Swinney impressed by the culture Satterfield is already building at Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky.— The last time Clemson met Louisville on the football field, the Tigers put up 77 points in a 77-16 victory at Memorial Stadium on November 3, 2018.
The 61-point victory is the largest margin of victory for Clemson over an ACC opponent. In all, the Tigers tallied 661 yards, including 492 on the ground, while 10 different players scored their 11 touchdowns.
Clemson averaged a school-record 11.6 yards per play, breaking a record that had stood since 1903 (11.2 vs. Georgia Tech). The Tigers also set a school record in yards per carry for the second time in 2018. They rushed for 13.3 yards per carry, surpassing the program record of 11.8, set earlier in the season at Wake Forest.
When the dusted had settled, Clemson improved the 8-0 at the time on its way to win a second national championship in three years, while Louisville fired Bobby Petrino has its head coach.
“They were a team in disarray last year,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “They were a team that for whatever reason was just not playing hard.”
Louisville finished the 2018 season 2-10 and brought in former App State head coach Scott Satterfield in the off-season to try and rebuild a program that just two years before was one of the Tigers’ biggest challengers in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
Just six games into his tenure, Satterfield’s influence is already being seen at Louisville. The Cardinals head into today’s game (Noon, ABC) with a 4-2 record overall, including a 2-1 mark in the ACC.
They’re coming off a dramatic 62-59 victory at then No. 19 Wake Forest, the program’s first road win over a ranked ACC opponent since they joined the conference in 2014.
“I’m going to tell you, it is a different deal now,” Swinney said. “They got dudes. It is not like they are playing a bunch of freshmen. They are playing seniors, juniors and some grad guys. They have several sophomores, but they don’t have many freshmen that are in starting positions for them.
“Again, coaching matters, and this group has come in and you can tell that these kids believe in what they are trying to do and what they are trying to build. They have really connected with the team.”
Swinney says Satterfield and his staff are doing the things that need to be done to turn a program around. They’re building leadership, accountability and trust within the program, all things they can control.
“It is a team that has won four out of its last five games, and the Notre Dame game was a tight game for a while. They were in there for a while,” Swinney said.
Notre Dame eventually hit on a couple of big plays and pulled away in the second half. However, Satterfield established a standard that has his players playing hard and believing they have a chance to win every game.
“They have found ways to win,” Swinney said. “They have had a couple of games where maybe they weren’t pretty, if you will, but they found ways to win them. That is a definite indication of what they are doing from a coaching standpoint, and the culture and the belief and hanging in there.”
The best example of that was last month when the Cardinals were down 21-0 to Florida State and fought back to take the lead before the Seminoles ultimately won the game with a rally of their own in the fourth quarter.
“This is a team that is not going to quit. I don’t care. We might get up 21-0. I don’t know, but they will not quit. This is a team you are going to have to go win the game,” Swinney said. “I am excited about the challenge and I am looking forward to it. I have a lot of respect for Scott and the way they do things. There is no doubt he is going to build something special there in Louisville.”
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