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Virginia Tech looking at options to play Dec. 1 to make up cancelled East Carolina game


File this under things you don’t want to go through with, but have to explore just because.

Per the Daily Press‘ David Teel, Virginia Tech is exploring their options to play a makeup game on December 1st if the Hokies miss the ACC Championship Game. This contest will replace their game against East Carolina that was cancelled last month as a result of Hurricane Florence.

The Hokies (3-1, 2-0 ACC) hope to qualify for that day’s league title game but are pondering contingencies. Other Football Bowl Subdivision teams that lost games due to Florence include Central Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia, Southern Mississippi, Appalachian State, Marshall and South Carolina.

Like Virginia Tech, five of those seven — North Carolina and South Carolina are the exceptions — have realistic aspirations of playing in their conference championship game.

What is a bit eyebrow-raising to some is the fact that East Carolina also had a potential open date on Dec. 1 but instead of linking up with Tech to possibly get their game in, the Pirates turned around and entered into an agreement to play at N.C. State that week (provided neither makes the conference title game). Spurning the Hokies to play the Wolfpack will probably not be something that’s forgotten by those in Blacksburg.

As for the remaining options that Justin Fuente’s team could play in early December, the most attractive option to fans in college football would probably be UCF but it seems like a sure bet to pencil in the Knights for the AAC title game that week. South Carolina probably wouldn’t want to travel a week after playing Clemson and all the others are at or near the top of their respective division (and UNC is a division foe) standings. Southern Miss seems like the most realistic possibility for Virginia Tech but who knows if they would want to possibly take a potential extra loss that would impact bowl eligibility.

Based on Teel’s discussion with AD Whit Babcock, it seems as though an FCS makeup game is off the table and it’s possible no agreement is even reached to play another game and Virginia Tech simply plays 11 in the regular season.

The easiest solution to everything? The Hokies simply beat Miami in November and win the division. Easier said than done at this point but it sure would simplify the schedule and the upcoming process that the administration is about to embark on to get another game in.

Ohio State co-DC Jeff Hafley reportedly rebuffed interview overtures from Cincinnati Bengals

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The Cincinnati Bengals were rebuffed in its pursuit of an SEC defensive coordinator this past week.  As it turns out, they pursued another coordinator at the collegiate level — and were shot down yet again.

According to a report from the NFL Network, the Bengals sought an interview with new Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley for their still-vacant coordinator job. “However,” the report stated, “he’s not going to renege on his commitment to OSU after taking the job last month.”

On Jan. 7, the Buckeyes confirmed Hafley and Michigan assistant Greg Mattison had been named as co-coordinators on Ryan Day‘s first OSU coaching staff.

The 39-year-old Hafley — he’ll turn 40 in April — has spent the past three seasons as the defensive backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers.  All told, Hafley worked at the NFL for the last seven seasons.

Hafley’s last job at the collegiate level coming at Rutgers in 2011 as part of the coaching staff of Greg Schiano, who was let go by Day as OSU’s defensive coordinator early last month.

Ex-Illinois WR Mike Bellamy returning to Illini as RBs coach

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A familiar face will reportedly be next up on the offensive side of Lovie Smith‘s Illinois coaching staff.

Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette was one of a handful reporting Friday that Smith is set to name Mike Bellamy as his new running backs coach.  While there’s nothing yet official from the football program, a school official stated that a staff announcement could come as early as this weekend.

The hiring of Bellamy, who would replace an assistant lost to a MAC school, would mark a Champaign homecoming on a couple of fronts.

In the late eighties, Bellamy was a first-team All-Big Ten wide receiver and second-team All-American kick returner for the Illini.  Then, from 2012-15, Bellamy served as wide receivers coach at his alma mater.

The past two seasons, Bellamy was the wide receivers coach at Toledo.  In between his stints at Toledo and Illinois, he was a quality control coach at Mississippi State in 2016.

Arkansas reportedly hiring Auburn staffer for on-field role

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One SEC West school has turned to another from the same division to fill a hole on its coaching staff.  Reportedly.

According to, and citing two sources familiar with the decision, Chad Morris is expected to hire Kenny Ingram as Arkansas’ defensive line coach. Morris’ move to add a new assistant to his Razorbacks staff was triggered by John Scott‘s move to South Carolina earlier this offseason.

Ingram, who played his college football at Arkansas State, has spent the past two seasons as the Director of Player Relations at Auburn.

Prior to his time on The Plains, Ingram worked as the defensive line coach at Cincinnati from 2015-16.  From 2006-09, he was on the coaching staff at Memphis, including a turn as defensive coordinator his last season with the Tigers.

In 2012, Ingram worked with the defensive line at his alma mater ASU.

Lincoln Riley’s brother named App State running backs coach

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Garrett Riley is a bright, accomplished coach in his own right, but until he wins back-to-back Heismans with two different quarterbacks (or, at least becomes a head coach in his own right), he’s going to be known as his big brother’s little brother. With that in mind: Lincoln Riley’s brother has been announced as Appalachian State’s new running backs coach.

“I’m excited to be part such a traditionally successful program,” Riley said in a statement. “I’m humble and grateful to have the opportunity to be around this organization and work with Coach Drink and the rest of the staff that I’ve known about for several years. Look forward to continuing the great success that Appalachian State’s had, and I can’t wait to start working with the players.”

Garrett followed Lincoln to Texas Tech and East Carolina before branching out on his own at Kansas, where he joined the staff as an offensive analyst in 2016 and was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2017 and tight ends/fullbacks coach in 2018.

Appalachian State has not announced an offensive coordinator under new head coach Eli Drinkwitz — and certainly the head coach, a former offensive coordinator himself, will have tremendous sway on his favored side of the ball initially — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Riley become the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 or 2021. “We’re looking to be cutting edge on offense, and we expect him to continue to push that,” Drinkwitz said Friday. “His experience coaching in North Carolina will also benefit our program.”