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5 Questions with...The Score's Laurence Holmes

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5 Questions with...The Score's Laurence Holmes

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

November 4, 2009

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with a new weekly feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weekhighly-regarding as one of the top young personalities on Chicago sports radiohis local sports insight can be heard Monday-Friday from 6:00-10:00 PM on WSCR AM 670 The Score as host of the Me Showhere are 5 Questions withLAURENCE HOLMES!

BIO: Laurence Holmes has been a fixture at The Score since 1998. He was just 22 years old when he started producing Les Grobsteins overnight show. Hes done just about every job at the Score: Board Op, Executive Producer and now Host and Reporter. He started covering the Bears in 2003 and has made it his passion. He says hes obsessed with whats going on with the team and makes it his goal to find the truth and bring it to his listeners.

From a personal side...Holmes was born and raised on the Southside. RoselandMorgan Park to be specific. He fell in love with radio listening to Steve Dahl & Garry Meier on his parents kitchen floor. His family moved to Glenwood, so he could attend Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He had his own talk show at H-F when he was 16 and says the facilities at H-F were better than the old Score bunker on Belmont.

From there, Holmes went to DePaul and, while a student, he interned for Lou Canellis and Jeff Joniak at WMAQ radio. He got his first taste of TV working on the weekends at Channel 9 for Dan Roan and Rich King. A solid athlete as well, Holmes played baseball for the DePaul Club team and even had minor-league tryouts with the Marlins, Braves and Exposhes now the starting third baseman for the Score softball team. Such is life.

1) CSNChicago.com: Laurence, this Bears season has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride and thats probably going to continue for the rest of the season. As someone who covers the Bears so closely, right now, what are three things that are working for this team and three things that Lovie Smith and his staff should change immediately?

Holmes: Heres what's working:

1) Special Teams: Dave Toub is one of the best in the business. People used to think it was just Devin Hester, but he keeps finding returners, whether it's Danieal Manning, Johnny Knox or Earl Bennett. Robbie Gould is as quality a kicker that there is in the league (under 48 yards) and Brad Maynard has been awesome punting the ball inside the 20. The coverage teams are really solid as well.

2) Lance Briggs: What I love about Lance is that he's living up to his big-money contract. A lot of players cry about money and then when they get it, they don't produce. When you watch games, Lance is everywhere. I think people are learning that his game is just not a product of playing alongside of Brian Urlacher. Lance has elevated his game. For everyone who pines for Bernard Berrian, realize that had Berrian re-signed with the Bears, Lance would most likely be somewhere else.

3) Jay Cutler: Yes, he's struggled, but the quarterback position for the Bears has never been so solid. The best is yet to come for him and the Bears offense, but it's nice to see a QB who doesn't have limitations.

Now, what's going wrong...

1) The Offensive Line: They've really struggled. I've heard that they're still getting to know each other, but we're now seven games in and they still play like strangers. It makes me sad because you're seeing the end of two great careers (Olin Kreutz and Orlando Pace). Run-game and pass protection have been the problem. You've seen Cutler take to 7-step drops to try and get time. If they ran better, it might lead to a better pass-game.

2) Pass Rush: Things looked really promising at the beginning of the season. Wale and Alex were getting to the QB and then it just stopped. They would be helped by sustained pressure up the middle, but Tommie Harris (who unlike Lance), got the money and hasn't lived up to it.

3) The Head Coach's Attitude: I have to admit that this is MY issue. Its effect on the team is minimal. I don't mean "fire & passion. I wish that Lovie would give more freely of himself. He asked Bears fans to trust him after the Super Bowl season. As it stands, he's a .500 coach since then and he isn't going to be given the benefit of the doubt because you don't feel like you know him. And even if that's an illusion, it breeds trust. For the record, I think Lovie is a good coach and, a lot of times, he gets a rough ride, but if his team doesn't make the playoffs for a third consecutive year, people will begin to wonder if he is leading the Bears in the right direction.

2) CSNChicago.com: Speaking of Lovie Smith, the national media is now covering what has been written locally about fans becoming impatient after the teams mediocre start, especially with all the enormous pre-season hype and big expectations with the acquisition of Jay Cutler. If the Bears fail to make the playoffs this year, do you really think Lovie may be out of a job come January?
Holmes: I think, because of the money he's owed, the Bears will be hesitant to make a move, but when you consider that there are coaches out there who have won Super Bowls (Mike Holmgren, Mike Shannahan, Jon Gruden and Bill Cower), they'd be silly to not explore making a move. Especially, when you consider Shannahan's relationship with Cutler.

3) CSNChicago.com: Your success at The Score has been nothing but impressive over all these years. Youre still a young guy, but a veteran so to speak at the station. What advice do you have for aspiring broadcast journalists out there that want to break into the sports radio biz?
Holmes: Well, thank you. I would tell them to study what they're interested in if they're in college. I was Pre-Law at DePaul and finished with a History Degree. You don't have to go to school to do this. I would also advise that if you're looking to do this for a living, internships are crucial. I worked the desk at the Daily Southtown, to see what print was like. While I was producing Les Grobsteins show, I was working as an intern at Channel 9 to see what TV was like. Be varied. Realize that you're doing this job because you love it...if there is "big money" to be made, it's WAAAAAAYYY down the road. When you start out, you're gonna be poor, (I lived off of less than 25,000 for a long time), but the experiences you'll have will be worth it.

4) CSNChicago.com: Your high school alma mater, Homewood-Flossmoor, has cranked out some pretty impressive local sports talents over the years such as yourself, MLB.coms Scott Merkin and Comcast SportsNets very own Chuck Garfien to name a few. Its unfortunate that many young and talented aspiring broadcast journalists in Chicagos inner city do not have the same hands-on access and available facilities that benefited you, Scott, Chuck and so many others who attended suburban high schools. In your opinion, what can we do to change this?

Holmes: That's a great question. At H-F, you can basically "major" in broadcast journalism. I spent most of my junior and senior years working on what would later be my career. My broadcasting teachers, Mr. Comstock and Ms. Tipton, treated WHFH like a professional radio station. That's why you see me, Chuck and the Merkin brothers working in this market. And it's not just sports. Ben Bradley (Channel 7) and Jen Jameson (Q101) came out of there too.

Regarding potential future broadcasters living in the inner city, it deserves more thought than I can type. My parents have a combined 75 years in the CPS and, when I would visit them, you'd see the difference in materials, money and equipment. Kids need to know it's an option. They need to know it's something that is within they're grasp. And perhaps that means I should get off my butt and start working with all the connections I've made for equipment donations and training seminars.

5) CSNChicago.com: Name the most overrated and underrated athletes in Chicago pro sports today?

Holmes: If there's one thing that I've learned from Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers, it's that I don't know what "overrated and underrated" mean. Mainly because there's no consensus on who's doing the rating...so I'll give you someone from each team that I love watching play.

Bears: Alex Brown. His motor never stops. He is equal parts little kid and total professional when he plays. He emotes like a fan, win or lose.

Sox: John Danks. Lots of talent, even more guts. His performance in the "Blackout" game vs. Minnesota is one of my favorite personal sports memories.

Cubs: Carlos Marmol. I know he's a roller coaster ride, but when he's on, his slider is unhittable.

Bulls: Joakim Noah. I think he gets it. Everyone will remember the bow-tie and the weird hair on draft day, but last year, he grew as a player. He busts his hump every night.

Hawks: Duncan Keith. It's real easy to be enthralled with the scoring ability of Patrick Kane or the leadership of Jonathan Toews, but Duncan Keith is just a solid player. He works hard and the Hawks defensemen are pretty skilled.

Fire: Marco Pappa. It's so much fun to watch him run.

Holmes LINKS:

WSCR AM 670 The Score website

Laurence Holmes Chicago Football Blog
Laurence Holmes on Facebook

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Hawks mentally approach getting back into playoff race?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Hawks mentally approach getting back into playoff race?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk podcast, Adam Burish joins Pat Boyle to discuss the three-game losing skid the Hawks are experiencing, the problems on the power play and how they should mentally approach getting back into the playoff race.

The guys also discuss Corey Crawford’s first public sighting, trade rumors and Burish shares his favorite Original 6 story.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here:

Unbelievable performance, unexplainable failures leads to Bulls' collapse in New Orleans

Unbelievable performance, unexplainable failures leads to Bulls' collapse in New Orleans

Weird things tend to happen in New Orleans. Things filed under “unbelievable” or “unexplainable.”

The Bulls’ double-overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans doesn’t exactly fall under either, but the circumstances leading to it certainly do.

Justin Holiday, the reliable 84 percent free throw shooter missing the last of three freebies that would have ended the game in regulation after being fouled with 0.3 seconds left?

Unexplainable.

“Could’ve won the game with a free throw,” Holiday said, dismissing the notion of nerves. “Thought it was cash, it just didn’t go in. Wasn’t meant to happen, I guess. I was hyped. You get that opportunity, I don’t miss free throws. When you get an opportunity like that, that’s what was on my mind.”

Holiday raced to the 3-point line after the Bulls fell behind 114-112 with three seconds left, drawing a whistle on Darius Miller as the buzzer sounded—giving them a chance to win a game they had no business losing in the first place.

“He made the hard ones, which the first one is the hardest,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He made a great play to be fouled in the first place to even get himself to the line.”

It seemed so unlikely the Bulls would find themselves in their wildest game of the year after seemingly driving the Pelicans to insanity and frustration, taking a 17-point lead with 5 minutes left.

Zach LaVine looked comfortable in his fourth quarter minutes, while Denzel Valentine and Nikola Mirotic hit big shots to extend the Bulls lead—ignoring the irritated atmosphere at the Smoothie King Center as the Pelicans fans felt their team had gotten an unfair whistle.

Then the Pelicans—and their maddeningly talented star DeMarcus Cousins—got mad and took all his frustration out on the Bulls in a historic performance. He needed every bit of the 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists to put the Bulls away, as he bullied the game inside and finessed things from the outside (five 3-pointers) as his teammates finally caught up to his intensity in those frenetic five minutes.

His numbers put him in the company of Wilt Chamberlain—not surprising considering he did everything down the stretch including bringing the ball upcourt as if he were the world’s biggest point guard.

Unbelievable.

“It’s cool to be in company with a guy like Wilt (Chamberlain). He’s a guy that’s put up videogame numbers his entire career,” Cousins said. “Just to have a little game like his, that’s pretty cool.”

His alley-oop to Anthony Davis with 1:39 left in regulation gave him a triple-double and cut the Bulls lead to 110-107, and the Bulls seemed to be in full panic mode. Davis fouled out in the first overtime but not after inflicting 34 points, nine rebounds and five assists of damage in 43 minutes.

“The inability to get a rebound late cost us,” Hoiberg said. “Their pressure, getting into us, really lost all of our pace that we did a good job of for the most part all game. It really slowed us down. That’s what got their run started.”

Jerian Grant, who had performed solidly in Kris Dunn’s absence, then became a target for the Pelicans defense as they harassed Grant, taking the Bulls’ offense out of its rhythm.

Grant had six turnovers in 47 minutes and was visibly bothered by the pressure employed by the Pelicans’ defense, nearly negating his 22-point, 13-assist, five-rebound performance.

“I thought we had really good flow,” Hoiberg said. “I thought Jerian had a really good game. But the pressure really did bother us. Gotta do the things that got you the lead we had. A lot of pace, a lot of movement. A lot of good things.”

The good things certainly included Lauri Markkanen holding his own against Davis and making big defensive plays in the fourth quarter and overtime when the Pelicans foolishly tried to switch Markkanen onto their guards.

But Markkanen kept his composure, moved his feet and was never exploited. Although he shot just 5-for-12 and missed all four of his 3-point attempts, Markkanen took steps forward defensively as he finished with 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.

Robin Lopez went at Cousins on the other end, as both were exhausted at the end of the marathon. Lopez scored 22 points in 39 minutes, his only regret likely getting stripped by Cousins at midcourt during the Pelicans’ comeback, leading to free throws.

“We just decided to play defense,” Davis said. “It was tied up going into the fourth quarter. They went on a crazy run. There was like eight minutes left, we just said we going to play defense. Play defense one possession at a time and we are going to be able to come back here.”

Jrue Holiday, Justin’s younger brother, was the main irritant late, along with former Bull E’Twaun Moore, giving just enough support for Cousins and Davis. The Pelicans’ Holiday scored just 12 points with six assists, but had big baskets in the first overtime after Davis fouled out.

“They turned it up, physically,” Justin Holiday said. “My brother started guarding full court. They all starting pressuring us a little more. Sometimes, it’s tough. When they turn the pressure up like that and we have the lead, we don’t necessarily want to be in a rush to score. Then they’re scoring on the other end. We gotta get stops.”

It was hard to ignore how the pressure affected the Bulls. The composure and poise they’ve played with over the last several weeks gave them a level of confidence in hostile environments, but missing Dunn meant they were without a critical part of their offense.

“I don’t wanna say trouble but it bothered us for sure,” Holiday said. “We kinda got sped up. Forget about the offensive end but if we get stops and rebound, we win the game. Again, they have all-stars and things like that, supposed to do their job.”

Even then, though, everyone walking away from the Smoothie King Center knew they witnessed a historic, unbelievable performance as well as an unexplainable collapse.