ACC: Mike Bellamy

ACC's lunchtime links

May, 22, 2012

ACC's lunchtime links

May, 16, 2012
How many more days 'til kickoff??
Three strikes and Clemson running back Mike Bellamy is out.

After a short career that was spent mainly in coach Dabo Swinney's doghouse, Bellamy has been ruled academically ineligible and won't return this fall. This is yet another off-field blow for the Tigers, who recently learned that star receiver Sammy Watkins was arrested earlier this month for possession of marijuana and a controlled substance. So far, Swinney hasn't announced any punishment for Watkins, but he has said there will be one.

While it's more negative publicity for the program, it's certainly not the end of the season for the Tigers. Even if Bellamy and Watkins are missing for the season opener against Auburn, Clemson doesn't play its first and arguably most meaningful conference game until Sept. 22 at Florida State. It's also important to remember that Bellamy finished the spring third on the depth chart at running back behind 1,000-yard rusher Andre Ellington and his backup, D.J. Howard.

It's unfortunate and disappointing that Bellamy's career ended this way, especially considering how many times Swinney has insisted that despite Bellamy's troubles, he is a good kid who simply made some poor decisions. When it comes to the good of the team, though, his absence might actually mean one less distraction.
I know, I know, Clemson overload today, but coach Dabo Swinney had a teleconference this morning to preview spring practices, which begin on Wednesday in Death Valley. Here are a few quick highlights from the call:

  • Swinney said the main point of emphasis this spring will be the offensive and defensive lines, where the Tigers have to replace a total of six starters. The goal is to find a two-deep up front. He said offensive lineman Brandon Thomas has been like an MVP this offseason and has embraced a leadership role. “He has been great this offseason,” Swinney said. “He has really stepped up in a role he wasn’t necessarily in last year, and we need that.” Thomas can play tackle or guard effectively, and gives the Tigers some options up front. Swinney said Tyler Shatley, a former defensive tackle, looks “totally different” on the offensive side of the ball. “He goes from being an OK athlete to a really, really good athlete.” Shatley will start off at right guard.
  • The only two injured players out this spring are linebacker Tony Steward and safety Rashard Hall. Steward, who tore his ACL in October, was denied a medical redshirt, Swinney said. “That’s the rule and that’s the way it is,” Swinney said. Steward will be a true sophomore.
  • The punter situation is a question going into spring. Spencer Benton will go in as the starter. Swinney said the staff will experiment with a few things on special teams this spring.
  • Clemson’s staff took a trip to Nevada this offseason to study the pistol offense, but Swinney said the Tigers were in the pistol some last spring and fall. The staff just wanted to learn a little more about it. As for how much of it will be incorporated this year, Swinney said he’s not going to give out a blueprint. “We’re going to do what we did last year, hopefully a little bit better.”
  • Swinney said running back Mike Bellamy is “hanging in there” and will practice with the team while trying to improve himself on and off the field. Swinney said Bellamy has gained some weight and gotten stronger. The goal for this summer is about 180 pounds, well over the 160 he came in at.

Dabo Swinney still confident in Mike Bellamy

February, 24, 2012
Clemson running back Mike Bellamy is out of coach Dabo Swinney's doghouse.

Kind of. Sort of.

"He's out of it, but he's attached to a leash, sitting outside," Swinney said with a laugh. "He's kind of like Snoopy, sleeping on top of it."

It's been a rough start for Bellamy's Clemson career, as he was sent home from the ACC championship game in Charlotte, and then suspended from the Orange Bowl and the practices leading up to it for a violation of team rules. Despite the frustrations Bellamy has caused the Clemson staff, Swinney had nothing but good things to say recently about his backup running back and remains confident in his ability to get back on track.

"He's doing good so far," Swinney said. "Listen, Mike, a lot of people, they assume things and create their own perceptions. First of all, Mike Bellamy, he's really a good kid. He's got a sweet heart, he's got a good spirit to him, he's just a young guy who all of a sudden found himself in a situation where there's a lot of structure and a lot of accountability, and it's a little bit of a change for him. It's not always easy for everybody.

"A lot of young people deal with transition just like he does, but unfortunately, he's in a situation where everything he does, everybody wants to talk about. It's no different than raising your kids. Some you have to handle differently than others. But there has to be structure, discipline and rules, and you have different flexibility with guys depending on their circumstances. He's a good kid and hopefully he'll continue to make good strides and if he does, the football part will take care of itself."

Swinney said it's a matter of maturity, and Bellamy is hardly the first to come along slowly in that department. Swinney used former tight end Dwayne Allen as an example.

"Bellamy is a saint compared to Dwayne Allen when Dwayne was a freshman," Swinney said. "And we didn't have a better leader on this team this year than Dwayne Allen. Hopefully that's the path we can take him down. He's got to make the right decisions and right choices."

ACC's lunchtime links

February, 2, 2012
Still digesting Wednesday's recruiting news? Here's more ...
With national signing day quickly approaching, we’re going to take a look at the recruiting needs of each school in the ACC, starting with the Atlantic Division. These needs are based on current rosters and anticipated departures in the near future. Here’s a look at who has what holes to fill in the 2012 class:


Linemen: The depth here continues to be a priority on both sides. The decision of defensive end Max Holloway to declare early for the NFL draft was an unexpected loss, and tackle Dillon Quinn will be a senior. Offensively, the Eagles will have to replace two veterans and leaders in center Mark Spinney and guard Nate Richman.

Linebackers: All-American Luke Kuechly’s decision to leave early for the NFL draft was expected, but the staff is looking for about two or three more linebackers in this class.

Receivers: This was a young group to begin with, as Alex Amidon and Bobby Swigert were both true sophomores, but the staff could use one or two more in this class.


Linemen: The Tigers will lose three starters on the defensive line and three more on the offensive line from the 2011 ACC championship team. Center Dalton Freeman is a returning starter, but he will be a senior. Six players on the final two-deep depth chart on the offensive line were either seniors or graduate students in 2011, and four on the defensive line two-deep must be replaced.

Running back: Andre Ellington is entering his senior year, and while Mike Bellamy is back in school and in the good graces of coach Dabo Swinney, the future of the position is uncertain. Rod McDowell played well in the bowl game, and D.J. Howard has been a backup.

Defensive backs: The Tigers could start three seniors in the secondary in 2012: Xavier Brewer, Rashard Hall and Jonathan Meeks.

Kickers: The Tigers will lose punter Dawson Zimmerman, opening up an opportunity for a true freshman to play immediately.


Pick and choose: The Noles have built up enough depth that they can now be selective. Instead of building a class heavy on offensive linemen, Florida State can now pick and choose the best at each position. The Noles need at least one running back, one or two quarterbacks, a few offensive tackles, a linebacker to help replace Nigel Bradham and a safety or two.

Kickers: The Noles have big shoes to fill with the graduation of punter Shawn Powell, and kicker Dustin Hopkins is entering his final season.


Running back: This is a position where a true freshman could see some playing time this year. Justus Pickett returns, along with Brandon Ross, who redshirted last year.

Quarterback: The Terps ended the 2011 season with only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown. Both will be juniors and nobody is behind them.

Cornerback. Maryland has to replace Trenton Hughes and Cameron Chism at cornerback, leaving Dexter McDougle the only one with any significant playing time.


Defensive line: The staff already has about six linemen committed and ends were a particular focus. Half of the linemen in the two-deep depth chart for the Belk Bowl were either juniors or seniors.

Secondary: This should be a strength for NC State in 2012, but the staff needs to prepare for the future here. Cornerback C.J. Wilson will be a senior, along with safeties Earl Wolff and Brandan Bishop.

Quarterback: Mike Glennon is already listed as a graduate student, and his backup, Tyler Brosius, redshirted this past season. The position is thin and the future uncertain behind Glennon.


Offensive line: The Deacs will lose four starters up front, but coach Jim Grobe has only played one true freshman there in 11 years. He has several redshirt freshmen and sophomores who are expected to fill in, but the staff wants to continue to build the depth at the position.

Tight end: Wake Forest will graduate its top two tight ends and will turn to two redshirt sophomores in Neil Basford and Johnny Garcia who have yet to catch a pass. It’s possible this could be a spot where an exceptional freshman could see playing time.

Defensive backs: The Deacs have to replace starting free safety Josh Bush and starting strong safety Cyhl Quarles. Cornerback Kenny Okoro will be a redshirt senior.

Future of Clemson RB position uncertain

December, 20, 2011
Clemson running back Mike Bellamy is suspended for the Discover Orange Bowl, and starter Andre Ellington is considering declaring for the NFL draft, leaving the future of the position uncertain for the ACC champs. Ellington (1,062 yards) and Bellamy (343 yards) are the Tigers' top two rushers, respectively, but their possible departures aren't a topic coach Dabo Swinney is interested in talking about right now.

"I'm not worried about anything but beating West Virginia," Swinney said.

Bellamy has been suspended since the ACC championship game, and while Swinney declined to say why, he said Bellamy needs to decide if he wants to do the right things to remain a part of the team.

"He needs to refocus and decide if he wants to be committed to the standard that we have in place here," Swinney said. "It's just really that simple. He's a good kid -- he's not a bad kid at all -- but he's got to grow up, mature and be accountable and make the decision that he truly wants to commit to being the best that he can be. I just don't think he's as focused or as committed as he needs to be right now. When you're not, you're a distraction. He'll have an opportunity to rejoin us in January.

"He's done a fine job with school. So hopefully he'll learn from this and get better from it. That's the hope. If not, he won't be here."

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 14, 2011
Clark: 'Tis the season to be merry.
Mary: That's my name.
Clark: No (kidding).

Clemson Mike RB Bellamy suspended

December, 3, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Clemson reserve running back Mike Bellamy has been suspended for the Dr Pepper ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech for a violation of team rules, the school announced less than an hour before kickoff. Bellamy had travelled to Charlotte with the team, but returned to Clemson, S.C., on Saturday.

Bellamy is Clemson’s second-leading rusher with 343 yards on 57 attempts, a 6.0 average. He has three touchdowns, including one on a 31-yard run in the first meeting against Virginia Tech on October 1.

This is obviously a loss for Clemson. Andre Ellington is the main man, but Bellamy has contributed and helped the depth.

Clemson RB Andre Ellington limited

October, 29, 2011
ATLANTA -- Clemson running back Andre Ellington, who has been suffering from an ankle injury this week, is dressed but how much he plays remains uncertain. D.J. Howard will start in his place. It doesn't seem like Ellington will play a lot, considering he didn't practice Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. He practiced sparingly on Thursday. Mike Bellamy will play, but he's had some problems with fumbling. Once he improves on ball security, he could have a bigger role, but he's got to earn that confidence from the staff, which has been pleased with Howard.

There are no lineup changes for Georgia Tech.

Clemson overloads UNC with options

October, 22, 2011

CLEMSON, S.C. -- On Monday, Clemson was on fall break and the players were allowed to sleep in before attending an offensive meeting at 10 a.m.

That’s when offensive coordinator Chad Morris woke them up.

“I’ve never seen him that fired up,” center Dalton Freeman said.

Clemson fans might say the same about the Tigers’ offense on Saturday against North Carolina.

Seven different players accounted for touchdowns in Clemson’s 59-38 romp of the Tar Heels, including defensive end Kourtnei Brown, who returned two turnovers for scores. It seemed as if Clemson had more playmakers than North Carolina had defenders on the field. Only one other time in school history -- against Wake Forest in 1981 -- had Clemson scored more points against an ACC opponent. The Tigers’ ability to distribute the ball coupled with the unselfish attitude from playmakers young and old are what has separated the program, now 8-0, from the rest of the ACC this year.

[+] EnlargeDeAndre Hopkins
Joshua S. Kelly/US PresswireDeAndre Hopkins gashed the Tar Heels' secondary with nine catches for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Receiver Sammy Watkins might be the best freshman in the country, but he doesn’t have to be for Clemson to win.

“Today was probably the most complete game we’ve had as far as distributing the ball and sharing the wealth,” quarterback Tajh Boyd said. “There is a lot to go around. If somebody game-plans for this person or that person, we do have other options out there. It’s exciting to see, and that’s probably the most rewarding thing I took from today, was that you come back into the locker room and you see the smiles on these guys’ faces because they are getting shown love. We’ve got too many playmakers. It’s a quarterbacks dream to have those type of players out there.”

Against North Carolina, receiver DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins was Boyd’s favorite target, with nine catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. He was one of five different receivers who caught touchdown passes, a single-game school record. Even with Watkins drawing the bulk of the attention from UNC’s defense, he still finished with eight catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.

“I think that’s the key to our success,” coach Dabo Swinney said. “First of all we’ve got really, really good players. We’ve hit some home runs with recruits from that standpoint. … The key for us is it’s not like you can just defend one guy. We have a lot of guys who can make plays. We have a lot of backups who can make plays. We’ve got a quarterback who can pull the trigger and make a decision, and the offensive line is playing some really, really good football. That’s a good combination to have.”

And it’s only the beginning. Clemson has 42 freshmen (redshirt or first-year) among the 85 players on scholarship. The Tigers have played 13 true freshmen, none of whom have had more of an impact that Watkins, but Mike Bellamy and receiver Martavis Bryant have also been key contributors this year.

“You’re going to see that distribution continue to spread, especially next year, because these guys are going to be sophomores and even better,” Swinney said. “There’s not a lot of distance between our skill guys from a talent standpoint. There’s just not much difference at all. That’s a big blessing for us. That’s the bottom line, they know that everybody is going to have an opportunity to make a play in this offense. We’re not sitting there throwing to one guy.”

And if there’s anyone on the roster who still feels the need to be THE guy?

“The door’s right there,” Swinney said. “That’s the least of my worries. I am the last guy to coddle guys. This is a team sport. Our guys know that. It’s one team, one dream. You’re going to have a hard time making it at Clemson if you’re not a team guy.”

And opponents are going to continue to have a hard time stopping Clemson without an extra defender or six on the field.

ACC's lunchtime links

October, 18, 2011
So NOW the Big East decides to double its exit fee. Hmm. Wonder where it got that idea ...

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 9, 2011
Ready for Week 2?

Week 2: Did you know?

September, 9, 2011
Here’s your weekly dose of ACC notes to make you feel smarter, thanks to the sports information directors throughout the league. If you’re going to the Duke-Stanford game, you might want to take a few classes first to feel included.

ACC: There were 14 touchdowns scored by ACC true or redshirt freshmen in the opening games of their careers this past weekend. A total of eight touchdowns were by true freshmen, including Virginia running back Kevin Parks (3) and receiver Clifton Richardson; Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and runing back Mike Bellamy and Florida State running back Devonta Freeman and receiver Rashad Greene.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Whether or not running back Montel Harris returns from a knee injury against Central Florida remains to be seen, but here’s one stat you might not know about him: Harris has lost just six fumbles in 832 career touches.

CLEMSON: It only took 26 seconds for Clemson true freshman receiver Sammy Watkins to score a touchdown in his collegiate career. Watkins caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tajh Boyd at the 14:34 mark of the first quarter in the Tigers 43-19 win over Troy -- the quickest ever for a Clemson player.

DUKE: Duke has lost 42 straight games against ranked opponents, last beating No. 13 Virginia in 1994. The Blue Devils last beat a top-10 team in 1989, when Steve Spurrier’s Duke squad knocked off No. 7 Clemson. Since then, they’ve lost 20 straight against top-10 opponents.

FLORIDA STATE: Florida State is 14-0 all-time against FCS opponents since the NCAA split Division I in 1978. Charleston Southern is 0-21 all-time against current FBS teams. The two teams have never met before.

GEORGIA TECH: Quarterback Tevin Washington and receiver Stephen Hill have combined for three of the 24 longest pass plays in Yellow Jacket history, and two of those long plays (82 and 77 yards) came in the season opener against Western Carolina. Georgia Tech currently ranks in the top 10 nationally in all four major offensive categories: third in total offense, fourth in scoring offense, seventh in passing offense and eighth in rushing offense.

MARYLAND: Maryland's no-huddle, hurry-up offense produced the biggest offensive output in almost six years against Miami. The Terps racked up 499 yards of total offense, the most since putting up 524 against North Carolina on Nov. 12, 2005. Quarterback Danny O'Brien accounted for 385 of those yards (348 passing, 37 rushing).

MIAMI: Two years ago, Al Golden’s Temple team began the season with losses to Villanova and Penn State before winning nine consecutive games en route to a bowl appearance.

NORTH CAROLINA: Place-kicker Casey Barth needs just five field goals to surpass his brother Connor’s school-record total of 54. Casey Barth has made 50 of 62 career field goal attempts and a school-record 77 straight extra points.

NC STATE: NC State was one of two FBS teams -- Colorado was the other -- to start freshmen at punter and placekicker last week.

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers got all four of their touchdowns from freshmen in a 40-3 win over William & Mary last weekend. Running back Kevin Parks became the first Cavalier to rush for three scores in his debut since Bob Davis in 1964. (Davis was a sophomore; freshmen were ineligible by NCAA rule at the time.)

VIRGINIA TECH: Logan Thomas and Mark Leal became the first quarterbacks in school history to both throw two touchdown passes in the same game. Thomas had touchdown passes of 7 and 4 yards against Appalachian State, while Leal connected on scoring passes of 22 and 63 yards against the Mountaineers.

WAKE FOREST: Quarterback Tanner Price, who is expected to start against NC State after spraining his left knee last week against Syracuse, will enter the NC State game having thrown 99 consecutive passes without an interception. His last pick came against Boston College on Nov. 6, 2010.



Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
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Friday, 12/26
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Monday, 12/29
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Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
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Monday, 1/12