CLEMSON -- Receiver Bryce McNeal left the Clemson football team. He plans to remain in school and graduate in the summer, then transfer to another football program in 2012.
"Bryce has been a fine representative of the Clemson program and we hoped he would remain with the team," coach Dabo Swinney said, "but he wants to fully concentrate on his studies so he can graduate this summer."
McNeal was a highly regarded recruit when he signed with Clemson in 2009. But he failed to make an impact last season when Clemson was desperate for playmakers, catching 19 passes for 187 yards, and has become buried on the depth chart with the arrival of a talented freshman receiving group.
Boston College game time announced
The ACC announced the Boston College at Clemson game will kick off at 3 p.m. on Oct. 8 and be televised on Raycom.
Watkins calls winning play
Freshman receiver Sammy Watkins can do many things well: run, catch, jump and call plays. A series before Watkins' critical 62-yard TD grab in the fourth-quarter against Florida State on Saturday, the precocious freshman went to offensive coordinator Chad Morris and said defenders were overplaying slant routes in the passing game.
Watkins proposed Morris call a slant-and-go in the next third-and-short situation. So on a third-and-4 play in the next series, Morris called the deep pass and Watkins broke away for a long touchdown.
"(Watkins) said 'They are expecting a slant, I can get them on a double-move,' I said 'OK,' " Morris said. "I had already written down (the play) on the call sheet and circled it. I said 'look here, Sammy, we are thinking alike.' It just speaks to his maturity, 'coach listen; this is what I'm seeing.' "
Has Morris ever had a true freshman suggest a play? "No, not like that, but I trust him."
Bellamy still struggling
With leading rusher Andre Ellington less than 100 percent with a tender hamstring and reserve back D.J. Howard out with a hamstring injury against FSU, Clemson was desperate for running back depth. Freshman Mike Bellamy could have helped shoulder the load. The problem? The five-star rated back is still struggling to learn the offense.
Morris said Bellamy is having to ask quarterback Tajh Boyd what the play is during games while on the field. "We try to get him his package and we try to keep growing him; it's a work in progress. We had him out there on one of those plays, we motion him out on a play he ran 1,000 times in practice he's supposed to (run) up the sideline and (runs the wrong route). … It's just one of things you live with and you have to understand he's a young guy like that it's a process."
Punter Dawson Zimmerman said he is "pretty optimistic" he will play against Virginia Tech. He had his right patella tendon hyper-extended against FSU when his leg was hit while fully extended on a punt, but there is no structural damage. .... Morris is concerned receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) will be unable to practice much this week. Boyd has a calf bruise but is OK.
Morris passes Boyd's interview
Boyd told reporters he sat in on Morris' job interview with Swinney in January. He asked Morris several questions and was intrigued with the spread offense, which is one reason Boyd originally committed to Oregon.
Boyd and Watkins were named the ACC's back and receiver of the week on Monday. ... Morris said Clemson will practice with crowd noise this week to simulate the raucous atmosphere at Lane Stadium. However, Morris said communication shouldn't be a major issue because plays are signaled in from the sideline.