Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 34 of 55 OCT. 17, 2020 35 BY PATRICK ENGEL I n terms of multiple repetition of phrases, it wasn't Allen Iver- son's infamous practice rant. But as 2020 press conferences go, it's not too far off. Asked about Louisville's bumpy play in a 23-20 loss at Pittsburgh on Sept. 26, head coach Scott Satter- field kept circling back to a six-word phrase. Five times in a 90-second an- swer, to be exact. In his eyes, Louis- ville players had too many moments where they were not "doing what they're supposed to do." Allow him to explain. "Guys, when they're doing what they're supposed to do — we talked about that this morning as a staff — when doing what they're supposed to do, we look like a pretty good foot- ball team." Then … "Go and watch it on film, if guys are doing what they're supposed to do, there are plays to be made." And finally … "If guys do what they're supposed to do, we'll be fine. The effort is there. Guys are playing hard. It's not doing what they're supposed to do at times." Satterfield even threw in a bonus: "Be where you're supposed to be de- fensively." Those are the sounds of frustration over a 1-2 start (and 0-2 in conference games) from a team picked to finish fourth in the ACC and on its first los- ing streak since Satterfield took over after the 2018 season. Even though watching the Pitt game supports his refrain, Satterfield and his staff bear some of the burden too. It's their job to make sure players under- stand assignments and put a lineup on the field that can execute them. Improvements in both areas were ex- pected after last year's breakout. "We look like a pretty good foot- ball team," Satterfield said. "We just have not put it all together. That's the one thing we're looking to do." The Cardinals went 8-5 a year ago in Satterfield's first season, a six-win improvement sparked mainly by a dangerous run-based, option-heavy offense. They ranked 12th nationally in yards per play last season and 24th in rushing offense. Notre Dame can attest to the sud- denness with which the Cardinals can score after allowing a pair of ex- plosive touchdown drives to them in the 2019 opener. The offense cleared 30 points in its first two games, but mistakes on both sides have taken the spotlight. Louisville allowed 47 points in a Sept. 19 loss to Miami. It took seven sacks and tossed three interceptions against Pitt. All told, the Cardinals offense committed eight turnovers in the first three games. "We got whipped up front, and we didn't make plays in the pass- ing game," Satterfield said of the Pitt loss. "We were just not in sync at all offensively." It could have been worse, though. Louisville was fortunate to avoid a disastrous injury. Redshirt junior quarterback Malik Cunningham was carted off the field on the last play of the game, but was a full participant in practices leading up to the Oct. 9 game at Georgia Tech. He's a significant piece of the Cardi- nals' offense. In 2019, he averaged 11.5 yards on 179 pass attempts, which would have led the country if he were qualified. He also ran for 482 yards and six touchdowns. In three games this season, he has thrown five inter- ceptions and fumbled three times. "A lot of it comes down to deci- sion-making," Satterfield said. "Most of them have been a bad decision, throwing it late or not throwing at all. Last year, he did a good job tak- ing care of the ball. He has to con- tinue to do that. It's about making the right, proper decisions. "In the running game, carrying the ball loosely cost him against Miami with a fumble. We've had too many fumbles in general." It's one reason the rushing attack has become more ordinary. Louis- ville's yards per carry have dipped to 4.01 from 4.87 last year, but it still boasts several threats. Redshirt sophomore Javian Hawkins ran for 1,525 yards a season ago, including 122 against Notre Dame. He had 313 GAME PREVIEW: LOUISVILLE Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham has had turnover issues to start this year — with five interceptions and three fumbles in his first three games — but remains a dangerous dual threat. PHOTO COURTESY ACC MEDIA STILL A TOUGH OUT The Cardinals, a popular ACC breakout team, have scuffled early but remain a threat Facts & Figures LOUISVILLE AT NOTRE DAME Game Info Date: Oct. 17, 2020 Site: Notre Dame Stadium Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET Television: NBC Radio: This game can be heard on Notre Dame's IMG affiliates. Series Facts: The series is tied 1-1. Notre Dame won the last game 35-17 at Louisville on Sept. 2, 2019. Head coaches: Louisville — Scott Satterfield (9-8, second season); Notre Dame — Brian Kelly (95-37, 11th season). Noting Louisville: Running back Javian Hawkins' 1,525 yards in 2019 set a Louisville freshman record … Wide receiver Tutu Atwell set a program record last season with 1,276 receiving yards and tied one with 12 touchdowns, both of which led the ACC … Satterfield was 51-24 with three Sun Belt championships as the head coach at Appalachian State from 2013-18. He was the offensive coordinator on the 2007 Mountaineers team that upset Michigan … Louisville went 5-3 in the ACC in 2019 and defeated Missis- sippi State in the Music City Bowl … An eight-year bowl streak was snapped when the Cardinals went 2-10 in 2018 … Entering this season, Louisville is 26-22 in the ACC since joining the conference in 2014.

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