Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Offensive Coordinator Marcus Satterfield ‘Calloused’ by 2022 Play-Calling Criticisms

January 11, 2023

Marcus Satterfield learned to roll with the punches. He’s called plays as offensive coordinator at UT Martin, Chattanooga, Temple and then most recently South Carolina. And each stop truly stood apart from the others.

The Tennessee native spent two years as offensive coordinator at UT Martin. The second year started slow with three straight losses under 27 points. They finished the season with three straight games scoring 43 points or more (including a 76-point output against Murray State involving 531 rushing yards and seven touchdowns). In total, his offense averaged 34.5 points per game that year with 5.0 yards per run and 7.7 yards per pass. Four rushers ran for over 200 yards and three receivers put up 300 yards.

His time at Chattanooga started against Alabama. The next season involved the Mocs scoring 35 points or more in six of 11 games. His third season started with a lopsided loss to Nebraska in Lincoln. It was the first time Satterfield coached against the Huskers. On the Mocs’ first play of the season, he showed his mentality.

“If you want to do something fun, go look at the first play of the season I called that day here at Memorial Stadium,” Satterfield said last week. That play, a run up the middle with fullback Taharin Tyson, went for 4 yards through the heart of a Husker defense that allowed just 7 points that day.

Matt Rhule hired Satterfield as Temple’s offensive coordinator following that Chattanooga stint. While the Owls won just two games, they tallied over 400 yards per game for just the second time in program history. That developed with a more consistent running game. Not only did Satterfield develop B.J. Coleman at Chattanooga into an NFL Draft pick, he developed Temple quarterback PJ Walker and running back Jahad Thomas into NFL Draft picks.

His arrival in South Carolina two years ago preceded the arrival, by a season, of highly touted former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler. Rattler didn’t meet colossal expectations in Norman. He transferred to South Carolina where things clicked in 2022. Rattler threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns against No. 5 Tennessee in a huge upset. He followed that with 360 yards and three all-purpose touchdowns against No. 8 Clemson.

“Just continuing to believe in what we believe in and continuing to coach and Spencer Rattler, his development at the end of the year and how he played, just a culmination of hard work all the way from last spring through the season,” Satterfield said. “If you do that you, keep developing, keep coaching, you’re going to end up playing well at the right time.”

Some South Carolina fans grew tired Satterfield’s play calling this season. Sure, the Gamecocks beat ranked Kentucky with an efficient offense. But a 44-30 loss to Arkansas and 48-7 loss to eventual dominant National Champion Georgia brought criticism. Fans didn’t want to wait any longer. Then came the wins over Tennessee and Clemson.

“He called every single play last night, and that’s what kills me. Are these so-called people on the headphones last night,” South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer said after the Tennessee game. “He put the game plan together, along with the rest of the offensive staff, and he called every single play last night. I think there was one instance last night where I told him to take a shot and throw the ball down field. Other than that, he did everything last night, and did a great job of it.”

Satterfield heard the criticism from fans last year. He tried to block out that noise but knows it’s part of the game. Head coach, play caller and quarterback catch the flack whether it’s deserved or not.

“Any time you have to go through something like that it’s going to callous you up, toughen you up,” he said. “Enjoyed my time there, I loved it, it was a great experience and great opportunity. I think it only toughened, calloused me up to be even more successful here.”

Satterfield already heard play calling criticism in Lincoln. Bring the fullback back. He plans to. Can’t win in the Big Ten without controlling the line of scrimmage. Sometimes that calls for a burley run up the middle.

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