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Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield pleased with first look at Cards in a scrimmage

By Russ Brown
Kentucky Today

On a day mostly devoted to the younger players and newcomers on Louisville’s football team, coach Scott Satterfield pronounced himself “very pleased” with the Cardinals’ progress in their first scrimmage of fall camp after two weeks of lighter workouts.

Some of the veterans sat out the scrimmage due to various bumps and bruises, while even many of the healthy starters saw limited action in the three-hour workout in Cardinal Stadium because the coaching staff wanted to get a good look at inexperienced players who will provide depth this season.

“It was a beautiful day in Louisville and a chance to get on the game field for the first time this fall, which was nice,” Satterfield said. “We tried to simulate game situations as much as you can. We did a lot of different situations moving the football and we got some great work in the kicking game as well. A lot of good things and a lot of good competition out there today.

Coach Scott Satterfield was pleased with Louisville’s first scrimmage. (Louisville Athletics photo)

“A lot of good young players making plays out there today and it was fun to see. Days like today we love going back and watching the film; there’s so many things we can learn off this film and teach off of. Each player will get better because of this.”

No statistics were made available on the closed scrimmage, but Satterfield said the offense dominated in the first half before the defense took charge in the second half.

“Early on, the offense did some good stuff and hit some big plays,” Satterfield said. “Later on in the scrimmage our defense really rose up and did some good things. They continued to fight, continued to correct mistakes and then they got better.”

Running backs Hassan Hall and Javian Hawkins were held out of the scrimmage, while wide receivers Dez Fitzpatrick and Tutu Atwell, along with linebackers Dorian Etheridge and C.J. Avery, among others, had limited reps.

“Those guys have played a bunch of football, so I thought it was good to keep them out,” Satterfield said. “The mainstay players who have been around a long time got some reps, but not many. So a lot of young guys got some reps, which was awesome because you’re building depth. If they have to play a significant amount because a starter gets dinged up, they’re going to be much better prepared.”

Atwell said he was impressed with the young players in the receiving corps such as freshmen Christian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Watkins and Nick Malito, and redshirt sophomore Branden Smith.

“They did all the right things that coach (Gunther) Brewer taught them,” Atwell said. “Pretty much, they were on their Ps and Qs. They ran every route correctly and they caught every ball that came their way.”

With outstanding place kicker Blanton Creque and punter Mason King having completed their eligibility, one of the most spirited battles is for those two positions. Redshirt junior Ryan Chalifoux, took over the kicking duties when Creque suffered a season-ending injury late in the year and made 22 point-after kicks. He was one-of-three on field goals, connecting on a 31-yarder.

However, freshman Brock Travelstead from Acworth, Ga., and sophomore James Turner of Saline, Mich. are the frontrunners for both spots and Satterfield indicated that no decision is likely to be made for awhile.

“I don’t think we really cleared up anything today,” he said. “We kicked a LOT today, which we need to. Those guys need to kick a lot of field goals, a lot of extra points. We did a long punt period working on our punt game. We know we’re going to be new there, kicker and punter, so they got a bunch of reps.

“We’ll go back and see where we are with that. Right now we’ve kind of just been rotating those guys. One day they get to go with the ones, next day the twos to see how they react. Today was really good for them because now you’re coming from the sideline, walking out there and trying to make a kick. We’ll see where we’re at with it. We’re still a long ways off from when we need to finalize where we are with kicking.”

Almost an entire month away, actually, from Western Kentucky’s visit to Cardinal Stadium for the season opener on Sept. 12. The Cards will be off Sunday and Monday before four more days of practice culminating with another scrimmage next Friday.

Tyra submits fan plan

Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra revealed on Twitter Friday that he has submitted a plan to Governor Beshear’s office for fans to be in attendance at the Cards’ six home games this season. He didn’t release any details of the proposal.

“We hope to receive an answer from them shortly,” Tyra said. “Once we do, we will reach out to our season ticket holders immediately.”

Beshear said on Thursday that the Big Ten and Pac-12 voting to move football to spring was a “gutsy call” and added that he hopes the SEC and ACC will also consider that option. There is reason for optimism that fans will be allowed at UofL because the governor approved allowing about 23,000 inside Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.

Tyra also reiterated in his Tweet that the ACC is determined to try and have a football season, barring any more significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic.

“As the week comes to a close, I can tell you that the Louisville Cardinals and the ACC are planning to move forward with the plan to play football,” Tyra said. “We do not anticipate this changing unless new information comes forward from the ACC Medical Advisory Board.”

McConnell: ‘Kentucky needs football”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a passionate college football fan — especially of alma maters Louisville and Kentucky — and in a Lexington TV appearance this week he said that he thinks the season should be played, noting that “America needs football.”

“Both the SEC and ACC, the two (Power 5) conferences that impact Kentucky, are still planning on playing football and they should,” McConnell said. “The UofL football coach, for example, was on on one of the network morning shows this week pointing out that the players are actually safer in the program than outside because of the protocols that have been established and the way kids are watched on a virtually 24-hour basis. So if you’re interested in the health of the football players, the best thing is to allow them to play, not to shut down like the Big Ten and Pack-12 did.

“I hope the presidents of the SEC Schools. . .will stand firm against the pressure to eliminate fall sports. It’s safer for the football players to play than to not play and we ought to go ahead with it. I hope the ACC and SEC stuck with their current plan to have football in the fall.”

Russ Brown, a former sportswriter for The Courier-Journal and USA Today, covers University of Louisville sports and college football and basketball for Kentucky Today. He can be contacted at 0926.russ.brown@gmail.com.

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