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Panthers next search for an offensive coordinator
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton and the Panthers offense are once again in limbo following the departure of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
Last year marked the first time Newton worked with the same coordinator in back-to-back seasons since high school and the second-year quarterback improved as the season progressed. But with Chudzinski being introduced Friday as the Cleveland Browns new head coach, the direction of the Panthers' offense is unclear.
Coach Ron Rivera declined interview requests Friday, saying in a statement "there's no timetable" to name Chudzinski's replacement.
Rivera fired two offensive assistants Tuesday leaving quarterbacks coach Mike Shula as the only staff member with previous experience as an offensive coordinator. However, Shula struggled in that role with Tampa Bay from 1996-99 and the Panthers could look outside the organization for a replacement.
ACC SCHEDULING MODEL
ACC begins new football scheduling model
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference has launched a football scheduling model for the arrival of Pittsburgh and Syracuse this fall.
The league says each ACC team will play an eight-game schedule, with six coming within its division. Of the two cross-divisional games, one will be against the same scheduling partner every season and the other will rotate every year.
The Atlantic Division members will host their primary partners from the Coastal Division this fall, while the Coastal teams will host games with their rotating cross-divisional opponents. As a result, six games will return to the same site as last year's matchup.
Pittsburgh heads to the Coastal, Syracuse to the Atlantic and the two will play every year as primary partners in the 14-team league.
The ACC releases team schedules next month.
Howell taking charge for No. 20 Wolfpack
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Richard Howell doesn't mind all the attention going to his more heralded North Carolina State teammates. The senior is focused on ensuring his team meets its potential as an Atlantic Coast Conference contender.
The 6-foot-8 forward is providing interior toughness and relentless rebounding for the No. 20 Wolfpack. Heading into Saturday's home game against top-ranked Duke, Howell doesn't want N.C. State to squander any opportunity to claim the league title it was picked to win in the preseason.
Howell is averaging about 13 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the field.
He said he focuses every game on playing "as hard as I could every second I was on the floor."
Duke center Mason Plumlee said the Blue Devils will have to concentrate on boxing out Howell.
FLORIDA ST ACC SCHEDULE
Seminoles to play both new incoming ACC members
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State will play both of the league's new conference members in 2013.
The league's newest members, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, are both on the Seminoles' schedule. Florida State, which finished 10th in The Associated Press final poll after posting a 12-2 record in 2012, will host Syracuse along with Miami, Maryland and North Carolina State in league play while visiting Clemson, Boston College, Wake Forest and Pitt.
Although ACC officials released the opponents for conference games on Friday, the dates won't be finalized until sometime in February.
Wofford, Nevada and Idaho are the nonconference opponents now slated to visit Tallahassee while the Seminoles will conclude their regular season against archrival Florida in Gainesville. Wofford is the lone lower-division opponent the Seminoles will face next season.
UNRANKED TRADITIONAL POWERS
Kentucky, UNC, UCLA still sorting things out
Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA are all unranked together for the first time in more than two decades.
The tradition-rich programs with 24 NCAA championships between them are still seeking an identity after falling from the Top 25 due to inconsistent nonconference play fueled by inexperience, players in new roles and injuries.
The Wildcats and Bruins have shown signs of figuring things out now that league play has begun, but the Tar Heels' struggles have worsened.
UCLA started the year with eligibility concerns over star freshman Shabazz Muhammad and a home loss to Cal Poly, though it has won eight straight. Kentucky lost three times in the first month and its latest freshman haul is still adjusting to college. UNC has started 0-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.