CLEMSON - How far has the Clemson football hype wave traveled? At leasthalfway across the Pacific.
The Post and Courier was contacted by a Hawaii radio station on Monday,interested in speaking to a reporter about the surprising No. 8 Clemsonteam. Also on Monday, a photo of quarterback Tajh Boyd was paired with aphoto of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to serve as thecenterpiece image on the main web page of Sports Illustrated, recapping theweekend of football.
The college football world has gone from indifferent to interested inClemson in a three-week span. Clemson (5-0, 2-0 ACC) became the first ACCteam to beat three straight ranked opponents.
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is readying counter-measures tosuppress any ego-inflation or complacency byproducts of Clemson's nationalmedia attention. If Clemson was to overlook any team on its schedule, itmight be Boston College (1-4, 0-2), which plays at Clemson at 3 p.m.Saturday. "I'll have my 10½ (size) shoe up their tail if they come outdragging," he said of his offense. "I don't mind being the biggest rear endthere is."
Linebacker Corico Hawkins said the team remains grounded, with last season'sdisappointments still fresh in their consciousness. "We know where we camefrom. We're a 6-7 football team until the season ends."
Clemson will play Maryland at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 and the game will betelevised on ESPNU, the ACC announced Monday.
Morris said five-star rated freshman running back Mike Bellamy is gainingthe trust of the coaching staff.
After struggling to grasp the offense and failing to protect the ball inprevious weeks, Bellamy was on the field during the fourth quarter atVirginia Tech, rushing for a 31-yard touchdown.
"He had the best week of practice he's had," Morris said. "He's reallyprogressing. Mike has earned my trust, he's proven himself to the pointwhere he's on the field in the fourth (quarter)."
Bellamy, who has been clocked at under 4.3 seconds in the 40, could beanother significant offensive weapon in the season's season half.
Tig 'Tommy John' Willard
Jonathan Willard sustained an unusual football injury last season, tearingthe ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. The condition is commonwith baseball pitchers, an injury requiring 'Tommy John' orligament-transplant surgery.
Last season Willard said he was essentially playing with one arm, unable toraise his left arm above his shoulder. Said the right-handed Willard of thepain: "It was crazy."
Willard said surgery is not necessary to repair his damaged elbow. Willardsaid swelling has subsided and he has strengthened the muscles around theligament to allow for a full range of motion. Willard was named the ACC'slinebacker of the week Monday after making nine tackles at Virginia Tech.
Defensive end Andre Branch was named the ACC's defensive lineman of the weekafter a three-sack effort at Virginia Tech ... Brandon Thomas will make hissecond straight start at left guard versus BC, Morris said ... Freshmanreceiver Charone Peake has been limited with a shoulder injury for twoweeks, an injury Morris said is improving.