It seems like an eternity since we were all celebrating in Nashville as our Cardinals had just wrapped up an 8-5 season with a Music City Bowl win over Mississippi State. There has been a lot of things that have changed in our world and in the sports world since that December evening. But one thing hasn’t. Coach Satterfield and his staff have continued to work to put a successful program on the field.
Coach Satterfield and his staff took on the Louisville rebuild head-on and it didn’t take long for them to put their stamp on the program in 2019. In an offseason facing a global pandemic that changed everything and with the nation’s social injustice struggles to play out right in their backyard the mission hasn’t wavered. They have continued to meet all of the challenges head-on and are ready to send out a Louisville team that just might end up being one of the best yet.
Louisville had the biggest turnaround in college football in 2019 with a six-game improvement in wins scoring 33.1 points a game (2nd in ACC). There are lots of big expectations on this Louisville team for 2020. Some even think the Cardinals can get to the ACC Championship Game. I also think this team has a chance to be really good.
It all starts with three of the most explosive players in college football QB Micale Cunningham (2547 yards with 28 touchdown receptions, and school record 194.5 QB efficiency rating last season), RB Javian Hawkins (1525 yards rushing with 9 touchdowns 2nd in ACC last season), and WR Tutu Atwell (1276 and 12 touchdowns leading the ACC last season). It’s been a long time since Louisville has had a triple threat like this on the offensive side of the ball.
And when you throw in guys like WR Dez Fitzpatrick (has recorded 106 receptions for 1,756 yards and 18 touchdowns during his career and averages 16.6 yards a reception), and tight end Marshon Ford (caught 20 passes for 292 yards leading the ACC in receiving touchdowns by a tight end last season) this is going to be an offensive group that will really put pressure on opposing defenses with their vertical threat.
Nine of Louisville’s 10 assistant coaches return for their second season in 2020. With the stability and consistency in the coaching staff, we should also continue to see improvement along the offensive line, special teams, and the defense. This is the first time in the past 5 seasons that these units have had the same coaching staff. The defense is going to need some work after giving up 33.4 points per game last year, but with seven starters back should be better. Linebackers C.J. Avery and Rodjay Burns started all 13 contests as did cornerback Chandler Jones and defensive end Tabarius Peterson. Linebacker CJ Avery is poised for a big season after a team-leading 93 tackles last season.
Western Kentucky did well in a very competitive Conference USA last season, finishing better than they had been expected to. They’ve got some playmakers at the skill positions also and will have a very competitive team on the field Saturday night.
With the limited practice time and all of the challenges due to the COVID virus, college football teams will have to get their game legs under them early on. I think that once this Louisville team finds it’s groove we are going to be in for a fun and exciting season. Even if we have to watch from home. I’m just glad that we will be watching our Cardinals play again. At times I didn’t think it would happen. Enjoy it and stay safe. Go Cardinals…