LOUISVILLE — Scott Satterfield’s visit to Durham, N.C. for Louisville’s football game against Duke Thursday night will be a homecoming for coach Scott Satterfield, one he hopes will also turn out to be an evening of celebrating for his players, who will be seeking bowl eligibility.
Satterfield grew up within a long field goal or touchdown pass from Wallace-Wade Stadium, where the nationally-televised game will kick off at 7:30 ET on ESPN, and had a first-hand look at the Blue Devils’ program for five years.
From age 7 through 12, Satterfield roamed around the perimeter of the stadium on every game day selling programs to help raise money for his youth football program. One of the perks was that he got to attend the games for free.
Satterfield was born and grew up in Durham before heading to Appalachian State to play quarterback for four years and then starting his coaching career in 1998 as an assistant for the Mountaineers.
“I never played or coached in Wallace-Wade, and I grew up five minutes from it,” Satterfield said Monday afternoon during his weekly press conference. “This will be pretty cool for me to be able to go back to my hometown and be able to coach in that stadium.”
Satterfield attended his first football camp there when he was seven years old. At the time Steve Spurrier was Duke’s offensive coordinator.
“So a lot of history there, and I’m excited to go back,” Satterfield said. “I grew up right there beside Duke.”
While his mother worked at the concession stand for her son’s rec league team, Satterfield was hawking programs.
“I was always there hustling those programs so I could get into the game free,” he said. “And usually when we got into games we would just try to find some grass and go play football. We didn’t watch the games, but I remember going to a bunch of them. I never really pulled for them or anything, but we were right there and that was just one of the things we did.
“It’s kind of funny because when I tore my ACL in high school, I had to do all my rehab in the press box at Wallace-Wade because they had an orthopedic clinic and I was there every day. So I spent a ton of time there. There’s been a lot of changes over the years; it’s a great setup now, compared to what it used to be. For me, it’s just really cool. It’s going to be awesome to be able to go back and play in that stadium.”
Satterfield was still flying high from the Cardinals’ dominating performance in their 41-3 rout of Syracuse. It must have impressed oddsmakers, too, because U of L (5-5, 3-4) opened as a 19-point favorite over Duke (3-7, 0-6).
“We got a nice win on a great day for Lamar (Jackson) and our program,” Satterfield said. “For us to get that win was huge, especially the way we did it. We needed to go out and dominate a game like we are capable of doing and put it all together. There have been some spurts in other games, but this was the first time this year that we did all three phases. Hopefully, that will give us more confidence.”
Addressing running back Hassan Hall’s decision prior to Syracuse to enter the transfer portal with three games remaining, Satterfield was mildly critical of the junior, who was playing behind Jalen Mitchell and Trevion Cooley in the backfield.
“I don’t know why anybody decides to leave in the middle of the season, particularly when you are playing,” Satterfield said. “It’s like anybody else who decides to do that, it’s what they felt was right for them. But I think you should finish out the season. If that’s what they feel they have to do, then that’s what they are going to do and we are not going to stand in their way.”
Hall had played in all nine games, gaining 272 yards on 38 carries and returning 17 kickoffs for 376 yards. Tyler Harrell returned kickoffs against Syracuse and Satterfield said Hall’s departure could open up more playing time at running back for redshirt freshman Jawhar Jordan, who saw the first action of his career against Syracuse with four carries for 21 yards.
“I thought he ran hard and did a lot of good things,” Satterfield said. “He made a couple guys miss when we didn’t block very well. He’s got some juice in his legs, some speed. So hopefully he will continue to work into the mix. We still have Burkley there as well, so there are four capable backs we think can get in there and play and help us out. We’ll see how it works out on Thursday.”