Indiana Daily Student

Column: Where has Damarlo Belcher gone?

This was supposed to be senior Damarlo Belcher’s team.

He was one of few guys with the experience and talent needed to help IU Coach Kevin Wilson succeed in his first season.

The problem is Belcher never seemed interested in putting in the work to make it his team. It’s when things have gone bad for the Hoosiers this season that Belcher has come up the smallest.

Ever since the season opener against Ball State, Belcher has been virtually invisible. During a few games, it didn’t even look like he cared.

It’s hard for a 6-foot-5-inch receiver to blend in with his surroundings, but Belcher has done it well all year.

The veteran, who had a productive first three years at IU and vowed to get in the best shape of his life for his senior season, just missed his last Homecoming game due to a suspension.

I don’t know for certain, but I’m guessing you have to do something pretty bad to for that to happen.

“Just violation of team policy, rules, what’s going on,” Wilson said. “He’s just suspended. We’ll talk about it later. We’ll talk about getting
beat first.”

He’d rather talk about a 59-38 loss than Belcher’s status, which is probably not a good sign for Belcher going forward.

Then again, maybe Wilson is trying to send another one of his many messages. If Belcher isn’t seeing eye to eye with Wilson, he certainly wouldn’t be the first veteran this season. Wilson has played freshmen instead of upperclassmen on a regular basis, and I’m sure that has ticked some players off.

But of all the players on the team, Belcher was the one you’d least expect to have his spot jacked by a young guy. Wilson wanted Belcher to succeed. He wanted Belcher to be his star and leader.

During a practice last spring, Belcher made an impressive catch near the sideline. He was pushed out of bounds and knocked over a cameraman who was filming nearby, which sent the camera smashing to the ground.

Wilson, who was standing in the middle of the field during the play, sprinted (a relative term) to Belcher and jumped into him for a chest bump.

“First camera guy you’ve knocked down this spring!” Wilson screamed. “Let’s go!”
He wanted to fire Belcher up. He hoped to help him get the most out of Belcher’s talent.

So what happened after the game against Ball State?

Maybe Belcher just doesn’t have what it takes to be the featured guy in an offense.
All of his production in past years came when he was surrounded by talents such as former IU wide receivers Tandon Doss, Terrance Turner and others who demanded defense’s attention.

Perhaps Belcher didn’t agree with Wilson’s coaching style and refused to play hard for his new coach.

Or maybe he spent too much time dreaming about his possible NFL future rather than being a leader and helping his teammates improve.

My guess is it’s some combination, which is disappointing. Belcher could have had a career year playing for an offensive mastermind, which would have helped him with his professional goals.

Basically, he could have helped Wilson help him.

It looks like Belcher went with a different option, which has led to Wilson being asked questions such as: Do you expect Belcher back next week?

“I don’t know,” he said.

So that’s where we’re at.

This could have been Belcher’s team. Now, we’re not even sure how long he’ll remain a part of it.

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