LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- Business as usual. That pretty much sums up coach Scott Satterfield's approach in the wake of his Louisville football team suffering a thorough 52-27 defeat at Miami Saturday in their worst performance of the season.
Satterfield says this is no time for the Cardinals (5-4, 3-3) to panic, wallow in self-pity, or let the setback turn into another loss at NC State (4-5, 1-4) Saturday night.
The Cards are still within one game of reaching bowl eligibility with three games remaining, all of them very winnable. They are favored by 3 1/2 points against the Wolfpack, who have dropped three in a row while being outscored 144-44 in the process.
They will be a solid favorite in their home finale against hapless Syracuse (3-6, 0-5) on Nov. 23, then their last regular-season game against Kentucky in Lexington will probably be considered a tossup. So the Cards still have a shot at a Tier One bowl.
"It's one game," Satterfield said Monday afternoon during his weekly press conference, recalling what he told his team Sunday. "Whether you played well or you didn't play well it doesn't matter. You have to come back and give it everything you have in your preparation. There were a lot of hard meetings yesterday. We can get better if we don't let that loss linger."
Senior defensive tackle G.G. Robinson says he's confident the Cards will pick themselves back up and be ready for NC State rather than dwelling on the loss.
"Our coaches won't play that," Robinson said. "They aren't going to let us mope around with our heads down and let one loss topple the whole season. That's not about to happen."
Satterfield, who is the same in press conferences after a loss as he is with a win -- that is to say calm, courteous analytical -- said nothing will change in his team's game week routine.
"I want these guys to know we are consistent in our approach and in what we are doing," he says. "It's attention to detail and focus, but our schedule won't change. I don't think you want to start doing any off the wall crazy stuff."
All three phases had major problems against the Hurricanes, but none were as inept as UofL's defense, which was sliced and diced by Miami freshman quarterback Jerrod Williams to the tune of a school record six touchdown passes.
Robinson told reporters afterwards that missed assignments were mostly the culprit and can be solved.
"I could pinpoint about 35 points that were super preventable and we didn't lose by 35," he said. "Obviously, you can learn from a whole lot of things out there on the field and get better."
BECTON IN DOUBT, OTHERS OK
The injury news coming out of the Miami game wasn't nearly as bad as it might have seemed immediately afterwards when Satterfield noted that several starters had been banged up.
Now it looks as if the only one in danger of missing the NC State game -- although he would be a huge loss -- is junior offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, who suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter.
Becton, 6-foot-7, 369 pounds, has started 22 consecutive games for UofL and had played every snap in the first eight games this season. No doubt a number of Miami's 14 tackles for loss can be attributed to his absence either directly or indirectly.
"I think Mekhi is getting better and will probably be listed as day-to-day," Satterfield said. "We'll see how he is this week. Obviously, if he's available to play then we want to play him. If you ask him, he says he's playing. So we'll see. It's going to be one of those deals where he won't be ready to go at the beginning of the week but we'll see where he's at in the middle of the week or towards the end of the week."
After his injury, Becton spent the second half in a walking boot and street clothes. If Becton can't play, sophomore Adonis Boone (6-5, 298) would get his first career start. He has played some this year, but primarily at guard.
"Boone came in (at Miami) and did really good," Satterfield said. "He gave up one sack, a guy ran around him, but other than that I thought he played well. You get thrust into that position, particular at left tackle where he hadn't played much, and it's tough. We are obviously glad that we got him in there and got his feet wet earlier in the season. But going back and watching the film, he held his own."
Satterfield said wide receiver Tutu Atwell and starting quarterback Micale Cunningham "should be fine and ready to go" this weekend.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.