Cardinals know they have a lot to prove

Published 2:24 pm Thursday, August 4, 2022


Kentucky Today

Traditionally, Louisville football media day officially kicks off the new season and at Tuesday afternoon’s event UofL coach Scott Satterfield wasted no time setting the tone for what will be the main theme for 2022.

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Satterfield was clear when describing what his message has been to his players throughout the offseason and will continue to be the mantra as the Cardinals try to bounce back from last year’s disappointing 6-7 record.

“You look at the season coming up, there’s a lot of certain teams getting a lot of hype. Certain teams getting voted this, voted that,” said Satterfield, whose team opened its fall camp and two-a-day practices Wednesday. “I think for us, our whole thing this summer is this football team has got a lot to prove and we want to earn respect.

“In order to gain respect, you’ve got to go out and prove it each and every day. You just can’t talk about it, you have to go out there and actually do it. And then we’re going to have to prove it in all those 12 opportunities we get in the fall.”

A disastrous ending to last season, with an ugly 52-21 ugly blowout defeat against Kentucky, followed by a 31-28 loss as a narrow favorite against Air Force Academy in the First Responder Bowl, is still fresh in the Cardinals’ minds. But Satterfield said his players have handled those failures well and are using them as even more motivation this season.

UofL returns 18 seniors, 17 starters and has added depth, talent and experience with nine players from the transfer portal, many of them veterans of higher-profile teams who should provide immediate help. The Cards are also riding the wave of what should turn out to be the best recruiting class in program history.

“This offseason has been tremendous for us,” he said. “You know, we didn’t end very well in December. We all understand that. But to these guys’ credit when they came back from (semester) break it’s been nothing but great. And I’m talking about everybody. A lot of credit goes to our staff. Our players, when they came back their mindset was just like, ‘We’ve got to go. What is it going to take for us to get over the hump and go compete for a championship?’ And to their credit, they’ve done that.

“We talk about earning everything. Our guys have to earn their scholarships, they have to earn their playing time, you have to earn to be a starter and you have to earn your respect. When you start doing all these things, your teammates are gonna respect you and your coaching staff is gonna respect you. Then you go out and perform on a Saturday afternoon or Friday night, your opponent is going to have to respect you.”

The Cards began camp without one of their highest-ranked recruits in the 2022 class — four-star wide receiver DeVaughn Mortimer from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Mortimer, 18, was arrested on Feb. 9 in his hometown on a felony battery charge and was sentenced to a year of probation on June 10.

Mortimer hasn’t enrolled at UofL and his status “is still unknown at this point,” Satterfield said. “We should get some clarity over the next couple of weeks.”

Mortimer’s arrest citation alleged he elbowed a female in the face on Feb. 8 while they were sitting in a car at Dillard High School, where he was a star in both the football and track and field. The blow allegedly caused “a laceration to her bottom lip that required several stitches to close” and broke two of her teeth.

Mortimer originally plead not guilty, but amended that plea to no contest. His probation began June 9 and requires him to complete a 13-week anger management course and 100 hours of community service.

Watch lists

Three more Cardinals were named to various preseason watch list over the past few days: Quarterback Malik Cunningham, Walter Camp Player of the Year; offensive guard Caleb Chandler, Rotary Lombardi Award; and linebacker Yasir Abdullah, Chuck Bednarik Award.

UofL Hoops Happenings

Guard/forward Mike James (6-6), who missed his freshman season in 2021-22 due to an Achilles injury suffered in the preseason, announced on social media that he has been cleared to resume full contact basketball activities. He had been impressive in summer workouts, but suffered a torn left Achilles tendon just one week into preseason practice.

“I was doing good in practice, getting better each and every day,” James said during 2021 media day. “For that to happen to me, it kinda hurt. But I’ll get over it. Be a better teammate, cheer my team on and look forward to next year when I’m healthy.”

James was named the Florida Class 7A Player of the Year as a senior after averaging 19.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 blocks for Oak Ridge High in Orlando, Fla. . UofL’s men’s team will participate in a Red Cross telethon to collect funds for eastern Kentucky flood victims Wednesday. The players will answer telephones for the telethon, which will be televised live on WLKY-TV, a CBS affiliate in Louisville (channel 32), from 5-6:30 p.m. ET.

Those making a donation during the telethon will be signed up for a drawing for a special UofL basketball package. UofL Athletics will make a donation during the event.