LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - UofL lost to Virginia Tech 42-35 on Saturday, but the Cards kept it close despite playing with five starters on defense.
The coaching staff learned on Friday night that due a positive COVID-19 test and contact tracing, they would be without nine players, including six defensive linemen.
Did they considering canceling the game?
“No, we talked about it and there were certainly a thought of that,” UofL head coach Scott Satterfield said on Monday. “It comes down to ‘do you have enough players at a certain position?’ And I’ve heard this from several schools throughout the country whenever games have been canceled. If you don’t have enough players at a certain position you can’t play. Particularly, O-line and D-line are really those spots. You just can’t go manufacture big guys to put in there. Either you have them or you don’t. So we looked at the numbers defensive line wise to say ‘can we play?’, and we had enough. We had five. And we said we’ll go out and play. You just cross your fingers that nobody gets dinged out there during the game and we’re able to finish the game with all those guys, because then it becomes player safety. So we did not reach that number where we didn’t think it was not safe for those guys to go play, and obviously you want to go play. We want to play these games. The rest of the guys on the team have worked hard to go out and play and so we’re going to try to get those games in. For this week, again, we’ll see how it goes throughout the week. Hopefully we got the same kind of bodies, if not more, as we move forward and we’ll have enough to go play and that’s where we are. We all know what we’re dealing with. It’s a year like no other. Things pop up every single day and so you just have to roll with it and deal with it and move forward the best you can.”
The coaching staff became aware there could be an issue about mid week.
“We ended up having one positive on Wednesday,” Satterfield said. “We isolated some guys with that. Then Friday we’re getting ready to go, and we get the testing that we do, we don’t really find those out on Friday until the nighttime. We actually found out a couple guys were positive on Friday night. Then, in turn, you start with the contact tracing, so you end up getting some more guys. So that’s kind of how it all went down.”
The Cards (2-5, 1-5 ACC) are scheduled to visit Virginia (2-4, 2-4 ACC) on Saturday night at 8 p.m. How many players will be available remains to be seen.
“It’s going to be a couple weeks with the protocols. If you’re contact traced, you’re out 14 days. If you do actually have the virus, then you can actually come back a little bit sooner once you go through the protocols and get all your testing done with that. I would anticipate that all those guys who missed last week will miss this week as well,” the Cards coach said.
Having a few more days to prepare will make a difference.
“Now, the guys that we’re going to be working are obviously going to be less experienced: maybe guys who having played a lot or maybe even some young guys that haven’t played hardly at all," Satterfield said. "Those guys will be getting reps this week at practice. In that sense, yes, it helps. When you look at it, you essentially have around five starters that are unavailable. And that hurts. You don’t have much depth to begin with when you have all your guys. You take those guys out, so now you’re playing guys who are inexperienced. So some guys are going to have to step up. We’re going to have to have guys who haven’t played a ton to go out there and play.”
Coach Satterfield previews the game at UVA on “Inside the Cards” on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. on WAVE 3 News.