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Virginia football notebook: Falcons assistant will be Cavaliers' offensive coordinator

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He’ll bring extensive knowledge of the Atlantic Coast Conference with him as well as his recent experience in the National Football League.

Virginia is hiring Des Kitchings as its offensive coordinator, Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith told reporters during his press conference on Monday. Kitchings was working as Atlanta’s running backs coach through Sunday.

“We’re happy for Des,” Smith said. “It’s a great opportunity. He’ll be a coordinator. He’ll assume that position immediately.”

Before joining Smith’s staff, Kitchings spent a year in the same capacity at South Carolina and the eight previous seasons at N.C. State. He was the Wolfpack’s tight ends coach and running backs coach in 2012, and tutored running backs there until his departure following the 2019 campaign. He added recruiting coordinator responsibilities in 2014 and held onto that title through 2018 and then earned co-offensive coordinator duties in his last year there.

At N.C. State, Kitchings produced three straight 1,000-yard rushers with ex-Wolfpack running backs Reggie Gallaspy Jr. (1,091 yards in 2018), Nyheim Hines (1,112 yards in 2017) and Matthew Dayes (1,166 yards in 2016) all eclipsing that total. It was only the second time in school history N.C. State had a 1,000-yard rusher in three consecutive seasons.

Hines was a fourth-round NFL Draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.

Last week, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg initially linked Kitchings to UVa, reporting Kitchings was a target of new Hoos coach Tony Elliott.

“He’s a smart coach,” Smith said about why he thinks Kitchings will make a good OC. “He communicates well and understands how to provide value every week in terms of strategically coming up with ideas and getting his guys ready to go. He’ll be missed around here but it’s one heck of an opportunity for him.”

Like Elliott, some of Kitchings’ early coaching years were spent at Furman, where he worked for ex-Paladins coach Bobby Lamb from 2004 through 2007. Elliott was Lamb’s wide receivers coach at Furman from 2008 through 2010.

Kitchings was a star wide receiver and return specialist for the Paladins. His 1,808 career receiving yards are the ninth most in Furman history and his 112 receptions are 11th most. The 29.3 yards per kick return Kitchings averaged are the second most ever at the school.

Elliott has already announced that he’s retained wide receivers coach Marques Hagans, offensive line coach Garett Tujague and defensive line coach Clint Sintim — though, their roles could change — from UVa former coach Bronco Mendenhall’s staff.

Weeks hits portal

On Monday afternoon, Cavaliers freshman linebacker West Weeks announced on Twitter that he planned to enter the transfer portal.

Weeks, who is from Watkinsville, Ga., had 31 tackles to go along with a tackle for loss, a sack and five pass breakups in his debut season this past fall.

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