Dabo Swinney still confident in Mike Bellamy

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."