April 18, 2010
Catching up with All-American candidate Nick Bellore
Central Michigan is home to one of the top linebackers in the nation in senior to be Nick Bellore. As the NCAA's current returning leader in career tackles, Bellore notched together a tremendous junior campaign as he tallied 132 tackles, 13 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions on his way to All-MAC honors. Yesterday, ChippewaCountry was able to catch up with CMU's defensive star as he traded his familiar #43 jersey for the #13 jersey, previously worn by Dan LeFevour.
"I'll just say it was a tribute to Dan," laughed Bellore. "But in reality we just didn't have a #43 jersey in maroon, but I'll definitely text Dan and let him know I rocked the #13 for him."
Bellore's Maroon team would fall to the White squad 3-0 in a defensive battle, but while the score was exactly what a defensive player like Bellore likes to see, it was not indicative of the Chippewas future offense.
"I thought that was good. We had a lot of guys compete and step up. Obviously the score was great for us defensively, so it's exactly what we were looking for. And part of it is it just takes the offense longer to get clicking than it does the defense. But overall I think this provides a great base for the rest of the offseason and going into camp."
The defense must replace starters in DE's Frank Zombo, Larry Knight, CB's Kirkston Edwards and Josh Gordy, and LB Tim Brazzel, but the defense as whole has loads of experience coming back and some young players who are eager to step up.
"I think we're doing pretty good," said Bellore. "We have a couple of guys banged up and we need a few guys to step up on the defensive line, and in the secondary we have some guys who haven't played a whole lot, but we just need them to solidify their spots."
Last season the Chippewas defense finished #1 in the MAC in total defense as they yielded just 18.9 points per game and #4 in total yards allowed per game with 344.2. Needless to say, there are some big shoes to fill if the defense is to repeat their success from last year.
"You know, we're a little bit younger, but I think we still have a lot of experience," said Bellore on the differences between this year's defense and last years. "We don't have as many starters back obviously, but we have guys that have played a lot of football that can really help us and can really be stars on this defense."
Bellore was then asked what younger players have stepped up during the spring and impressed him.
"I'd say Jahleel Addae has done a great job. DJ (Daniel Jackson) up front has stepped up with John Williams out. But I would say the number one guy on the defensive line has been DJ, and Lorenzo White has also done a great job at corner. Those guys have stood out for the younger players, and then obviously Bobby (Seay) and Vince (Agnew) have been great players their whole careers here. But I would say Jahleel would be my number one."
As a senior to be, the end of the spring game signified the last spring practice Bellore will take part in.
"It's weird and a little sad," laughed Bellore. "I knew I was only going to get a couple series today, but once it's done, you're just happy that everyone got relatively unscathed and we improved practice to practice, which is all you can really ask for."
Bellore and the Chippewas will have some well needed time off to recover from injuries and relax before summer camp starts.
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