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ACC confirms Charlotte home of football title game through 2030

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A relationship that’s was wobbly as recently as last year has been further solidified thanks to today’s development.

Wednesday, it was reported that the ACC would be announcing future venues — or venue, singular — for its football championship game.  A day later, the league confirmed, as expected, that its title game will remain in Charlotte for the foreseeable future.

The new agreement will keep the game at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium through the 2030 season.  The city was already set to host the game in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“Charlotte has been a tremendous home for the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game and we’re pleased to announce the Queen City as our championship destination through 2030,” said conference commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “With the outstanding efforts by the Charlotte Sports Foundation, Carolina Panthers and city of Charlotte, our game has grown into one of the premier sporting events in the country. We look forward every year to this annual celebration of ACC Football.”

Charlotte had played host to the ACC football championship game every year since 2010 before a controversial bill resulted in the conference yanking the 2016 game from the city and moving it to Orlando.  In 2017, the game was moved back to Charlotte.

Prior to 2010, the first three league title tilts were played in Jacksonville (2005-07) and the next two in Tampa (2008-09).

Former UCLA TE Chris Clark taking leave of absence from Pitt

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Chris Clark‘s winding college football journey has taken yet another twist.

After Tuesday’s practice, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi revealed that Clark has decided to take what was described by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a leave of absence from the Panthers football team.  No specific reason for the departure, which may or may not be temporary, was given.

Narduzzi did state that the door is open for a return.

A four-star member of UCLA’s 2015 recruiting class, Clark was rated as the No. 2 tight end in the country according to 247Sports.com.  In mid-September of that year, however, Clark left the Bruins football program, with the university placing restrictions on where he could transfer to that included Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.  A month after he left UCLA, he confirmed that he would be continuing his playing career at Syracuse; less than two weeks later, the Orange pulled their offer from Clark.

After moving on to Pitt, Clark sat out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  In 2017, Clark started eight of the 12 games in which he played.  The 6-6, 260-pounder caught 16 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown during his first on-field season at Pitt.

Prior to his unexpected sabbatical, Clark had been penciled in as the Panthers’ starting tight end for the 2018 season.

American, ACC announce officiating alliance

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The ACC and the American have struck a deal for a football officiating alliance, the American announced Monday. The new program will see the two conferences cooperate on all things officiating, from training to scheduling to evaluation.

With the move, the ACC’s Dennis Hennigan will oversee the alliance, while the American’s Terry McAulay will step down as the league’s coordinator of football officiating and the American will hire a new supervisor of football officials.

“We are excited to partner with the ACC regarding the administration of our football officiating program,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This alliance will provide both conferences with a deep roster of the best college football officials and will provide for greater efficiency and consistency in the training and evaluation of officials as well as enhanced opportunities for the recruitment of officials. We look forward to working with Dennis Hennigan, who was regarded as one of the top on-field officials in college football and has since become a leader on the administrative side. I also want to thank Commissioner John Swofford for his cooperation in reaching this mutually beneficial arrangement.”

The new alliance means ACC officials could oversee a Tulane-Tulsa game, while AAC officials would work a Clemson-Georgia Tech game. The ACC-AAC Alliance will go into effect for the 2018 season.

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.

Ex-Maryland OL coach Dave Borbely hired in same job by Pitt

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Once again, Pat Narduzzi has a full and complete coaching staff.

Pitt announced in a press release Monday that Dave Borbely has been hired as Narduzzi’s latest offensive line coach. Borbely replaces John Peterson, who spent three years overseeing the Panthers’ line before parting ways with the program last month.

Borbely comes to Pittsburgh from Maryland, where he spent the past two seasons. The 37-year coaching veteran spent his first season with the Terrapins as line coach, then served as the special assistant to head coach D.J. Durkin the second.

Borbely also has a professional tie to Narduzzi’s staff as he worked with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson when the two were at Louisville together from 2011-13. He also coached the Cardinals’ line in 2010 as well.

“After a long and detailed search, I’m really thrilled to welcome Dave Borbely as our new offensive line coach,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “We could not have hired a more experienced or qualified coach to continue our growth on the offensive front. Dave is an outstanding teacher who knows how to develop players.

“He owns a long relationship with our offensive coordinator, Shawn Watson, which will be a major strength for our coaches and players alike. Dave has a great football mind and will be a huge asset in our game planning throughout the season.”

In addition to his time at Maryland and Louisville, Borbely has also been the line coach at Virginia (2015, 2006-09), Colorado (2002-05), Notre Dame (1998-2001), Stanford (1995-97), Tulane (1992-94) and Rice (1986-88).

“I want to thank Coach Narduzzi and the Pitt staff for this opportunity,” Borbely said. “To have the chance to coach at an institution with such rich history like Pitt is a huge honor for me. Also, to have the opportunity to coach where Joe Moore started his great legacy as the best in the business is very humbling. I’m greatly looking forward to getting started.”