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Virginia loses two defensive linemen to medical retirements

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Virginia has lost two defensive linemen to medical retirements, the school has announced. John Kirven and James Trucilla each walked away the game for undisclosed medical reasons. Both players will remain in school to complete their respective degrees.

“It is unfortunate when someone’s career ends prematurely,” Cavs head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in a statement. “We appreciate what John and James did as players for the program and they will remain a part of the team and always be members of our football family. I am excited they have decided to work as student assistants in our program. Both John and James came to UVa to enrich themselves as students in addition to playing football. I am excited to watch them continue to grow and mature as young men and to carve out their futures.”

Kirven, a defensive end, was a sophomore from Raleigh, N.C. He appeared in 10 games as a true freshman, posting one assisted tackle.

A junior defensive tackle from Erie, Pa., Trucilla appeared in 13 of a possible 25 games over two seasons on the active roster. He registered seven tackles over those 13 appearances.

The pair’s departure means Virginia is down to five active defensive linemen, though the Charlottesville Daily Progress notes that help is on the way in the form of three 2018 signees and graduate transfer Dylan Thompson, who arrives by way of Ohio State.

Virginia confirms addition of Ohio State grad transfer Dylan Thompson

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Virginia has officially added a transfer from a fellow Power Five program.

In late February, Dylan Thompson announced on social media that he had decided to transfer from Ohio State to the ACC school.  In a press release, the Cavaliers confirmed that the defensive lineman has been added to Bronco Mendenhall’s roster.

Thompson will complete his undergraduate degree at OSU this summer, which will bring him to Charlottesville as a graduate transfer.  This upcoming season will serve as Thompson’s final year of eligibility.

A three-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2014 recruiting class, Thompson was rated as the No. 22 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Illinois.  Injuries and academic issues helped to limit Thompson to just two games during his time in Columbus, with both appearances coming in 2017.

Virginia promotes Kelly Poppinga to co-defensive coordinator

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When Virginia opens its 2018 season, Kelly Poppinga will have some new responsibilities.

UVa. announced Thursday that Bronco Mendenhall has promoted Poppinga to co-defensive coordinator. The school stated in its release that Poppinga will “share defensive oversight” with Nick Howell, who’ll retain his title of defensive coordinator.

Poppinga spent the past two seasons as the Cavaliers’ special teams coordinator; Ricky Brumfield, hired as Mendenhall’s 10th assistant earlier this offseason, will assume those duties for the Hoos.

“Nick will continue to be our lead on the defensive side and will concentrate on the secondary,” Mendenhall explained in a statement. “Kelly will focus on our defensive front. He has a comprehensive understanding of our scheme and approach on defense having matriculated from player to graduate assistant to assistant coach in this system.

“With coach Brumfield taking over as the lead for our special teams, this provides an excellent chance to realign our coaching resources on the defense.”

Poppinga played his college football at BYU under Mendenhall in the mid-aughts. He has been on Mendenhall-led staffs since 2009 when he began his coaching career as a defensive intern at his alma mater.

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).

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.