Western Michigan athletics

Western Michigan medically DQs ex-Syracuse DT Steven Clark, too

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Steven Clark‘s desire to continue his collegiate playing career has run into yet another, likely final, roadblock.

In July of last year, Clark announced his decision to transfer to Western Michigan. According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, the defensive lineman was medically disqualified by WMU shortly before the start of spring practice this year.

While no specific reason was given, Clark was medically disqualified by Syracuse in June of last year because of a genetic disorder that makes him susceptible to blood clots. According to the Post-Standard at the time, “four independent doctors cleared Clark for physical activity — two before the disqualification and two after.”

Even as Clark will no longer play football for the Broncos, he will remain a part of the team as a student assistant. He will also remain enrolled in classes at WMU.

Last season, Clark started 11 games at defensive tackle for the Broncos. He was credited with 27 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback hits in what turned out to be his lone season in Kalamazoo.

The lineman ended the Orange portion of his playing career having played in 21 games, starting nine of those contests. He was credited with 37 tackles, three tackles for loss and a pair of fumble recoveries in his two seasons with the ACC program.

Former Michigan WR Drake Harris announces transfer to Western Michigan

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Michigan wideout Drake Harris announced  in November he’s leaving Ann Arbor for his final season of college football. On Saturday, we learned Harris is heading west. But not that far west.

Harris revealed in an Instagram post he will enroll at Western Michigan as a graduate transfer, allowing him to play immediately for the Broncos. “I’m happy to announce that I will be playing my last year of eligibility at Western Michigan University, while pursuing a masters degree. Excited to get working with Coach Lester and the rest of the coaching staff for a great year next season. Go Broncos,” he wrote.

Harris was one of the prized members of Brady Hoke‘s final recruiting class, but never found his footing as a Wolverine. In 25 career games, Harris caught nine passes for 60 yards.

He’ll join a receiving corps that returns intact but could use help. Western Michigan returns all eight wide receivers who caught a pass in 2017, but none of them snagged more than 30 receptions. WMU ranked 111th in completions and 116th in passing en route to a 6-6 finish in Tim Lester‘s first season as head coach.

Harris will face Syracuse in his first game as a Bronco — Aug. 31 in Kalamazoo — before returning to a familiar place for Game No. 2. Western Michigan visits the Big House on Sept. 8.

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.

Cincinnati, Western Michigan ink home-and-home series

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Cincinnati and Western Michigan have agreed to a 2-game home-and-home series, it was announced Monday.

The Bearcats will host WMU on Sept. 12, 2020, and Western Michigan will host Cincinnati on Sept. 10, 2022.

The programs have met three times prior. Cincinnati and Western Michigan also played a home-and-home in 1949-50; the Bearcats won both games by scores of 27-6. Cincinnati also won their meeting in the 2007 International Bowl in Toronto,  a 27-24 triumph.

Cincinnati already has road games lined up with Miami (Ohio) and Nebraska in 2020, with a Sept. 5 opener still to fill. Considering the Bearcats already have two MAC opponents and a Big Ten trip lined up, that game will almost certainly be a home game and likely against an FCS opponent. In 2022, Cincinnati will host Indiana and play Miami (Ohio) at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, with their Sept. 3 opener still unfilled.

Western Michigan also has a road trip to Notre Dame on the schedule for Sept. 19, 2020, and does not have any other games slated for 2022.

Western Michigan promotes Jake Moreland to offensive coordinator to replace Kevin Johns

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Western Michigan is staying in-house to fill their offensive coordinator vacancy and dipping into the FCS ranks to complete Tim Lester’s 2018 coaching staff.

The school announced on Thursday that Jake Moreland was being promoted to the Broncos’ full-time offensive coordinator and would remain as the team’s offensive line coach as well. Eric Evans will move from coaching the running backs to handling the quarterbacks while Terry Malone will shift to coaching Evans’ old spot with the running backs. Dontae Wright heads to Kalamazoo from Tennessee Tech and was named co-special teams coordinator and safeties coach to round out the staff.

“After evaluation of our staff heading into year two with the program, we wanted to keep as much continuity as possible as we continue to build towards MAC Championships,” Lester said. “Following the departure of Kevin Johns, Coach Moreland was the right fit to step in and coordinate our offense.”

Johns left late last month to become the new Texas Tech offensive coordinator after spending a season with WMU and guiding them into the top 25 in scoring offense despite a host of injuries.

The promotion of Moreland to OC probably isn’t too surprising considering he was an All-MAC tight end at the school back in the late 90’s and was a frequent target of the now-head coach when he was a quarterback for the Broncos. The internal promotions and shifts will certainly help continuity within the program and make the transition from Johns to Moreland much easier when Western Michigan starts spring practice in just a few days on February 20th.