Lights! Action! Cardinals! ACC Network focuses on Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - The day before Louisville's season football opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 2 in Cardinal Stadium, fans will get a look at how the Cardinals prepared for the Irish.

It will come in the first installment of U of L's all-access treatment by the ACC Network in partnership with ESPN. The ACC announced Wednesday during its annual Kickoff media days that the show will air on Sept. 1 at 9 p.m. It will follow Satterfield through his hiring last December, spring practices and build through fall camp.

The show is being shot and produced by TA Films, a production company owned by Tyler Adams, who became close to Satterfield while shooting videos of the Appalachian State football teams through most of the 2000s. Satterfield was an assistant coach with the Mountaineers from 2002-2008 before becoming head coach in 2013 after short stints at Toledo and Florida International.

TA Films produced a similar all-access show at Appalachian State in 2007 and Satterfield said he enjoyed the experience so much he had no qualms about letting Adams and his company inside his U of L program.

"We don't have anything to hide," Satterfield said earlier this summer. "People will be able to see how we operate and they're gonna see a team that works its tails off, but at the same time has fun. We're excited to showcase our program."

Adams, 35, told the Winston-Salem Journal that even if the ACC Network hadn't picked up the series, he still would have done it and found a home for it later.

"It was good of an opportunity to have a coach who you've got a good relationship with granting you all-access in his first time taking over the program," Adams said. "So that dynamic in itself, no school can do that whenever you want to. The situation has to be just right."

TA Films has built up a strong relationship with ESPN, producing content for the SEC Network as well as documentaries for "30 for 30" series. It also worked on Amazon’s “All Or Nothing” series, which followed Michigan's football program during the 2017 season, as well as installments with the Carolina Panthers that will debut Friday.

The ACC Network will debut at 7 p.m. on Aug. 22 after three years in the planning stage. It will kick off with a two-hour edition that will cover all of the league's sports and serve as an introduction to the network's on-air personalities.

Two of those personalities for the 24/7 national platform operation have strong Louisville ties.

Katie George, who will be a studio anchor and sideline reporter, earned 2015 Player, Setter and Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a volleyball player at U of L and was also 2015 Miss Kentucky USA. She began her broadcast career at WDRB-Channel 41 in Louisville before becoming the sideline reporter for the NBA Milwaukee Bucks last year.

Wood, U of L's outstanding center during some of its most successful football seasons 2005-08 and a former NFL Pro-Bowler with the Buffalo Bills, will be a field reporter for football games. He started 49 consecutive games for the Cards, the second-longest streak in school history (to Travis Leffew's 51). Wood was a first-round draft choice of the Bills and played for them from 2009-17 before retiring.

In discussing the ACC Network with reporters at media day, ACC Commissioner John Swafford said that the first original programming project will be a show on Duke basketball's 1982 recruiting class and a 30-minute bonus program on the class reunion.

Other programming teased by the ACC on Wednesday besides the behind-the-scenes look at Satterfield and UofL included a documentary-style project on Bobby Bowden and his Florida State dynasty and a look back at Clemson’s historic, 15-0 national championship season from a year ago.

“Live events will be the backbone, but storytelling will be a major tentpole,” said Amy Rosenfeld, who will oversee production for the network.

“It’s all ACC all the time. It's a game-changer," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "I think people are going to get a whole different perspective through this, and really showcase our league, on and off the field.”

Swofford says the overall success of the network will largely hinge on meeting distribution goals with cable carriers, which will affect the amount of money distributed back to the schools.

Comcast/Xfinity, Spectrum, DISH and Cox are among the carriers that have not yet reached agreements to carry the ACC Network. ESPN previously announced agreements with DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, MVPD Altice and streaming services Hulu and Playstation Vue.

"As you get toward launch, as you get toward distribution, a lot of those deals happen at the midnight hour, so to speak," Swofford said. “I think our fan bases will respond very negatively if they’re not able to get this, and I think they will show that and I will encourage them to do that. People can change carriers if they're not happy with the current one.”

NEEDING A FEW GOOD MEN

UofL will be slightly shorthanded entering fall camp with a roster under the 85-scholarship limit. The Cards currently have an 81-man roster while waiting for two members of the 2019 class to be cleared.

Satterfield pointed out that while two or four under the limit doesn't seem like many, the NCAA allows programs to sign just 25 each recruiting cycle.

"I wish we had a full 85. It's tough," Satterfield said. "It's one of those things where we can only sign 25 next year, so can you get caught back up? That's going to be a challenge, especially with the transfer portal now and players going to the NFL. All of those things come into play. That's one of the hardest things for head coaches is roster management."

QUOTABLE: Satterfield, after Swinney offered him a seat on the front row for a group photo of the Atlantic Division coaches -- "I'm just glad to be on the stage. The opportunity to coach in this league that I've followed my whole life is a dream come true."

Russ Brown, a former sportswriter for The Courier-Journal and USA Today, covers University of Louisville sports and college football and basketball for Kentucky Today. He can be contacted at 0926.russ.brown@gmail.com.

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