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Clemson, Miami runaway favorites in ACC preseason poll

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A year after facing off in the ACC Championship Game, it appears to be pretty clear Clemson and Miami are once again on a collision course in Charlotte for the ACC championship. Clemson and Miami dominated the preseason media poll conducted at the ACC Football Kickoff last week. Clemson will enter the season as the favorite to win the conference according to the same preseason poll.

In the Atlantic Division, Clemson received 145 of 148 first-place votes to easily pull away for first place in the preseason poll. Florida State received the second-most total votes, including one first-place vote and NC State received two first-place votes but finished third in the division pecking order. Since splitting into two divisions, no team has ever won four consecutive division championships in the ACC. If Clemson accomplishes that feat this fall, they will become the first.

Similarly, Miami dominated the first-place vote total in the Coastal Division but the Hurricanes had a slightly smaller gap between them and second-place Virginia Tech. Miami received 122 first-place votes and finished 160 points ahead of the Hokies, who received 16 first-place votes. Georgia Tech picked up eight first-place votes and Duke and North Carolina each received one first-place vote. Miami won its first Coastal Division championship last season.

Clemson received 139 votes to win the ACC championship, with Miami next in line with five. NC State received two votes to win the ACC and Florida State and Virginia Tech each received one vote. A Clemson victory in the ACC Championship Game would give the Tigers five ACC Championship Game victories. Clemson and Florida State open the season tied for the most ACC title game victories with four each. Virginia Tech has three.

ACC Championship Votes

  1. Clemson – 139
  2. Miami – 5
  3. NC State – 2
  4. Florida State, Virginia Tech – 1

Atlantic Division

  1. Clemson (145 first-place votes) – 1,031 total points
  2. Florida State (1) – 789
  3. NC State (2) – 712
  4. Boston College – 545
  5. Louisville – 422
  6. Wake Forest – 413
  7. Syracuse – 232

Coastal Division

  1. Miami (122) – 998
  2. Virginia Tech (16) – 838
  3. Georgia Tech (8) – 654
  4. Duke (1) – 607
  5. Pitt – 420
  6. North Carolina (1) – 370
  7. Virginia – 257

Ex-Illinois WR Mike Bellamy returning to Illini as RBs coach

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A familiar face will reportedly be next up on the offensive side of Lovie Smith‘s Illinois coaching staff.

Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette was one of a handful reporting Friday that Smith is set to name Mike Bellamy as his new running backs coach.  While there’s nothing yet official from the football program, a school official stated that a staff announcement could come as early as this weekend.

The hiring of Bellamy, who would replace an assistant lost to a MAC school, would mark a Champaign homecoming on a couple of fronts.

In the late eighties, Bellamy was a first-team All-Big Ten wide receiver and second-team All-American kick returner for the Illini.  Then, from 2012-15, Bellamy served as wide receivers coach at his alma mater.

The past two seasons, Bellamy was the wide receivers coach at Toledo.  In between his stints at Toledo and Illinois, he was a quality control coach at Mississippi State in 2016.

Arkansas reportedly hiring Auburn staffer for on-field role

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One SEC West school has turned to another from the same division to fill a hole on its coaching staff.  Reportedly.

According to 247Sports.com, and citing two sources familiar with the decision, Chad Morris is expected to hire Kenny Ingram as Arkansas’ defensive line coach. Morris’ move to add a new assistant to his Razorbacks staff was triggered by John Scott‘s move to South Carolina earlier this offseason.

Ingram, who played his college football at Arkansas State, has spent the past two seasons as the Director of Player Relations at Auburn.

Prior to his time on The Plains, Ingram worked as the defensive line coach at Cincinnati from 2015-16.  From 2006-09, he was on the coaching staff at Memphis, including a turn as defensive coordinator his last season with the Tigers.

In 2012, Ingram worked with the defensive line at his alma mater ASU.

Lincoln Riley’s brother named App State running backs coach

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Garrett Riley is a bright, accomplished coach in his own right, but until he wins back-to-back Heismans with two different quarterbacks (or, at least becomes a head coach in his own right), he’s going to be known as his big brother’s little brother. With that in mind: Lincoln Riley’s brother has been announced as Appalachian State’s new running backs coach.

“I’m excited to be part such a traditionally successful program,” Riley said in a statement. “I’m humble and grateful to have the opportunity to be around this organization and work with Coach Drink and the rest of the staff that I’ve known about for several years. Look forward to continuing the great success that Appalachian State’s had, and I can’t wait to start working with the players.”

Garrett followed Lincoln to Texas Tech and East Carolina before branching out on his own at Kansas, where he joined the staff as an offensive analyst in 2016 and was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2017 and tight ends/fullbacks coach in 2018.

Appalachian State has not announced an offensive coordinator under new head coach Eli Drinkwitz — and certainly the head coach, a former offensive coordinator himself, will have tremendous sway on his favored side of the ball initially — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Riley become the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 or 2021. “We’re looking to be cutting edge on offense, and we expect him to continue to push that,” Drinkwitz said Friday. “His experience coaching in North Carolina will also benefit our program.”

Report: Dan Lanning receives nod as Georgia’s next defensive coordinator

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When Mel Tucker left Georgia to be the head coach at Colorado, it was clear Kirby Smart‘s next defensive coordinator was already on his staff. It would either be Glenn Schumann or Dan Lanning, two 30-something whiz kids who split linebacker duties for the Bulldogs (Schumann inside, Lanning outside).

We got a window into Smart’s thinking during the Sugar Bowl, when Lanning was chosen to lead the defensive huddles and represent the defense in press conference setting. Georgia lost that game to Texas, but it was apparently enough for Smart to know his original hunch was correct as Seth Emerson reported Friday for The Athletic that Lanning will be Georgia’s next defensive coordinator.

While Schumann did not win the rose, he’s not going home (or, in this case, staying put) empty handed. According to Emerson, Schumann will be Georgia’s co-defensive coordinator, and both will net massive raises. After both made $325,000 in 2018, Lanning will make $750,000 in 2019 while Schumann will earn $550,000. The 2018 season was Lanning’s first at Georgia, while Schumann followed Smart over from Alabama. Lanning spent 2016-17 as the inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Memphis. The 32-year-old was a high school assistant coach in Missouri as recently as 2010.

All eight returning assistants will net raises, per Emerson, but the overall staff pool will go down after losing Tucker’s $1.5 million salary. (Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and his $950,000 salary also left for Tennessee, but previously-announced promotion James Coley will also make $950,000, a $100,000 increase from 2018.)

Coley, Lanning and Schumann aren’t the only coaches being rewarded for sticking around — in title as well as salary. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman will be Smart’s new associate head coach, running backs coach Dell McGee will be the running game coordinator and wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton will be the passing game coordinator.