for about two hours with nearly 90 players hitting the field together. The remainder of the players will connect with the entire team on Friday.

“It was not very different,” quarterback Micale Cunningham said. “It was just good to get back out there with the guys. We had great weather today, so we had fun flying around. It was just good to get back out there as a whole.”

With all the questions surrounding whether a season would even be played, the Atlantic Coast Conference came out with a 10-plus-one schedule model, giving the Cardinals a new schedule.

Louisville was expected to begin the season on Sept. 2 against North Carolina State, but now the plan is to open the week of Sept. 7-12. The first-game opponent won’t be known until at least next week when dates and times are released by the ACC.

“Getting a schedule was a big positive for us,” Satterfield said. “Before that there were a lot of question marks, but it was a breath of fresh air and a great positive for our guys. Our guys are eager to play and are hungry. They want to be out there. It will happen again when we find out the order of opponents.”

Cunningham also said the new schedule provided a little juice for the players, who have been fighting uncertainty for the last few months about whether a season would even be played.

“When they came out with the schedule, we were all pumped,” he said. “We now know that we are playing the guys in the ACC, which is good competition week in and week out. It’s going to be a battle every week and we are going to be ready for it.”

The native of Montgomery, Ala., is probably the most excited for the start of camp. Injured last year during the first two weeks of practice, Cunningham got off to a slow start, but was thrust into the lineup after Jawon Pass was injured after the second week.

Cunningham, who was named the Most Valuable Player in the Music City Bowl, finished the year throwing for 2,065 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The redshirt junior set the school record for passing efficiency at 194.45 and would have finished second nationally, but he didn’t have enough passing attempts to meet NCAA standards, falling one short. He topped the nation in passing yards per completion at 18.44 yards and was tops in passing completions of 70 and 80 yards.

Entering his second year, Satterfield has seen a different side of his quarterback as camp began on Tuesday morning.

“It’s confidence. That’s what he has,” Satterfield said of Cunningham. “He has a better command of the offense and what we are trying to do. That’s just mental. He’s had a really good summer continuing the mental side of the game. He has ability. He was one of the best last year. He was second in the country and he’s gotten better and better.”

However, after an 8-5 season and an offense full of weapons, Satterfield expects the offense to take off in 2020.

“Coach mentioned that a little today, last year he was like little baby steps with us, and he mentioned today it’s not like that anymore, we have to think on the run and it’s going to be up-tempo and things like that,” Cunningham said. “Coach Ponce has really been challenging us.”

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