Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

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Western Kentucky names Jeff Brohm head coach

Western Kentucky didn’t waste any time hiring a replacement for Bobby Petrino.

Western Kentucky named offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm as the school's new head football coach, replacing Bobby Petrino who departed for Louisville. (Photo: Brandon Carter, WKU Herald)The Hilltoppers named Jeff Brohm, WKU’s offensive coordinator last season, their next head coach Friday afternoon.

School officials didn’t expect Petrino to be around long, and Brohm had been unofficially promised the job when he arrived as offensive coordinator.

Western Kentucky led the Sun Belt in yards per play (6.29) and ranked No. 29 nationally. The unit broke 18 single-season school records including total offense, individual passing yards and individual rushing yards.

The team finished 8-4, with a 4-3 record in Sun Belt play, but did not receive an invitation to play a bowl game.

Brohm is a former Louisville quarterback began his college coaching career with the Cardinals under Petrino in 2003. He remained on staff through 2008, remaining through the transition from Petrino to Steve Kragthorpe.

He left to join Howard Schnellenberger at FAU, followed by short stints at Illinois (2010-11) and UAB (2012).

Brohm then rejoined Petrino at Western Kentucky prior to the 2013 season, serving as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.

Photo: Brandon Carter, WKU Herald

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Western Kentucky DB Jonathan Dowling leaving for the NFL

Western Kentucky safety Jonathan Dowling is leaving early for the NFL.

Western Kentucky defensive back Jonathan Dowling is leaving early to enter the NFL Draft. (Photo: AP)Dowling, a redshirt junior, announced the decision via Twitter on Friday.

He totaled 67 tackles, three interceptions, and forced six fumbles during his redshirt junior campaign.

A four-star recruit from Bradenton (Fla.) Southeast, Dowling originally signed with Florida in the 2010 class but was released from the team less than a year later by Urban Meyer.

He sat out the 2011 season due to NCAA transfer rules before becoming one of WKU’s top defensive playmakers as a redshirt sophomore.

Dowling led the Hilltoppers with six interceptions and totaled 68 tackles in an all-Sun Belt Conference 2012 season.

Photo: AP

For an updated list of college underclassmen that have declared for the NFL Draft, click HERE.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Dec. 3

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued a statement reaffirming his support of head coach Dana Holgorsen.

West Virginia AD Oliver Luck (AP Photo)

West Virginia A,D. Oliver Luck says he believes in Dana Holgorsen. (Photo: AP)

In the statement, Luck said, “I strongly believe in our coaching staff, including the work that our strength and conditioning staff is doing. In my opinion, continuity is the key ingredient that will bring our football program back to the high level that Mountaineer fans expect.”

In reality, there are 11.3 million reasons that Holgorsen’s job is safe — as in the amount it would cost the school to buy out his contract. Holgorsen should get his agent a nice Christmas present this year.

Miami (Ohio) has hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin as head coach.

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has fired longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and second-year quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher, multiple sources confirmed to Lions247.

GatorBait.net reports that while former USC coach Lane Kiffin had a strong interest in the Florida offensive coordinator job at, but says that the Gators are unlikely to hire him. Mike Mularkey, Clay Helton and Blake Anderson are among the names we continue to hear. Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and UCLA’s Noel Mazzone are other names being mentioned.

According to AP writer Mark Long, Muschamp plans to scrap the pro-style system and switch to up-tempo an offense in 2014.

Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe has resigned.

Sources tell us Ball State’s Pete Lembo, Rice’s David Bailiff, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason and Tulane’s Curtis Johnson could be candidates for the job.

Multiple sources feel it’s likely June Jones will either leave SMU on his own accord or be fired. The national media is starting to report some chatter as well.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris and Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz are expected to be among the candidates to fill the job should it open.

Sources tell us that Hawaii head coach Norm Chow is weary of the job already and that the school might be happy for him to move along. There are strong rumors June Jones could return.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson “has worked with the Tulane Board to reconfigure football coach Curtis Johnson’s contract, as well as those of his assistants.”

Auburn’s Jay Jacobs plans a raise for Gus Malzahn.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says that Brady Hoke will lead the program “well into the future.” We assume that means he’s in no danger of losing his job (not that we ever thought he was).

Hoke says he has no plans to make any staff changes, even though many think he should.

According to the Tampa Tribune’s Joey Johnston, “USF coach Willie Taggart says he doesn’t anticipate any changes to his coaching staff.”

RealDawg reports that Washington athletic director Scott Woodward was “blindsided” by Steve Sarkisian’s move to USC and that defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, once thought to be next in line, is now unlikely to land the job.

Jim Mora would have been a candidate if he had wanted to be, but he reports indicate that he has agreed to a six year extension to stay at UCLA. Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are also rumored to be strong candidates, along with Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Vandy’s James Franklin.

The Seattle Times reports that Sarkisian’s buyout of $1.5 million is due within 30 days. the Times also reports that Wilcox would owe “$1 million, according to his contract. That penalty is triggered only if Wilcox leaves early ‘to take a position at another Pac 12 school, with the exception of Head Coach.'”

Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi would owe $410,000 if he were to leave.

Sports Radio KJR reports that Wilcox is headed to USC with Sarkisian.

Sources tell us that a loss to South Florida this weekend could mean the end of Kyle Flood’s tenure at Rutgers.

Western Kentucky’s Bobby Petrino says he won’t “deal with speculation” when asked if he was a candidate for other jobs.

Air Force’s Troy Calhoun is keeping quiet on possible staff changes.

We continue to hear that Florida International’s Ron Turner could go back to the NFL.

UNLV has given Bobby Hauck an extension.

At USC, Ed Orgeron has resigned and offensive coordinator Clay Helton will coach the Trojans bowl game.

Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage has again voiced his support for his embattled head football coach.

“I firmly believe that Mike London is going to be successful here at the University of Virginia,” Littlepage said.

In other words, London and his big buyout are safe for another year.

Sources tell us that Nebraska’s Bo Pelini still might not be 100% safe.

An ugly bowl performance could make things dicey. In other words, nothing is certain. He probably makes it, but this is still one to watch.

ESPN reports that Pelini will have to pay for his latest rant:

“The Big Ten Conference on Monday issued a public reprimand of the Cornhuskers’ head coach and fined the university $10,000 for Pelini’s comments about the officiating in a loss to Iowa last week. University spokeswoman Chris Anderson said the money will come out of Pelini’s compensation.”

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The Coaching Wire: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

Former Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain may be the leading candidate to be offensive coordinator at James Madison. (Photo: Roanoke Times)

Former Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain may be the leading candidate to be offensive coordinator at James Madison. (Photo: Roanoke Times)

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ormer N.C. State head coach Mike O’Cain looks like the favorite to be the offensive coordinator at James Madison. Hal Mumme was offered the position, but turned it down and is expected to join June Jones‘ staff at SMU this week. O’Cain, who coached the Wolfpack from 1993-99, was quarterbacks coach at Virginia Tech since 2006 before he was let go in January.

Curt Newsome, another Hokie assistant who was let go in January, was named James Madison’s offensive line coach earlier this month.

Kurt Beathard will be receivers coach at Youngstown State; completes staff

Kurt Beathard will be wide receivers coach at Youngstown State, completing Eric Wolford’s staff. Beathard was offensive coordinator at Gardner-Webb last season, and coached wide receivers at Illinois from 2007-09. The son of former NFL GM Bobby Beathard, he replaces Andre Coleman, who left to become wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Kansas State.

Lyle Hemphill promoted to defensive coordinator at Stony Brook

Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore promoted defensive backs coach Lyle Hemphill to defensive coordinator. Hemphill is in his second season at Stony Brook and has extensive CAA experience, serving two different stints with Delaware. He replaces Rob Neviaser, who left for Bowling Green.

South Florida’s Tagger promotes Holt; adds two new support staff members

South Florida coach Willie Taggert has promoted one support staff member to an on-the-field position and added two new support staff. Former director of player personnel Stu Holt will move to special teams coordinator. Paul Gonnella has been hired to fill Holt’s former role, while former USF player Marquel Blackwell has joined the staff as director of player development.

Holt has worked with special teams on numerous occasions throughout his coaching career, including stints as the special teams coordinator at Western Kentucky in 2005 and 2009.

Gonnella spent the 2012 season as director of player personnel at Alabama and was previously as a defensive graduate assistant and quality control assistant at Mississippi State. He has also worked with high school programs in Mississippi, Georgia and Massachusetts.

A four-year standout quarterback for USF from 1999-2002, Blackwell served on the Bulls’ coaching staff as a program assistant from 2009-11. He spent last season as a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky under coach Taggart. Prior to his first stint on the USF coaching staff, Blackwell served as the head football coach at Freedom High School in Tampa from 2007-08.

Carroll McCray announces completed Gardner-Webb staff

Gardner-Webb head coach Carroll McCray has announced the Bulldogs’ complete coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Dale Steele spent the past seven years as head coach at Campbell. Defensive coordinator Randall McCray most recently spent a season as special teams coordinator and outside linebackers/safeties coach at Pittsburgh under Todd Graham.

Six of the nine coaches spent the 2012 season with McCray at North Greenville, three on offense – Kenny Ray (assistant head coach and offensive line), Brett Nichols (quarterbacks) and La’Donte Harris (receivers) – and three on defense – Issac Mooring (defensive line), Brett Hickman (outside linebackers, special teams) and Rocco Adrian (cornerbacks).

Inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Travis Cunningham, has been with the Gardner-Webb program since 2001.

Stanford’s Shaw makes Morgan Turner hire official

Stanford head coach David Shaw officially introduced Morgan Turner as the Cardinal’s tight ends coach. We reported that Turner’s hiring yesterday.

Duke announces Boyette as running backs coach, other staff moves

David Cutcliffe has formally announced former player Re’Quan Boyette as the Duke’s running backs coach. We reported Boyette’s promption in last Thursday’s Wire. A former Blue Devil team captain, Boyette served as a graduate assistant last season.

With Boyette’s addition, Zac Roper shifts from coaching the running backs to tight ends and will assume the roles of both special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator. Derek Jones will become Duke’s assistant special teams coordinator in addition to defensive backs coach.

Cutcliffe also announced that both John Latina and Kurt Roper have added the assistant head coach titles while Latina also has been named the running game coordinator. Latina’s name was mentioned in several offensive line openings the past couple of months.

Longtime Penn State assistant tabbed as Western Michigan o-line coach

Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck has named longtime Penn State assistant Bill Kenney as the Broncos’ offensive line coach. Kenney began as a graduate assistant for the Nittany Lions in 1988 and worked with the offensive line from 1989-2011. He took on the role of recruiting coordinator in 1992-95 and worked directly with offensive tackles and tight ends from 2000-11.

Neil Callaway named offensive line coach at Western Kentucky

Veteran coach Neil Callaway has officially been named offensive line coach on Bobby Petrino’s staff at Western Kentucky. Most recently, Callaway served as the head coach at UAB from 2007-11. He was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Georgia from 2001-06. Callaway has served as an offensive line coach at three different schools in the Southeastern Conference, including Auburn, Alabama and Georgia during his 33-year career. He replaces Mike Summers, who was hired at USC last week.

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Petrino sets off firestorm with Hogs

Bobby Petrino's comments on a Nashville radio show about Arkansas' facilities angered Razorback fans. (Photo: Joe Imel/AP,The Daily News)

Bobby Petrino’s comments on a Nashville radio show about Arkansas’ facilities angered Razorback fans. (Photo: Joe Imel/AP,The Daily News)

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n case case anyone is wondering, Bobby Petrino is still a hot button issue with Arkansas fans.

The new Western Kentucky coach went in studio for an interview with Nashville’s WGFX 104.5 The Zone’s 3HL show on Tuesday, and managed to set off a firestorm among Razorback fans.

In the interview, Petrino accepted responsibility for the 4-8 season that came in the wake of his firing last April, but managed to peeve Arkansas fans with his comments that Western’s facilities were “way better” than Arkansas’ when Petrino first arrived in Fayetteville.

Like him or not, Petrino knows the game and has never been afraid to speak his mind. Lost in the uproar was a candid and interesting interview in which he shared his thoughts on the pistol formation and the evolution of offenses in college and the NFL, what he looks for in a quarterback, his plan for WKU, his “FTS” philosophy, some of his past coaching experiences and a lot more.

Below are some of the highlights.

On how much he is looking forward to getting back on the field this fall:
“It’ll be fun. You put a smile on my face just talking about it. You really miss it when you’re not out there, so to be able to get back on the field and work with young men and try to help them excel is something I’m really looking forward to.”

On how tough it was to spend a year out of coaching:
“It was very, very difficult. It’s always been a way of life for me, not necessarily a job. I grew up the son of a coach and it was just something you did every year, every fall. It was difficult, and then to watch them struggle and not play the way they played before, I felt a lot of responsibility for that.”

On what he did to keep up with the game during his season off:
“I was able to acquire video. From the previous year, I studied the NFL teams that were really good on offense — the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants. Then I was able to get each week, acquire some video from the SEC teams. I tried to stay involved as much as possible with what was new, what was Johnny Football doing to get Texas A&M in the end zone so often? It was really just trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything.”

On whether or not he believes the trend of running quarterbacks is here to stay:
“I think that’s just what you do is you incorporate your offense around your talent. What his skills are and his speed and his ability to run the football, it’s kind of like what the San Francisco 49ers did this year with (Colin) Kaepernick, you mold the offense around what your play caller can do. I think there’s some run parts of it that everyone will try to utilize, and if nothing else, they do it in practice so they learn how to stop it, but he is a special talent. I hired the offensive coordinator from Nevada thinking that we were going to have a running quarterback and we were going to go in that direction, but he is a talent. His speed, and his ability to be from right behind the center and then get out on the edge – I don’t think there’s a lot of quarterbacks that can do what he can do.”

On what he looks for when recruiting a quarterback:
“The first thing that you look for is a young man that is intelligent, and can learn – and is a willing learner. A guy that wants to get in and really understand defenses and have an understanding of exactly what you’re trying to do. They have to be able to spin the ball – throw the football – and I always try to make sure that I can see them in person because you really can’t tell off video. You have to be able to see their arm strength and that they at least have the ability to make all the different throws. And then, I like to recruit guys that have a proven track record of winning. The young man we got this year, one of the reasons we decided to go on him over some of the other guys we were looking at, is he was a three-year starter that has won every year in high school, and this year took his team to a very high level. That is something that really interests me.”

On whether or not the college game is leading the NFL in terms of offensive development:
“I think it comes back to the ability to run the football in a different manner. Now that you’re seeing the quarterback runs and the option runs out of the shotgun and pistol … You always have to be able to run the ball to win games, at some point – whether its the first quarter or the fourth quarter – it is going to be about who runs the ball better and who can stop the run. Obviously, the thing that was really impressive to me this year was how well those young quarterbacks played in the NFL. You used to never hear that, and I didn’t know if it had ever really happened because it’s such a different game, it’s so fast and windows are so small. It’s very impressive that those guys came in and excelled like they did this year.”

On the reception he’s received from Western Kentucky’s fans:
“It’s been great. I’m really excited to be there, and the support that we have. We had a signing party the other night and had 400 boosters come for it.”

On comparing Arkansas’ facilities when he first arrived in Fayetteville to WKU’s:
“I tell you what, it’s unbelievable the facilities we have at WKU. The weight room, training room and locker room are way off the charts, way better than what we had at Arkansas. They did a great job of designing the new facility, because our offices and meeting rooms are in great shape. My brother told me because he interviewed for the job four years ago told me how nice it was, but I really couldn’t understand it until I got there and saw it for myself.”

On how fast he thinks Western Kentucky can transition to his system:
“We’re going to have to do it fast. We went out and really worked hard on recruiting. The good thing is there’s three starters coming back on the offensive front, two really good tight ends back and a great running back. It’s going to be developing the passing game, and really working hard on the timing and the precision of it, getting the quarterback and the receivers and the offensive line in sync. It’ll be fun, but I think we can get it done in a short period of time.”

On what he expects from his quarterbacks this year:
“We’re going to have three guys that really compete for it this spring. It’ll be fun. It’s good competition. It’s wide open. They get to go in and determine who’s going to come out of spring ball as the starter. It doesn’t mean they will be the starter in the fall, but we will have somebody come out as a No. 1 in spring ball. What they need to do first of all is really learn and execute, and do what the coaches want them to do which is understand the offense, and understand defenses. I think that’s the thing that is so important at the quarterback position is to know what defenses are trying to do and the philosophy behind who you’re going against. One of our philosophies has always been FTS, which is ‘feed the studs.’ They need to learn how to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers and let them make the plays. That makes you a lot better coach – when you have a lot of guys that can make plays and a quarterback that can understand how to get the ball to them.”

On how much money he made in is first college coaching job:
“I went to Weber State as a gradate assistant, and I got a stipend check of $245 a month. We ate a lot of Top Ramen. Four of us lived together, one guy slept on the couch … but it was fun. We enjoyed it. When I was at the University of Idaho after my first year, I was elevated to the offensive coordinator and I went from making $29,000 a year to $36,000 a year and I thought that was pretty awesome. And then when we left Utah State where I was making $50,000 a year as the offensive coordinator and we came to the University of Louisville, it was the first time we hit six figures.”

On how he got the Jacksonville Jaguars’ job:
“I was sitting in the meeting room with my brother, Paul, and we were watching video from the year before, right around this time. … The secretary came in and said, ‘There’s a guy by the name of Tom Coughlin on the phone,’ and we both kind of laughed and joked, yeah right. … I went and got on the phone and Coach Coughlin told me his offensive coordinator just left and took the head job with the Cleveland Browns and he wanted to hire a young quarterback coach and grow him in to be the coordinator. … I flew down there, went through the interview. … I really didn’t want to take the job. I was real hesitant about taking it, but I didn’t want to look back 10 years from now and say, ‘What if I would’ve done it?’ … Went and did it and had a great experience.”

On, coming from the Jacksonville Jaguars, what he asked for from Tommy Tuberville for as a condition of accepting the job at Auburn:
“When I grew up, I was a coach’s kid. I got to go to practice everyday, I was the end in the triple option read – had to take quarterback, take the pitch or go to feather, play it soft – I was in the locker room all the time, on the sideline during games. In the NFL, my kids weren’t able to do that. They weren’t able to be on the sideline or be in the locker room. So, the only thing that I said to Tommy is, I’d love to take the job, but I want my two boys to be able to be on the sideline. He said, ‘Done, we’ve got a deal.’ “

You can listen to the full interview here.

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The Coaching Wire: Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013

Former Western Kentucky DC Lance Guidry will join the Stephen F. Austin staff. (Photo: Carlos Osorio/AP)

Former Western Kentucky DC Lance Guidry will join the Stephen F. Austin staff. (Photo: Carlos Osorio/AP)

Division I

Former Western Kentucky defensive coordinator Lance Guidry will join J.C. Harper’s staff at Stephen F. Austin (FCS). Guidry, who tweeted about the move, worked with Harper at McNeese State in 2000-01, where Guidry was secondary coach and Harper was in charge of the defensive line. Guidry spent two seasons at WKU, and was coached defensive backs at Miami (Ohio) the two seasons before that. In December, Guidry was named Western’s interim head coach when Willie Taggert got the South Florida job, where he coached the Hilltoppers in their 24-21 loss to Central Michigan in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. Guidry also served as Miami’s interim head coach for the RedHawks’ 35-21 win over Middle Tennessee in the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl. His pre-game speeches for those games became YouTube sensations. A Welsh, La. native, Guidry was disciplined in 2011 when he was arrested in Baton Rouge just hours before Western’s game vs. LSU. The arrest was Guidry’s third DWI. …  Stump Mitchell, former Southern (FCS) head coach, will be running backs coach on Bruce Arians‘ Arizona Cardinals staff, according to reports. He spent nine years as a running back with the Cardinals from 1981-89, both in St. Louis and Phoenix. In September, Mitchell was reassigned to an administrative position after Southern fell to an 0-2 start. He was 6-18 in 2+ seasons as the Jaguars’ head coach. Mitchell has eleven years experience as an NFL running backs coach. From 1999-2007, he coached the Seattle Seahawks and spent the 2008-09 seasons with the Washington Redskins.

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UAB loses six commitments in a single weekend

UAB head coach Garrick McGee had a rough weekend. (Photo: Butch Dill/AP)

UAB head coach Garrick McGee had a rough weekend. (Photo: Butch Dill/AP)

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]o matter how bad it may have seemed, chances are your had a better weekend than Garrick McGee.

The UAB coach saw an astonishing six Blazers verbal commitments change their allegiance to other schools.

That’s not a typo. UAB had six commits flip to other schools in the 48 hour period between Sunday-Monday.

Three of the recruits were from Birmingham, the school’s hometown. One of them had been committed since July, two others since September.

When the sun came up Tuesday morning, the Blazers were left with just 15 commitments and a coaching staff that had to be scratching their heads.

It’s hard to imagine losing nearly one third of a recruiting class with just over a week left until signing day, but that’s exactly the situation that McGee and the Blazer staff face. (UAB did sign two recruits in December that have already enrolled.)

The Blazers lost three assistants this off season, and that certainly played a role in this weekend’s defections.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm left to work for his college head coach and mentor Bobby Petrino at Western Kentucky, while recruiting coordinator Tyson Helton joined Tommy Tuberville’s staff at Cincinnati. Receivers coach Ron Sigler resigned after the season. (One of the recruits, defensive end Kalvin Robinson of Vestavia, Ala., switched to Brohm’s new school.)

McGee promoted tight ends coach Richard Owens to offensive coordinator and brought in Arkansas graduate assistant Joseph Henry to take over the role of tight ends coach. There is still one staff spot open.

Though it’s hard to judge whether the sudden rash of decommitments is a sign of a program in turmoil or merely a function of bad timing and the general wackiness that has been the 2013 recruiting cycle, it’s clear that the staff turnover done damage.

With time quickly running out, McGee and company have to hope their luck takes a turn for the better. After last weekend, it certainly can’t get any worse.

UAB Weekend Decommits

[colored_box color=”grey”]Jamaris Hart (2-star DB, Florence, Ala.) – Committed since Sept., flipped to Arkansas State
T.J. Green (2-star ATH/KR, Sylacauga, Ala.) – Committed since Oct., flipped to Clemson
Trey Lamastus (2-star C/DS, Monroe, La.) – Committed since Dec., flipped to ULM
Julius McCall (2-star RB/ATH, Chelsea, Ala.) – Committed since July, flipped to Troy
Nick Mullens (2-star QB, Hoover, Ala.) – Committed since Dec., flipped to Southern Miss
Kalvin Robinson (2-star DE, Vestavia, Ala.) – Committed since Sept., flipped to WKU[/colored_box]

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