Big 12 Football Media Day 1 Recap

Big 12 Media Days kicked off yesterday here in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium. Scott Satterfield was joined by offensive lineman Luke Kandra, running back Corey Kiner, defensive back Derrick Canteen, as well as Mason Fletcher.

Below is a recap of everything said by Coach Satterfield regarding the off-season and what Cincinnati will look like this coming season. 

1. Rushing attack should be strong again 

Offensive lineman Luke Kandra has racked up multiple preseason All American and All Conference honors, while Corey Kiner is coming off a 1,000 yard rushing season. With all five offensive linemen back, along with Kiner, Cincinnati should be one of the better rushing teams in the country this season.

"One of the great things that we have going for us, I think, this year is bringing back several of our key players from last year's team, including our starting five offensive linemen coming back and really the two top reserve O linemen coming back. We have Corey Kiner, 1,000-yard rusher, coming back. Our top receiver, Xzavier Henderson, coming back. We're excited about that."


2. Status of All American defensive tackle Dontay Corleone

When it was announced 12 days ago that defensive tackle Dontay Corleone would be out indefinitely after blood clots were found in his lungs, it came as a shock to a lot of people. Fortunately for Dontay, things are progressing and he is back with the team participating in light work outs.

"Fortunately, for Dontay, there was nothing else. Everything else, his health, his heart, no other blood clots. So now right now working with the medical team, he actually is back with our team working out. Started last week. He's been with our team yesterday and today. So he will continue to work out all summer, hopefully. We're taking it day-by-day."

Satterfield went on to say that there is hope that as things progress in to fall camp, Corleone will be able to play and ready to go.

"I know he wants to. He's such an incredible young man. But I think we'll take this day by day and we'll see where it's at. But obviously the hope is that he'll be able to able to play with us this fall and play at a high level."

Satterfield has been very vocal about Dontay's leadership and how much he means to the team both on and off the field.

"He means everything to our football team. He is from Cincinnati, went to high school there, grew up there, has been a huge part of our program for many years. He's one of our outstanding leaders on our team."

3. Culture and team first

Some of the failures from last season were a result of a lack of discipline and everyone not being on the same page within the locker room. Heading into season two, there was an emphasis on surrounding the program with those who exhibit the effort, attitude, and toughness necessary to start building the type of culture and every day habits that meet the expectations of the program standards. 

33 players exited via the transfer portal and 47 new scholarship players were added between the transfer portal and high school recruiting.

Being mentally tough was the first step of a grueling off-season program to bring the program closer as a collective. 

"When I talk about toughness, it's not physical, but it's mental. Just being mentally tough because I think everybody, no matter what you're doing, you're facing a lot of negativity. You're facing things into your life that is difficult, but how are you going to get through that mentally."

"I think our players have really approached that this offseason. It's been huge for us. That EAT mantra is part of the thing to help bring it together, how connected can we be as a football team because I think the connected teams are the teams that win a lot of these games. Those are things we've been working on the whole offseason and summer, and that's what you can feel and sense when you walk through our building."

4. Defensive backfield struggles addressed

One of the biggest areas that needed to be addressed this off season was the defensive backfield. 

The Bearcats were one of the worst teams in the country at giving up big plays and struggled to defend the pass at times. 

Ormanie Arnold, Mekhi Miller, Kye Stokes, and Derrick Canteen were just three of the transfer additions to help shore up the defensive backfield. Those three, along with the returners, have spent the off season learning a new system under new defensive coordinator Tyson Veidt.

"We feel like those guys have certainly helped us out, did not give up those big plays, and they will help us as we go throughout this season."

"It's a new scheme. We all had to learn it, including returning players, but also all the guys we brought in. But I think all total maybe 12 new DBs when you count the freshmen and the transfer guys, and so -- but the new defense now, we're basically playing with five DBs, three safeties, and two corners, and hopefully we'll put a much better product on the field to stop people.

5. Schedule excitement

The Big 12 announced the additions of Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. The Bearcats will travel to Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, and UCF this season.

Satterfield discussed how the national footprint of the conference presents both challenges, as well as opportunities.

"To me, it's a great challenge and it's fun. It's fun for our players and our student-athletes that get to experience this, the fact that college football opens up so many doors for our players and our coaches to be able to experience everything this country has to offer. And I think that's fun, it's exciting, and it's certainly something that we look forward to."

 6. How disappointment of 3-9 season helped accelerate off season message

Scott Satterfield and his staff relied heavily on the team leaders to promote the type of culture expected within Cincinnati's program. The off season was one that many within have stated was the hardest they've been a part of during their playing careers. 

"Probably wouldn't have been as difficult as it has been this year because the guys really demanded it. Our coaches, our strength staff, everybody wanted it this offseason. We knew it needed to be the hardest thing. We were not a very disciplined football team last year, and it cost us games. We implemented an offseason program, was the most difficult program offseason that I've seen and been through, and our players will attest to that. Hopefully that translates to more success on the field. I know what it has done is it's made our guys tougher."

With so many new faces this off season, the program needed to be difficult to see how each individual handled adversity.

"They hated that feeling in that locker room and don't want to taste that feeling again. I think it was a strong motivation for this offseason."

6. Experience of offensive line should lead to improved quarterback play

Inconsistent quarterback play led to highs and lows this past season.

With the Bearcats still finishing fifth in the country in rushing, despite teams knowing they were going to run the ball, returning all five starters and both key reserves should lead to improved quarterback play and provide more consistency in the passsing game with the addition of Indiana transfer Brendan Sorsby as well as true freshman Samaj Jones. Brady Lichtenberg will also compete for the starting role. 

"Now, if we can get some great play out of the quarterback and be able to push the ball down the field, it will open up more in the running game as well. Hopefully this year we'll be able to stretch the field more with our receivers and throw the ball down the field a little more to help open up the run game better."

7. Quarterback Battle

With Indiana transfer Brendan Sorsby coming on this off season, it has created a three way battle to see who takes the role as QB1. 

Satterfield stated he plans that battle to continue in to fall camp before naming the game 1 starter. 

"We want those guys to compete. People mentioned Brendan Sorsby, you got Samaj Jones that we signed as a true freshman that just got to Cincinnati in January. And you've got Lichty [Brady Lichtenberg]. Lichty started one or two games for us last year and played a lot. All three of those guys are competing. And we're going to see how it goes throughout camp. I think it had been a great summer for those guys competing, and I tell you it doesn't hurt to have several guys that can play at the quarterback position. So we all know that. So I think by the end of the camp, hopefully a week or week and a half before our first game, we'll be able to name a starer"

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