Back on the grind

CLEMSON - For the first time since clinching a berth in the Orange Bowl, the Tigers were back at practice Tuesday afternoon. And there was plenty to talk about afterwards.

In fact, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney fielded questions for nearly 30 minutes - ranging from Mike Bellamy to the upcoming practice schedule for the Orange Bowl.

MIKE BELLAMY UPDATE: The freshman running back, who has been suspended since shortly before the ACC Championship Game for breaking team rules, remains so for the immediate future according to Swinney.

And that means there's no chance he'll be available for the Orange Bowl.

"He'll have an opportunity to come back in January and if he does the right things he'll have a chance to go through spring if he does the right thing and if the doesn't he won't," Swinney said.

"He's finished with finals and he'll be headed home."

Bellamy will not practice with the team nor travel to Fort Lauderdale for the Orange Bowl.


The team will travel to South Florida two days ahead of schedule for what Swinney called a "mini-camp." (Roy Philpott)
DABO CAMP II: In an effort to prepare for West Virginia as best as possible, Clemson will report to South Florida a full two days ahead of the expected bowl schedule.

The Tigers and Mountaineers weren't scheduled to arrive in the Fort Lauderdale area until Dec. 29, however Clemson will be there on Dec. 27.

Swinney referred to the additional time as a "mini-camp."

"I think we have a good plan. A good schedule," Swinney said. "The bowl doesn't officially start until the 29th. It will be just the necessary people and we are going to keep our hands on them pretty good on the 27th and the 28th.

"Then the morning of the 29th will be like a true Tuesday type of practice for us. There are no functions going on. It's just us and what we are trying to do. Then once we get the bowl started on the 29th, we'll have different things to do and we want them to enjoy that.

"But we are going to win. It's going to take the same type of effort we had for the ACC Championship Game to win. And we know that."

MORRIS DONE DEAL: CBS Sportsline writer Bruce Feldman reported Tuesday offensive coordinator Chad Morris has signed a six-year deal worth $7.8 million total to remain in Tigertown.

Morris was critical in Clemson winning its first ACC Championship in 20 years, helping elevate Clemson to No. 1 in the ACC in passing offense and No. 2 in total offense this season.


Chad Morris has signed a six-year deal worth $7.8 million total to remain in Tigertown. (Roy Philpott)
Dabo Swinney said late last month as many as five different schools inquired about Morris and also added he believed Morris wouldn't leave Clemson until a major BCS head coaching position opened for the first-year coordinator.

RED-SHIRT REPORT: CUTigers asked Swinney about using the next 15 practices to evaluate his first-year players who were redshirted in 2011, and he didn't hesitate to call out several guys he'll be watching in the coming weeks.

"You see Lateek (Townsend), Colton Walls and B.J. Goodson- that's three pretty good cats over there moving around," he said.

"Then you go over there and see Rod Byers and (Jerome) Maybank and watching these offensive linemen like (Spencer) Region and Shaq (Anthony) and (Ryan) Norton. It's great to see those guys. And (Eric) MacLain at tight end. There's a bunch of them."

"We've got a bunch of guys. They are a good looking young group and we'll use this time to have a pre-spring for our football team and they will all benefit a ton from it. It will great work too because it's warm down there. It will be a sweat-fest."

While most of Clemson's skill players return for 2012, the offensive line and defensive lines stand to take significant hits.

Just one of four starters are expected back on Clemson's front four, while two of five should return on the offensive line, assuming center Dalton Freeman doesn't turn pro.

QUICK NOTES: Left tackle Phillip Price will be healthy enough to play in the Orange Bowl, Swinney said. ... Clemson practiced for over an hour and a half with temperatures in the mid-60's as opposed to the usual cold weather of December. "I've got so many bad memories of cold weather for bowl practice. It was nice out there today," Swinney said. ... West Virginia features a pair of wide outs who went over 1,000 yards receiving this year, Swinney said that presents multiple challenges and that he was very impressed with the Mountaineers' athleticism on both sides of the ball thus far on film.

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