LOUISVILLE, KY. (KT) - It's been nearly eight months since Scott Satterfield was named Louisville's head coach, and things have changed drastically in the program.
What exactly that means will start to come into sharper focus when the Cardinals kick off fall camp Sunday morning.
"We're a different football team right now then when we were when we first got here in December, 100 percent," Satterfield said Saturday afternoon during a pre-camp press conference. "We've had some attrition. We've lost some guys, we've added some. What that looks like we don't truly know yet. It's an exciting time."
Sunday will mark the first time since the end of spring drills in early March that U of L's full team will be on the practice field together, joined by a group of 20-plus recruits that includes a half-dozen graduate transfers.
In comments during the offseason Satterfield has consistently praised his players for their approach to conditioning, their acceptance of the new staff and their eagerness to learn new offensive and defensive schemes.
"It's been a long time since we had the pads on back in February, which it is quite awhile," Satterfield said. "The guys since that point in time have worked extremely hard. Give a lot of credit to our strength staff, Mike Sirignano and Matt Summers, the and training staff. They've really done a great job of changing the these players' bodies.
"And there's several guys that have put so much weight - the right kind of weight, the strength that you want to put on in the offseason. I think that's probably one of the benefits for us having gone through spring ball and finishing it up in early March. It allows you all this time between that March date to August to really change your bodies."
Satterfield touched on the difficulty of the rebuilding he faces after a 2-10 debacle last season, the challenge of a difficult schedule and the low outside expectations.
U of L opens the season against consensus Top-10 Notre Dame on Sept. 2 at home and two of its first four ACC games are against Florida State in Tallahassee and preseason No. 1 Clemson in Cardinal Stadium. The Cards must also play at Coastal Division favorite Miami.
"We realize that it’s an uphill challenge we have as we start the season," Satterfield said. "We're not picked high, but I have never looked at those things and I don't really care where they are preseason - they really don't matter.
"It's where you are at the end of the season and how well you have gotten your team to play each and every time we take the field. That's all we look at. We talk to our team a lot about controlling what you can control, and that's all we're going to care about."
Since the first day he was hired, Satterfield has emphasized a change in culture -- meaning adherence to team rules, a positive attitude and attention to academics, among other things -- and has promoted a family atmosphere. For the latter, he has planned team activities such as bowling, dinners and paintball competition.
"I think it brings everybody closer," he said. "If all you're doing with your team is pushing them and coaching them really hard, and that's all you do and they don't get to see anything outside of that, then they can't get the full effect of what kind of person you are.
"The camaraderie that you can get between guys, whatever it is you do together, that's different - you're cutting up, having fun and letting loose. They get to see more of who you are. I just think that is extremely important. Not only between coach and player, but also among the players themselves. It becomes a tight-knit group that everybody can trust and I think that's what it boils down to."
Junior linebacker Dorian Etheridge noted during ACC Media Days last month that he had already seen a better relationship between players and coaches than was the case under previous coach Bobby Petrino and his staff.
"Coach Petrino recruited me out of high school and Coach Satterfield and I are probably closer already, even though it's only been about six months," Etheridge said.
Satterfield said that sophomore offensive lineman Dejmi Dumvervil-Jean will use a medical redshirt this season and that junior defensive back TreSean Smith is currently suspended from team activities due to a violation of team rules.
CARDS SET FAN FEST
UofL has set its Fan Fest event for Aug. 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Sun Tan City Bronze lot at Cardinal Stadium, with Satterfield and the players signing autographs from 4 to 5 p.m.
Along with autographs, fans can get free posters, schedule cards, food and drinks and there will be various family activities. Fans can park in the Purple Lot A and Bronze Lots D and F free of charge.
Besides Satterfield and the football players, other UofL fall sports coaches and athletes will be on hand, and the volleyball team will conduct a Red and Black scrimmage at 6 o'clock. Then the women's soccer team will play Butler in a preseason match at 7.