QB Bridgford transferring from Cal

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Erstwhile Cal quarterback Allan Bridgford, head coach Sonny Dykes confirmed last week, has spent the past few days contemplating his future with the Bears.

The contemplation has come to an end and, as expected, that future involves moving on from the Berkeley school.

Bridgford confirmed Monday evening on his Twitter account that he has decided to leave the football program and will transfer to an unknown school.  The player informed his head coach of the decision earlier in the day.

“Today I asked for my release from the CAL football team. I plan on graduating this summer and transferring 2 another school 2 play football,” one of Bridgford’s tweets read. “I want to thank everyone who has ever supported me in any way. I love CAL and always will. It is time for me to move on and God has a plan for me. Go bears, always.”

Bridgford had left the team mid-week to discuss with his family his future with the team.  The decision comes after he was informed by the coaching staff that his practice time would be reduced this spring.

“We wish Allan all the best both on the football field and in the classroom,” Dykes said in a statement. “He is a quality quarterback that should have success in an offense suited for his skill set. His contributions to Cal football over the past four years are appreciated, and we are pleased that he has decided to graduate from Cal this summer.”

Zach Kline, a four-star member of Cal’s 2012 recruiting class who took a redshirt as a true freshman, entered spring as the favorite to replace Zach Maynard as the starter.  True freshman Jared Goff (four-star member of this year’s recruiting class) and redshirt junior Austin Hinder are also eating up reps that otherwise might have gone to Bridgford.

In a statement, Bridgford confirmed that his departure was directly tied to practice reps, or lack thereof.

“As the team’s most experienced quarterback, I expected to take the majority of reps this spring,” Bridgford added. “But after having limited reps in the first four spring practices, I met with both offensive coordinator Tony Franklin and head coach Sonny Dykes. It was made clear to me that they had decided to go in a different direction.”

Last season, Bridgford started three games, completing less than 46 percent of his passes for 277 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.  He was the only QB on the Cal roster who’s thrown a pass at the FBS level.

Because he will graduate from Cal, Bridgford can transfer to another FBS-level school and play immediately, provided he enters a grad program not offered at his former school.  In his statement, Bridgford also alluded to being granted a sixth season of eligibility and playing two more years at the collegiate level.

Bridgford did not play in 2009 as a true freshman (redshirt) or in 2010 (shoulder injury).  The player will likely appeal to the NCAA that his redshirt season was due to a medical issue.

Pitt hires WMU’s Cory Sanders as safeties coach, promotes Charlie Partridge

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It’s taken a little longer than he would have liked but Pat Narduzzi finally has a complete coaching staff.

Pitt announced on Saturday morning that Cory Sanders was joining the program as the Panthers 10th assistant and will be coaching the safeties. The veteran was most recently at Western Michigan in 2017 and also has head coaching experience at the Division II level.

“Cory Sanders really impressed us during the interview process,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “We will be adding a young, up-and-coming coach who has outstanding football knowledge and really excels at teaching the fundamentals. Cory is also a relentless recruiter with a great eye for evaluation. He is a great addition to our staff and now gives us two coaches—along with Archie Collins—who will focus on the secondary.”

Collins, who was hired late last month, is set to focus on coaching the cornerbacks and also heads to the Steel City from a directional school in Michigan (Central, in this case). The pair will essentially split the job that former assistant Renoldo Hill handled before he left to join the Miami Dolphins staff.

The school also announced that defensive line coach Charlie Partridge was being promoted to assistant head coach after his name surfaced in connection to several openings this offseason. Paris Johnson, a former graduate assistant for Narduzzi back at Michigan State, was named assistant director of player personnel as well.

Purdue QB David Blough cleared for spring practice

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In a stark change from most offseason news in the sport, Purdue has something positive personnel-wise to hang its hat on moving forward.

By way of the Indianapolis Star, head coach Jeff Brohm revealed Friday that David Blough is “way ahead of schedule” and has been cleared to participate in spring practice, which kicks off this coming Monday, for the Boilermakers.  Just how much of a participant the quarterback will be remains to be seen, though.

“He’s doing a great job and he will be out there at spring practice and will be participating,” Brohm said according to the Star. ‘Whether it will be fully that remains to be seen. He will be out there Day 1 and doing some portions of practice.

“We’ve got to make sure we protect him, especially in 11-on-11 settings. We’ll see how the first week goes if we can progress on that.”

Blough suffered a dislocated ankle in a November win over Illinois and missed the remainder of the 2017 season.  At the time of the injury, it was thought that it and the subsequent recovery process would keep the junior out of spring practice.

Blough had started the two games leading up to his season-ending injury, with Brohm confirming that the rising senior will be the starter as this offseason kicks off in earnest.  Elijah Sindelar, who reclaimed the starting job after Blough’s injury, will miss spring practice as he continues to recover from a torn ACL on which he played for the last month of the regular season plus the Boilermakers’ bowl game.

Illinois adds longtime NFL assistant; DC Hardy Nickerson given beefed-up title

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There was some movement on the coaching staff front for Lovie Smith Friday.

Illinois announced earlier today that Gill Byrd has been hired by Smith as the Fighting Illini’s safeties coach.  Byrd will also hold the title of passing-game coordinator.

“I’m very pleased to have Gill Byrd join the Illini coaching staff,” said Smith in a statement. “We’ve spent several seasons together in the NFL and I envision Gill bringing a great combination of knowledge and enthusiasm to our program. He will be a terrific influence on the young men he coaches, and, as good a coach as he is, he is probably an even better person.”

Byrd, who played his college football at San Jose State, has spent the past 19 seasons at the NFL level, coaching defensive backs during stops with the St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, most recently, with the Buffalo Bills last season.  This will mark Byrd’s first-ever job at any level of college football.

In addition to the hiring of Byrd, the football program also confirmed that Hardy Nickerson has been given the additional title of assistant head coach.  Nickerson has served as the Illini’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for each of the past two seasons.

Texas to give Todd Orlando raise to $1.7 million per year

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Everything’s bigger in Texas — including the raises.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the University of Texas System Board of Regents are set to approve several athletics-related contracts next week, headlined by athletic director Chris Del Conte’s multi-million dollar six-year deal and a hefty raise for Longhorns defensive coordinator Todd Orlando.

Orlando, who joined Tom Herman when he came over from Houston prior to last season, was already one of 15 assistants who were making over $1 million in 2017. He was courted by several programs this offseason however and the cost to retain him on the 40 Acres didn’t come cheap as his amended contract is set to pay him a reported $1.7 million as part of a new four-year deal.

Also on tap for the board? The Statesman notes that new offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Herb Hand has a three-year contract awaiting approval worth nearly $640,000 annually.

While all those new contracts do add up for the Longhorns, it’s not like the burnt orange can’t afford it all as one of a handful of programs who topped $200 million in revenue last year.