Russell Bellomy

Former Michigan QB Russell Bellomy lands at UT-San Antonio

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Russell Bellomy announced last month he would leave Michigan to play his final year of college football elsewhere. The quarterback found his landing spot over the weekend, and will transfer to UT-San Antonio as a fifth-year graduate student.

A native of Arlington, Texas, Bellomy committed to Michigan Jan. 25, 2011 — two weeks after Brady Hoke was hired. He appeared in five games as a freshman, completing four of 21 passes for 46 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions (three of which came in a game against Nebraska in which Denard Robinson was hurt).

Unfortunately for Bellomy, he only threw two more passes in his time in Ann Arbor — a pair of incompletions against Penn State last year.

UTSA is entering its fourth year as an FBS program under former Miami coach Larry Coker, and went 4-8 in 2014 after winning eight and seven games, respectively, in 2012 and 2013.

 

Two more opt to transfer from Michigan

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The work week began with word that a Michigan player has decided to leave Ann Arbor.  As it turns out, it’ll end the same way.  Times two.

First off, on Instagram Friday, Russell Bellomy announced that he will transfer out of the UM football program. In a very heartfelt statement, the quarterback asked that “you respect my decision and support me in whatever I do.”

Below is the statement, in its entirety.

“To those of you that know me well, I always try my hardest never to get emotional; however, I write this with a heavy heart. My heart is packed full of experiences, acquaintances and irreplaceable memories that I will reminisce on for the rest of my life. I love each and every one of my teammates, both former and present, and I hope y’all know that every day I busted my butt for you and the benefit of UM.

“I will receive my degree at the end of this semester and have decided to sign my release that enables me to play my 5th year as a graduate student at another university. I pray that you respect my decision and support me in whatever I do, because this was not an easy process. I am forever grateful to have attended and played for UM and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. “For I know the plans I have for you…” #GoBlueAlways”

As noted in the statement, Bellomy will be a graduate transfer, which means he would be eligible to play in 2015 if he decides to move on to an FBS program. The release granted by Michigan, which Bellomy showed on his social media post, allows him to transfer to any school not on the Wolverines’ schedule.

Russell Bellomy Release

Bellomy, a three-star member of the Wolverines’ 2011 recruiting class, played in six games during his time at UM, completing 4-of-23 passes for 46 yards and four interceptions.  Three of those interceptions came in a 23-9 loss to Nebraska in October of 2012, a game in which he was forced into action because of an elbow injury to starter Denard Robinson.

A short time later, teammate and defensive end-turned-tight end Keith Heitzman did the same thing as Bellomy, and on the same website to boot.

“The past few years have been an unforgettable journey full of ever lasting memories, both exciting and saddening. I have experienced the spoils of winning and the heartbreak of losing. I have always blamed my struggles on external factors and never realized that all of this was part of the process of becoming a Michigan man. It has been the most challenging yet rewarding 4 years of my life and for that I will be forever grateful.

“However, this moment right now has manifested itself into the toughest experience as of yet. I have signed my release form allowing me to talk with other schools for the potential to transfer. As of right now I will leave this great institution in the spring with a degree in hand and friendships that will last a lifetime. I have to make the best possible decision for me, therefore, I feel like I need to explore my options. I have to thank all the fans for their continued support through the turbulent times over these past few years and promise that Michigan is destined for greatness in the future. #forevergoblue”

Last season, Heitzman caught two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown in playing in all 12 games.  Heitzman was a three-star member of UM’s 2011 recruiting class, and will be eligible to play immediately at an FBS school because he will be a grad transfer.

Monday, it was reported that running back Justice Hayes would be leaving as a graduate transfer. Prior to that, and between the firing of Brady Hoke and the hiring of Jim Harbaugh, linebacker Michael Ferns and offensive lineman Kyle Bosch left the program as well. Both of those players ultimately landed at West Virginia.

Michigan’s 18-13 victory over Penn State sets Brady Hoke’s hot seat to simmer

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What a difference two weeks can make for the Michigan Wolverines. The further away head coach Brady Hoke and his Wolverines can get from the Shane Morris incident, the better the program will be.

Saturday’s performance showed there is no quit in these Wolverines despite a 2-4 start to the season and all the rumors of change within the program. The team, particularly quarterback Devin Gardner, rose to the occasion and secured a 18-13 victory Saturday against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Hoke and the program desperately needed a victory after three straight losses. The team’s ability to handle Penn State, which entered the game 4-1 overall, is Michigan’s first step to remaining competitive in the Big Ten Conference.

Gardner personified the program’s resiliency with his effort Saturday night.

The senior quarterback suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter, which could have prevented him from returning to the game. In fact, third-string quarterback Russell Bellomy entered the game for two unsuccessful series before Gardner decided to gut it out and finish the contest.

Other than an ill-advised screen pass that was intercepted, Gardner did everything necessary to will the Wolverines to the victory. The upperclassman became a vocal leader on the sidelines throughout the contest and kept his team in the game at all times, whether the offense was on the field or not.

Gardner finished the game 16-of-24 passing for 192 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 18 yards despite being hobbled.

On defense, the Wolverines remained aggressive throughout the contest. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg was uncomfortable all night long due to the pressure brought by Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Hackenberg — one of the nation’s most talented young quarterbacks — was never able to get into a rhythm, and Penn State’s offense continued to stall due to how heavily the offense relies on the sophomore signal-caller.

Michigan’s defense also held Penn State to only 54 yards rushing. Mattison’s aggressive approach allowed the Wolverines to consistently win at the line of scrimmage and, at times, proved to be completely overwhelming.

With the victory, Hoke’s hot seat will cool slightly for at least one week. The coach envisions a 3-4 Michigan squad that can still compete for a Big Ten championship. Michigan’s biggest test of the season will come next weekend, and it’s a perfect opportunity to prove itself. The Wolverines travel to East Lansing to face the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans. No game will be a truer indicator of where Michigan stands under Hoke’s supervision.

Brady Hoke needs to take responsibility for mishandling Shane Morris

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Michigan head coach Brady Hoke is starting off this week the way last week did, with his hot seat extremely flammable. The tensions and criticisms revolving around Hoke’s job security took on a new level in Saturday’s defeat at home to Minnesota. But the end result of the game was the least of the concerns for those calling for Hoke’s job. Instead, the alleged mismanagement of handling the health of quarterback Shane Morris has been cause for criticism.

As a refresher, Hoke named Morris his team’s starting quarterback for the Minnesota game. It did go well. Early in the fourth quarter Morris was on the receiving end of a roughing the passer hit from defensive end Theiren Cockran. You could make an argument Cockran should have been ejected for targeting, but he remained in the game. Regardless, Morris got up noticeably wobbly and shaken. Morris looked to wave off the need to be replaced and stayed in for another play, resulting in an incomplete pass. It was at this point Morris finally came off the field and Devin Gardner took over. Gardner had to come out of the game for one play soon after that, because his helmet came off during the play. And this is where Hoke really came under fire.

Rather than burn a timeout or sending third string quarterback Russell Bellomy, who was seen getting his helmet on and heading to the field, Hoke instead sent in Morris. It seemed awful quick to be sending in a player who showed visible signs of being rocked by a defender, especially in today’s day where there are so many ways to test and diagnose concussion symptoms. Hoke’s reasoning for sending Morris back in was very questionable.

He didn’t know if Morris had a concussion or not.

“Well, I don’t know if he might have had a concussion or not,” Hoke said when asked about the decision to put Morris back in the game.” I don’t know that. Shane’s a pretty competitive tough kid. Shane wanted to be the quarterback. So believe me, if he didn’t want to be, he would have come to the sideline or stayed down.”

It sounds like Hoke is letting the inmates run the asylum. Hoke is paid to run the football program, not his quarterback. It is Hoke’s responsibility to ensure his players are safe and cared for. By sending Morris back out under that situation is nothing short of irresponsible. Should Hoke be fired for that decision? Some are making that case, but ultimately athletics director Dave Brandon needs to address this head-on, and not by turning it into some sort of public relations spin opportunity. It is beyond that time for Michigan.

That kind of logic from Hoke may have been accepted 10 or 20 years ago, but the culture has changed with regard to attention to head trauma. Hoke needs to admit he was wrong to use Morris in that situation. Anything else should be unacceptable.

Adding another QB off the table for Michigan

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In the aftermath of a likely season-ending injury to backup Russell Bellomy, Michigan was not shy in acknowledging its interest in adding a transfer quarterback to shore up a woefully inexperienced position.

Over the past couple of months Arkansas’ Brandon Mitchell (landed at North Carolina State) and Florida State’s Clint Trickett (West Virginia) among others have been connected to UM to varying degrees.  With the start of summer camp fast approaching, and with Wes Lunt essentially the only one left in the transfer pool, finding some experience from outside the program is apparently no longer an option.

“I think we’re pretty set with what we have,” head coach Brady Hoke said at a camp Friday. “I believe in the guys we have in the program.”

The Wolverines are set at starter with Devin Gardner, and will be fine as long as the redshirt junior stays healthy.  After Gardner, though, it’s nothing but inexperienced question marks as far as the eye can see.

The only other scholarship quarterback on the roster at the moment is Shane Morris, who as a true freshman has yet to take his first snap at the collegiate level.  A pair of walk-ons appeared in UM’s spring game two months ago.

In other words, it would behoove the UM offensive line to be a very, very, very good unit this season as keeping Gardner upright and in one piece is of utmost importance.