Oregon v California

QB Bridgford transferring from Cal


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.

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles to transfer

Patrick Towles

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles will transfer, he announced in an Instagram post Sunday afternoon.

Towles leaves school as Kentucky’s sixth-most prolific passer, completing 427-of-759 passes for 5,099 yards with 24 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

Once compared to Ben Roethlisberger, Towles’ career peeked in a 2014 game with then-No. 1 Mississippi State, as he completed 24-of-43 passes for 390 yards with two touchdowns in a 45-31 loss to the Bulldogs.

But Kentucky stumbled down the stretch, starting 5-1 and finishing 5-7, and Towles stumbled through a 2015 campaign in which he threw nine touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

He’d been passed by freshman Drew Barker by the end of the season, and threw only four passes in a loss to Louisville on Saturday.

A junior, Towles will complete his political science degree in December and be eligible for immediate playing time at a new destination in 2016.

Penn State fires offensive coordinator John Donovan

Penn State football practice, Sept 9, 2015

Penn State has fired offensive coordinator John Donovan, the program announced Sunday.

“I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in the last five years,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Donovan originally hooked up with Franklin when the two were at Maryland, then coordinated his offenses at Vanderbilt and later Penn State.

Despite playing with what many project to be a future first-round pick in quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Penn State ranked 101st nationally in scoring, 108th in total offense and 80th in yards per play.

Penn State dropped its final three games of the regular season and averaged only 14.6 points in its five losses.

Purdue retains head coach Darrell Hazell, fires both coordinators

Markell Jones
AP Photo

It’s never a good thing when a head coach has to fire both of his coordinators on the same day. Of course, it’s never a good thing to be 6-30, either.

Both are realities at Purdue, as the Boilers announced Sunday head coach Darrell Hazell will return for a fourth season in 2016, but offensive coordinator John Shoop, defensive coordinator Greg Hudson and defensive line coach Rubin Carter will not.

“I appreciate the efforts of each of those guys over the last three years,” Hazell said in a statement. “They are quality men who are well respected by their players and their peers, and I am disappointed that things didn’t work out better. But I believe that in order to turn around this program, we need to make some significant changes and move in a different direction at those positions.”

Purdue, 2-10 in 2015, ranked 115th nationally in yards per play and 112th in yards per play allowed.

Virginia Tech announces Justin Fuente as head coach; Bud Foster to stay on as DC

Associated Press

Justin Fuente is officially Virginia Tech’s new head coach. A day after reports linked the two parties, the Hokies made the match official by announcing the 39-year-old as their new head coach on Sunday afternoon.

“Justin is a very impressive individual who also happens to be one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said in a statement. “He elevated Memphis to unprecedented heights. His recruiting philosophy is progressive and comprehensive. Coach Fuente has displayed tremendous talent in evaluating players and developing young men as they strive to reach their full potential. Simply put, Coach Fuente exudes all the qualities that Hokies hold near and dear. We are excited to officially welcome Justin Fuente as the leader of the Virginia Tech football program.”

Fuente went 26-23 in four years as Memphis’s head coach, but his success runs far beyond a simple won-loss record. After going 7-17 in his first two seasons, Fuente guided the Tigers to a 19-6 mark in 2014-15, which included a 15-game winning streak, a No. 13 national ranking and a win over rival Ole Miss within that run.

Simply put, it was the absolute peak of modern Memphis football.

And now Fuente is tasked with taking Virginia Tech to new heights. The Hokies dominated the ACC throughout much of the 2000’s, taking conference crowns in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010. But as Florida State and Clemson have risen, Virginia Tech has fallen.

After posting 13 top-25 finishes in 14 seasons, the Hokies are set to conclude their fourth straight campaign outside the national rankings, going just 16-16 in ACC play over that span.

The offensive numbers state exactly why Fuente was hired, and what he must do in Blacksburg; Memphis ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense and eighth in passing efficiency, while Virginia Tech sits at 64th and 59th, respectively.

The cupboard is not bare, though. Virginia Tech is in the midst of a 23-year bowl streak, and Fuente has already secured one key commitment — longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster has agreed to stay on staff.

“I’ve been privileged to work for a legendary coach who always did it the right way,” Foster said. “I enjoyed that chapter and the success we’ve had, however, I am equally excited for the next chapter and working for Justin. Justin and I share a vision for the future of our program. After spending time together, I’m convinced he’s the right person to continue building on the standard we’ve established at Virginia Tech. I’m truly looking forward to working with him and supporting him.”

Clearly, Babcock and the VT brass believe, a Fuente offense and a Foster defense are what the Hokies need to catch Clemson and Florida State.

Now it’s Fuente’s job to make that happen.