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ACC Kickoff Preview: Louisville

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2020 Record: 4-7

All-time series: 12-7 Louisville

Last Meeting: 11/20/2020, 30-0 Louisville

What to Know About the Cardinals:

Scott Satterfield’s team lost some of its best talent this past offseason. On the offensive side, the team lost a lot of its receiving corps. Tutu, Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Jalen Mitchell have all exited leaving Malik Cunningham with a much thinner receiver group. On defense, the Cards lost 4 of their top 6 tacklers, but retain C.J. Avery and a solid amount of the front 7. Don’t expect Scott Satterfield’s bunch to make too many waves but the talent on the roster does have the potential to make something happen.

Head Coach – Scott Satterfield, 3rd year, 12-12 at Louisville:

On how his offense can improve: “One of the differences of last year was the big plays….we didn’t have those big plays. Even Tutu [Atwell] didn’t have as many big plays down the field for whatever reason. We got to be able to get more of the big plays, the plays where you’re going the distance, not just the 40-yard play, but the ones that go all the way to the end zone. Tyler Harrel is a fast player, he’s the fastest player I’ve ever timed in my career, and I’ve had a lot of fast ones….I think he’ll be one of the guys that will be able to knock the top off of the defense and get some of those home run plays.”

On what he expects from the defense: “The two things we want to be able to do defensively this year better than we did last year, although we’ve come a long way in the last year defensively are: Number one, create more pressure on the quarterback. We have not been able to create enough pressure or get enough sacks. I think that will help our defense and I think when we do that’s going to help our second thing which is to create more turnovers. Those two things will be the next step for our defense, I think we’ll be able to become one of the top defenses in the country.”

Malik Cunningham – Redshirt Junior, Quarterback

2020: 20 TDs, 2617 yds, 64.1 %

On how he will improve in 2021: “Improvement will be in the turnover margin, I’ll try to keep those things down. Turnovers aren’t something you can work on but I spend a lot of time in the film room, and am building confidence in my receivers to make plays for me this year.”

On the advantages of experience at the quarterback position: “Being an experienced quarterback, I’ve seen a lot of ball. I’ve been around a lot of coaches. I’ve been around two coaching staffs, I’ve learned a lot from both. Both coaching staffs added to my game.”

CJ Avery – Redshirt Senior, Linebacker

2020: 78 Tot Tackles, 5.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks

On his decision to return for a fifth season: “Between me and my family I decided that it was a better chance for me to come back and better my future than just end my career.

On how he’s seen the defense change: “It’s a better well-rounded defense at each position. We have new guys at the safety position, they’ll step up big in their roles and the cornerback position looks good. We just continue to get better each year.”

Marshon Ford – Redshirt Sophomore, Tight End

2020: 25 recs, 309 yds, 6 TDs

On his journey starting as a walk-on: “You’re always counted out as a walk-on. You always have to take advantage of your opportunities each and every day. I was blessed to be able to get opportunities from coach Satterfield and I tried to take advantage of it, and I did.”

On opening the season on national television: “It’s a great opportunity, this is actually my second time playing in Atlanta in Mercedes-Benz Stadium so I’m very very grateful that we get to do that. We get to showcase the work we put in each day.”

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