The University of Louisville introduced its new Head Football Coach on Tuesday night. UofL President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi and Athletics Director Vince Tyra introduced Appalachian State’s Scott Satterfield as the new coach of the Cardinals.
Vince Tyra, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics/Director of Athletics
(Opening remarks)“Thank you, really appreciate the turnout. Obviously, it’s a very exciting day for the university, it’s an exciting day for our athletic program, and it’s certainly a very exciting day for our football program. As Neeli [Bendapudi] said, it’s been an exhaustive process. It’s maybe more my style than anything else, and certainly, pooped me out, I’ll tell you that. As you can tell from my voice, and I think I can hear out of one ear and not the other at this point. So, I’m not good when I get into these things and not get the proper amount of sleep, and thankfully, we’re at a point of closure. As I said, I’m just excited. I know it’s an easy, hyperbolic word to use, but the fact is it’s true.
What’s made the hire easier is—we just completed a ULAA board meeting—the faith and trust I’ve had from our Board of Trustees to the ULAA board, the university administration has been terrific. It really has been easy for me to go through that process, and I’m certainly thankful for my staff because I’ve been away from them quite a bit, and they’ve carried on and kept the leadership meetings going and kept the athletic department going. That speaks volumes about the team we have here. The support that I’ve personally received from the ACC, and from John Swofford, our commissioner, he has stayed in touch with me on a regular basis. I’ve used him as one of my reference points in this process, and we’ve developed a terrific relationship. I really cherish what I have with John and his leadership for the conference, but his friendship, in this case, he’s been great. And I know he’s already reached out to Scott, I think either last night or this morning, to welcome him to the ACC, which is a class act. It’s important, also, that the team that’s here, and I see a lot of our team that’s here today and some of the staff, to get the trust from the current team and what we’re doing means a lot. Certainly, we’ve had some difficult conversations with them and the staff over the last few weeks, but I know they deserve a great hire and we’re delivering that today.
I’d say this this in talking about the team: the season certainly didn’t go as planned. And I think we’re all clear on that. My assessment of what it would take to get us back on track and get back to those Orange Bowls and Sugar Bowls and compete with Clemson and take them down to the wire and now get over that hump, I felt like needed a change in leadership. And while I have great respect for Bobby and what he accomplished at UofL, this felt like the right time to make a change and find a head coach that fits the needs of our program today and going forward. In any search that I’ve ever done, you have to be cautious about hiring the glitz and glamour of what’s out there and maybe could be a short-term fix. I think that even though some of that may have been on resumes I looked at, it was clear that I needed to find someone that fit the criteria that I established, because we certainly did have interest from others with Power Five and NFL experience and so forth, but I’m comfortable we have the right man that’s sitting behind me.
In this case, the criteria centered around an established leader. As our kids sometimes say, an ‘alpha dog,’ a ‘quarterback.’ While Scott was a quarterback and a great leader during his time at Appalachian State as a player and later a coach, he certainly has those natural instincts of leadership that we’ve all read about and I’ve gotten to know personally. The high culture of integrity that he’s brought to Appalachian State, he’ll bring to the University of Louisville, that won’t change. I’m comfortable with that. We’ve had long discussions and his references say so. The strong discipline that he has on and off the field is certainly one of the criteria that we needed. It’s creating accountability and I believe we had that in our discussions.
Player development, where he is today and what they’ve accomplished at Appalachian State—they’re not running the four-stars that sometimes we’re fortunate enough to have. He’s dealing with players that they’ve developed as better players, and they’ve certainly developed them into better men and we’ve seen that in their academic progress with what he’s brought into the program, how they’ve accomplished their high graduation rate and APR. But also, in his last two recruiting classes averaging a 3.5 GPA—we both believe that the effort in the classroom does parlay into the effort on the field. His ability to recruit in our respective region was one of the criteria. Establishing continuity with the players and the staff was something I was looking for. We’ve had some turnover in our staff, we’ve had some turnover in our players. We started this class with 21 and graduated 11, and I think it’s important if you have a program that’s going to win year-in, year-out, you have to have continuity.
One of the amazing stats that I found with Scott, what he’s accomplished this year in going 10-2 and winning the conference and as most know, taking Penn State into overtime—he’d probably like to have another shot at that game—should’ve been 11-2, hurricane got in the way of another win. But, he did that with the third-youngest team in FBS, and I think that says a lot for what he has and the leadership that he’s brought with his staff as well, and that was certainly key to me.
The winning background that he has is there. Moving them from the FCS to the FBS and continuing to win, I think that allows to continue accomplishing our goals here and that’s competing for ACC championships and getting into that College Football Playoff like we’ve been so close to doing a couple times and would like to do.
Fit with our community, I think his personality and his beliefs, and his family, sitting behind me, fit within our community. You’ll get to know them well, because they’ll be involved in our community. And I think the last point, when I think about criteria, is the excitement to be a Cardinal, and I’ve said that from day one, when we started this search, I want someone to want us as bad as we want them, and that was clear from day one. I know there was competition for Scott in this process, at this point in his career, there were some openings that came available and I was glad that we were able to position ourselves to stay in front of the competition and land him here at the University of Louisville.
He met all of those expectations and those criteria that I talked about and when you go into this, in my past, as a chairman… you’ve got to have criteria and stick to them. You can’t get caught, as they say, in the glamour of the resume. And he has it. He’s been a genuine leader who establishes and empowers leadership. It’s a player-driven culture that he has, a player leadership-driven culture that happens inside the locker room and the way he establishes that with the leaders – not just the captains, but a leadership in different areas inside that locker room.
As I mentioned, he’s a great family man who has high morals and integrity. I’ve got four witnesses in Beth and Bryce and Isaac and Alli behind me who can speak to that. When it comes to student conduct issues we discussed that, he has a culture of education as much as punishment. I think in dealing with situations, I’ve got five kids between 15 and 23, and stuff happens. And I think I deal with it as an A.D. here that stuff happens. And we talked a lot about that. I looked through a lot of the analytics including player arrests when I was going through this search. And, not surprisingly, he performed well.
Our discussion around discipline is one that really establishes accountability and is fair when holding them to those standards. So you’ve got to establish what they always say, ‘show me how you measure me and I’ll show you how I perform.’ And that’s the way he goes about it with their accountability on and off the field. Player development is geared around trust and respect. The reason the players that he’s brought into that system is because they do have a great deal of trust and respect with the coaching staff and with their leader, Coach Satterfield. He’s shown the ability to recruit talent on the roster and in his coaching staff, and I expect we’ll see the same here. We’ve already had discussions about both of those topics and I would think over the coming days we’ll have a great game plan ready to finish out the recruiting season for the players and forming a staff that will be competitors with anyone in college football. And I think he’s a winner, as I talk about criteria, he’s definitely a winner, we’ve seen that with what he’s had. I believe he can guide us through the ACC and then through the college football playoffs. As I said, he wants to be here, he wants to be a Cardinal and that goes a long way.
When considering when I hear about ‘can this guy step up’ to the Power Five and the Group of Five, if you will, he’s already stepped up. He had to take an FCS program to the FBS. He had to take it when the first year as the coach who had been there for the long term that the program was not going in the proper trajectory and stepped in and the first year was 4-8 and then the next year started off 1-5 and then won seven in a row. Then over the next four years have been in the top five in wins, over 40 wins. I think he’s stepped up already and he’ll do it again here.
A conference championship with the team I talked about… his great balance between offense and defense which we talk about, I know we’ve been offensive focused and I’ve talked about that, I love putting points on the board as much as anybody, but when it comes to what he’s done on the defensive side, Bryan Brown is their defensive coordinator, ranked fourth overall in passing defense in FBS and ranked fourth overall in defense, period. Top-25 in the red zone, which is important. And then on the offensive side, in scoring offense ranked 17th – and the rushing attack was 14th in the country. So he’s got a great balance of that running and passing that we like to have.
And I think that when I look at some of the team he’s had, particularly this comparison, some of you may remember the 2004 team. They had a very similar attack, in terms of run-pass ratio and we had four future NFL running backs on that team that was led by our local Stefan LeFors at quarterback. We accomplished a lot, we were averaging, I believe, 49 during that time – not that I’m putting that pressure on Scott, but it’d be nice… I knew he’d agree, it’s his first day. But over the last four years, Appalachian State was ranked 16th in offense and 26th in defense and I think there’s been a good balance and it’s only been improving. And when you look at all the metrics that are available today, there’s so much analytics available, third-down conversions, efficiencies and so forth… they kept sticking out. Not just in the conference, but in the FBS. So I happened to witness the game – and I hate to bring it up – that he lost to Tennessee in overtime and then obviously had a tough one get away at Wake Forest where they missed some kicks, and at Penn State, so he’s competing with these teams well. That game against Penn State this year was at Penn State.
I can continue to wow you with the stats and a lot of analytics, but in talking with Scott, learning more about how he developed the Appalachian State program, it became clear he was our Louisville man. And this is what we needed, where the program is. In my ability to look at my own diagnosis and use the old belly, the old gut intuition, it just felt like I kept coming back to the same guy while we entertained a number of people in this process.
So our next steps are to work hand-in-hand and finishing out this recruiting process and put together a staff – a great one at that – and tack it on to what we’ve had last year and the year before. We’ve had great recruiting in here and we’ve had a lot of players. However you want to look at it, fortunate or unfortunate, we had 16 true freshmen play a fair amount this year. And that’s something that we’ve got to think about as we bring in these future classes – how many should play and how many are really ready versus how many should redshirt and we’ve had that discussion as well.
To the fans that are here and showed up and the ones that aren’t here today, I generally run our business here as one that has discussed and decided and support as I talked about before and while I know you didn’t get to participate in the discussion and the decision here, I certainly expect you to participate in the support. I’ve inherited an amazing stable of coaches and facilities from which to succeed and I’m thankful for it and now we get to add one more to our stable here with the most recent ones in Holly Aprile and Scott Teeter and Chris Mack. I’m proud of all those hires and I hope you are as well and I’m equally proud to introduce our new head football coach, Scott Satterfield.”
Scott Satterfield, Louisville Head Coach
(Opening Statement) “Thank you guys, I appreciate that. This is awesome, it really is awesome. First of all, I want to thank Dr. Neeli. After five minutes of meeting her, I love her, she’s awesome. You guys have a great leader right here at this University, I’m telling you. She’s going to be fun to work with. It starts at the top, I have learned that in a long time. You have to have great leadership at the top all the way down through to our football team and to all our other athletes here in other sports at this great University, which I’ve grown to love the success that all the other sports have had. I can’t wait to meet these other coaches, share ideas, get with them to see what’s made them successful here because that’s what we want for our football program. Really it starts from me and it starts with this crew right here. These guys mentioned them – my wife of 22 years, my three kids are great supporters of me over the time I’ve been coaching. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my mom and dad, who’re back in Hillsborough Orange County, North Carolina, which is right there in ACC country with some teams that we’re going to have on our schedule that we’ll be loving to beat one day in the near future.”
Then I need to thank the school that I just left, Appalachian State University, where I spent 23 years as a player, assistant coach, head coach. I had great success there. Our players – thank them, they’ve been unbelievable. We talk about culture, they have it. That culture is incredible. We made it to the New Orleans Bowl this year, so they’re going to be playing in the New Orleans Bowl in a week and a half. They’ll have no problem in that game because of the culture and what they stand for, and that’s what we’re going to build here. To the fans back at App State, who have been unbelievable to me, I appreciate their support and everything they did for me over the years.
I was a walk-on football player in 1991. I remember August 3, 1991 driving up the mountain to Boone, North Carolina. They didn’t even know my name – the coaching staff didn’t. You just continue to work and build, that’s what dreams are made of. You earn a scholarship and then you’re starting, my senior year we went undefeated – 11-0 in the regular season, incredible. Then I had the opportunity to go back and coach in 1998. Beth and I were married two years and they said, ‘We want you to come coach wide receivers, but we’ve got $7,000 to pay you.’ I said, ‘A month?’ And they said, ‘That’s the whole year.’ So, $7,000 – we have a mountain there at Appalachian State, it’s Appalachian Ski Mountain. So, I had to make snow in the winter time, I couldn’t even go recruiting, I had to make ends meet. Beth said she’d give me two years with this deal right here, otherwise we’re getting out of the coaching profession. Fortunately, I got brought on full time the next year, continued to work my way up and then became the head coach at App State, six great years there.
Now, here I am. It’s what dreams are made of for me. It’s incredible, and it proves the point that if you work your tail off and have a great attitude every single day, that your dreams can be met and it will come true because I’m living that dream right now at the University of Louisville, it’s unbelievable. Thank you guys, I appreciate it. I’m extremely honored to be the head coach here. There were other schools out there, but this is the job I wanted. I wanted to be here because of the success that this program has had. Incredible success over the years – Heisman Trophy winners, NFL players that have moved on and are doing great things. There’s one for the Ravens right now that’s taken that starting role and he’s dominating now, it’s fun to watch him play. Those are the kind of players we want to get in here. I loved meeting the team today, for the first time I got to meet that team. I’m so excited, I hate that they’re going home right now for Christmas break. We’re ready to get to work with these guys.
I told them, we’re going to love on them. We want to love on these guys. We’re going to put our arms around them and we’re just going to pull them up and bring them to win football games and championships. But it starts with our culture, so that’s what we’re going to work on. The very first thing I told them was that ‘guys, you have to trust me. And I have to trust you. And that’s the way our program’s going to work.’ There’s a couple core values that we have. Number one is project positive energy. In this world we’re living in, there is so much negativity out there that it drives you crazy. Everybody’s doubting you, everybody’s downing you. That fuels me, and it’s going to fuel our football team. We’re going to pump each other up. We’re going to hit them on the butt and say ‘let’s go!,’ when they’re having a bad day we’re going to put that positive energy in there and it’s just going to spread like wildfires, our culture in the locker room. The other thing we’re going to have is trust and respect that we’ve talked about already, and that’s going to go from coach to player. The other thing that we talked about is the other 10. There’s 11 guys on the football field, but I’m playing for the other 10. I’m not thinking about me, I’m thinking about the other 10. When you do that, we’ll have a tremendous amount of success. We had 19 guys out of our starting offensive and defensive players last year make all-conference and get recognized. 20, we had 20 guys. It’s incredible, because they’re playing for each other. They love each other, and that’s what we’re going to create here. These guys will get big-time recognition when they start loving each other, caring for each other and playing for each other.
The other things that we’re going to have, the last core value is have fun. I want our guys to be able to come to that office all the time. I want them to be there, to come there. The same with our coaching staff. We’re going to put together an outstanding coaching staff that will just be there everyday because we want to be there. It’s not one of these deals like I’ve seen throughout the country where coaches go flip the light on when they can go home. Our guys are going to want to be there because they love it that much. Our players are going to want to be there. It’s going to be that kind of culture where they can’t wait to get back there because we’re going to put some more work in. We’re going to do it day-by-day, stay in the moment. We’re not thinking about next month, we’re not thinking about next year, any of that kind of stuff. We’re going to stay in the moment and do the best job we can do. I think when you stay in the moment, do that, take it day by day, be the best you can be today, when you look back on it you’ll be breaking records. You’re going to be winning a lot of football games.
So those are the kind of things we’re going to be putting together for this program. I also want to get involved with this community. I want our community to get involved with us. High school coaches, the region right here, right here in Louisville, come watch our practices. Our doors are open. The closed doors are no longer. We’re going to open it up. We have nothing to hide. I want to feed off them, the can feed off of us. We’re going to do this thing together. It’s not going to be about me. It’s not going to be about our coaches or our players, it’s going to be about all of us. The fans, the players, the alumni, everybody’s got to be involved with this. That’s how you win, when everybody’s involved. That’s how you win. It’s not one person, it’s everybody. I’m just happy to be the face of a program being the head coach, but I don’t want to be like that. It’s not ‘I,’ you’re going to hear me say ‘we’ a lot. Because it is. It’s we, it’s all of us. It’s all of us together. Cardinal Nation, that’s how we’re going to get this thing back on top, that’s what we have to do.”
Here in the next few days, we’re going to put together a staff, an outstanding staff, to be able to get these recruits in here. The kind of players that we’ll all be proud of. The student-athletes, they’re out there. Sometimes it’s real easy to go get a player that has marginal academics but he’s a great player. But there’s also guys that have great GPA’s, that care about the academics that are also great players. And those guys tend to do great things on the football field. You don’t have those penalties that you don’t necessarily need, you don’t have those turnovers and those mistakes, that’s how you lose football games. We’re going to recruit the right kind of student-athlete here to build this program up, so excited to do that. I’m humble. This is awesome. I’m so fired up about being here. I can’t wait to get started, my family as well. They’ll be headed back to Boone, but I’m staying here. Ready to hit the ground and get rolling. I want to thank you guys for coming out, it’s an awesome crowd right here, really appreciate it.”
(About being a tough sell for the family) “I think transition is always tough, no matter what it is. It has been tough for our players here. They have had a transition. If we could create continuity, that is what I want. I have done that with my career. If you have been in one place that long that is continuity. That is what I want to do here: create that same kind of environment. We want continuity. We want a coaching staff that wants to be here and be here for a long time. Any time you change – change is tough. It will be particuly hard on Mama (Beth Satterfield) right here. She has it hard. When I am here coaching and I have a lot of stuff going on, it is hard on these guys. They have been very supportive. We have had a lot of success over the last four years and there have been opportunities and this is the right one. We have talked about it as a family over the years. It just so happens that this is the one and the door is open and we are here. “
(Why Louisville) “I think with the leadership we have in the University, that is No. 1. I think you want somebody to believe in and he (Vince Tyra) did. He believed in me and that is huge. That is all I needed back in 1991 to walk on a football team and prove what I have. That is where I am right now. I am ready to go prove with the kind of staff we are going to put together, the kind of team that we are going to put on that field that everybody is going to be proud of. I think the footprint of where it is located and what we are going to have to recruit in the southeast is what I am familiar with as opposed to going out west or up north. This fits the footprint of what I am familiar with. I grew up in ACC country. I am familiar with all the teams. I have visited a lot of the teams in the Carolinas over the years. I am just trying to learn more. I am very familiar with it. I just think of all those reasons and this university is poised to bust with some great things that I think will be happening right here at this university. The thing that we have in this stadium and the support we have – the ceiling is very, very high and I think we are going to get there.“
(About his priorities in the coming days) ”It has been a whirlwind to say the least. This time yesterday, I was in New York City. I got on a plane last night at 9:55 p.m. and got back to Boone at 2:30 in the morning and got with my team at 7:30 this morning and then came down here today. Not had much sleep – zero sleep to be quite honest. The next few days, I will be working on staff and talking about that. We will be trying to get the right guys in here. We recognize that Signing Day is coming right up in a couple of weeks, so we want to do that. Then we will slowly build this staff out over the next few weeks. I think for me, probably today or tomorrow, I will be just talking recruiting and looking at rosters and seeing exactly what the needs are and then get on the road and start recruiting.”
(About the ASU staff that might follow him coaching in the bowl) “I think there are a couple of guys that we will probably bring immediately. The rest of the staff will stay back and coach the game. We will see where we are after that and start building our staff out. The good thing about that is, they play in a week and a half. So it is not like it is a month from now. We have some other guys throughout the country that we will be targeting. We will see where that leads in the next few days.”
(About his routine) “I think initially, this year, the calendar here is a bit different here the way they have their school and when they get out of school. We want to get to where throughout the year this is what we are doing. I think when you have routine, everybody loves routine. Our players love it and here is what to expect and what we are going to do. That is what we got to in the last four years at App. The guys really bought into that. We want to get there. I want to look at the calendar and really look at that and figure it all out. Yes, we will definitely get to that routine and they guys will feed off that. “
(On emotions of leaving Appalachia State) “It’s very emotional for me because I knew everybody. I was one of the older tenured guys there. Our chancellor was there the last two to three years, our AD had been there three years. A lot of the board members, Board of Trustee members, I knew a lot of those people that had been there for years. You’re really just kind of engrained with those guys. You’ve been there through everything, so it was very emotional. I love those guys. They’re awesome, they gave me a chance, they gave me an opportunity. I’m forever indebted to that, but this is a great opportunity. This is an unbelievable opportunity to be able to coach at this kind of university to compete for championships. I can’t turn that down at this point of my career. This is what we’ve been shooting for. In six years at App (State), we’ve won 40 games in the last four years, three straight conference championships, three straight bowl games, it’ll be four straight in a week-and-a-half. ‘What else can you accomplish there?’ I think comes into play. The only thing we didn’t do is go to a New Year’s Six Bowl. And for App, I think that’s going to be very close. I want to compete for national championships one day and that’s what we’re going to be gunning for. It starts with competing in the ACC, but it’s going to start with us getting our staff together and players headed in the right direction this offseason. I’m excited for that the most.”
(On his message to the fans) “You go back and look at the track record of what we’ve been able to accomplish, it’s not like I haven’t been a head coach. It’s not like I haven’t faced adversity. We started out 4-8, we’re in the Southern Conference and we’re not playing for anything and that was extremely difficult. The next year, we’re working on our culture at that point, we start out at 1-5. So as a head coach I’m 5-13. So I remember the story of going to Troy, Beth went with me. Some of you may have heard it. We’re 1-5 and we walk down to the river and I said, ‘This head coaching thing is ok, we’re 5-12. We may not be around here much longer, let’s enjoy this, you know?’ We went out the next day and we beat Troy, dominated the game, won our last six games. Our very first year in the Sun Belt, we went 7-5 and turned it around. And the rest has been history after that. We killed it. There’s four other programs with better records than us, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma then Appalachia State. That’s pretty good company. We’re going to do it here and there’s no question about it. You’ve got to believe and that’s been a big slogan of our program. It’s a deadly process and we’re going to get it done.”
(On picking job and analyzing the program) “We recognized the fact that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. Usually if you want to look for a new head coach, there is promise for more to be done. I do recognize that, but I also recognize the potential. I think that the potential outweighed the work that needed to be done. I think we got a great opportunity here. We got some hungry young men in that locker room right now. I mean hungry. Starving for discipline, starving for success. Like I told them today, they’re going to have to trust. It’s going to come down to that. We’re going to have to trust each other. They’re hungry for that and I can’t wait to get them back here.”
(On seeing Louisville this past season and what has stuck out) “I think it starts with discipline. I think that’s the first thing and culture. The reason that we had success, there at App, before any of the wins, we worked on culture. That’s whjat you have to work on. You have to get all that stuff straight first before you can start winning football games. That’s what this offseason is going to be about, this summer is going to be about. When you get that stuff straight, then the wins will start coming. I didn’t watch many games last year. Obviously tried to wins some games, last year. I did glance at scores and I saw scores that were extremely high, given up. There’s a lot of work to be done, obviously, offensively, defensively, kicking game. The thing I was most proud about our football team, this past year at App, is that we’re solid on all three phases. You go back and look, special teams, our blocked kicks, kick returns. Then defense, one of the best defenses in the country. Then obviously offense. We’re solid in offense too, with a first year starting quarterback with a very young football team. There are 19 starters coming back on that team next year that’s probably going to win 11 games this year. That’s the culture that we had. That’s what we are creating here, and I can’t wait to get started on that.”
(On players recruiting from App State and on recruiting a different kind of athlete) “I think that there are players that last. In the beginning of this year’s process of recruiting, there were several players that we went in on early there. We had them on campus, we were in good with them, and then they started getting power five offers. We still got great relationships with some of those players. In the early process of recruiting, yes, we are going to tap back into those players that we feel like can come here and help compete for a championship. Then there are other players, that are out there, that we are going to tap into. That we have relationships with, that are looking forward to coming visiting here, within the next two weeks.”
(On being on the FIU staff when playing at UofL) “That’s really the only time I’ve been here. We had a great day that day, it wasn’t good for Louisville, but it was good for us. T.Y. Hilton was unbelievable, and we just got him the ball and let him work. We ended up coming out with a big victory. That was a big win for us, at the time, at FIU, but while we were here, I thought it was just great. I was just looking around the stadium and being in the environment, it was a great environment. Everything that I’ve heard, ever, has been positive about this university. Everything. You start hearing a lot of that and it just gets inside of you. You start really believing it. I think this place is destined to be great, I really do.”
(On the idea of ‘we’ and patience) “You have to have a sense of urgency and you have to be patient. It’s not going to happen overnight, we all know that. You can’t change a culture overnight. Usually changing cultures take a year or year and a half to change that. We’re going to work extremely hard on a daily basis to make that happen. What we are going to bring in here are going to be culture changers as well. We definitely are going to have a little bit of patience. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen, and I’m very confident in that. Our coaching staff that we bring in will do that as well. It’s going to be about the process that we will have to go through. Obviously, we all want it to happen very quickly, that are in this room we know that. The sooner the better I think. But who knows how long it will take, but it will happen.”
(About the defense) “We are trying to run the same defense that we did. I don’t know if you know, but (Nate) Woody got hired at Georgia Tech two years ago and I hire Bryan Brown last year and really kept our staff, who had opportunities on the defensive side of the ball to go places … Power Five places … who decided to stay and put together a top ten defense in the country. So we are going to run that style of defense and we will see about the names. It will probably happen here in the next couple of days and fill out staff out for the next week or two. Defensively, what we do is unique on defense. It is an aggressive defense that creates turnovers and it does not give up big plays. We are going to run and hit and stay on top. Match the numbers and chase the football. It’s very simple and I will think will be a great product defensively to have here.”
(About knowing any of the Louisville players) “There are a couple of guys (that he knew) because you start recruiting these guys early on but then kind of outgrow where I was at before and they get to the Power Five level and like most young people, they are going to go to those Power Five schools. When we go out recruiting, we are going to look for kind of players who fit what we want as far as character and they are going to be great football players too.”
(What are you looking for as part of the change and turn around) “I think obviously, we gave up a lot of points last year and that is going to be a No. 1 priority, to be able to slow teams down and keep them out of the end zone. Offensively, what I have always tried to do gear to the talents that we have. So once we get in here and see what talent we have, we are going to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers wherever they are. We want to be balanced. We want to be able to run the football because I think if you have a bad day passing, you can lean on that run and still be able to win football games. If we need to throw 350 yards a game to win a game, that is what we are going to do or if we are rushing 350 yards, we will do that. We are going to win football games. At the end of the day – and it is crazy if you go back and look offensively at us for the past five years – it’s pretty balanced. I am throwing and running. I think it will come down to the playmakers and how we get the ball to them.”
(on rivalry with Kentucky) “I can’t wait. That’s going to be awesome. I grew up in North Carolina so the Duke/North Carolina rivalry was huge. Then I went to coach at Toledo one year and I found out about Ohio State/Michigan, how bad that rivalry was. So the Louisville/Kentucky rivalry, I can’t wait. I can’t wait for that. To me it’s like at Appalachian State, Georgia Southern was our big rivalry. We both made the jump at the same time. That week is just a little bit more of a sense of urgency. It’s a little bit more attention to detail. A little bit more of everything when you’re playing that rivalry games that week. I can’t wait for those. Those are games that obviously the fans love. Can’t wait to get into a lot of trash talking back and forth but going out and playing those game are huge for us because you win those games and it helps with recruiting. We have to win the battles right here in the state of Kentucky and Ohio and then down in the southeast. You got to be able to win those games in order to tell recruits you are coming to a winner.”
(Take me through the prosses of Saturdays game and today you mentioned it was a world win and you were in New York. When did you first) “You know, I told our team last week, I didn’t really have time to talk to our team about this, but I told them I am not going to talk to anybody until we play and win a conference championship, because that was my obligation and so we won the game Saturday and Sunday I met with Vince and then for a few hours and then came back to Boone and then Beth and left for New York Monday morning so where I was at in Boone is about two hours to the airport so it is not easy. We had to drive two hours to Charlotte, fly to New York we get to New York and we check in the hotel about four. I get a phone call that evening of Vince and I’m like okay so we are in New York and I needed to meet with my team, so we try to get a flight out of there last night, which was at 9:55, we got back to Charlotte at midnight, we got back to Boone at 2:30 in the morning and met with our team at 7:30, hop on a plane in Hickory, North Carolina at about lunch time and we are here. So today we have been kind of touring around, looking at facilities, meeting a lot of great people. Everyone has been so awesome and in open arms and I can tell it is going to be a great community. We are so excited to be here to meet so many more people who are going to help us through this journey.”
(How much emphasis will you place on recruiting the city of Louisville?) “Huge, it is huge for us. There is some great talent here and again that is why I am talking to the high school coaches right here in Louisville and are welcome to come and watch us practice. Come over here we are going to have some things this spring in spring practice that we are going to open up to high school coaches. Become clinic and meet with some coaches it won’t cost them anything because I want our staff to get around these guys because I want these players that are playing around here in high school to feel like they have a home right here and they can come to play right here and meet all their goals and aspirations right here in Louisville.”