White Sox

Norberg adds punch to Cary-Grove's flex-bone

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Norberg adds punch to Cary-Grove's flex-bone

After last year's 8-3 finish, Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg began a search for a fullback to fill a void in his flex-bone triple option offense.

"Someone who adds another dimension that makes us potentially very dangerous and explosive," he said, scanning the roster.

Seaburg settled on Kyle Norberg. It was a smart decision. But would the 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior, who was a starter at linebacker as a sophomore and junior, accept the transition to fullback? Could he do the job? And what about his goal of being a linebacker in college?

"We don't have a lot of Division I players, just tough Division III type of players," Seaburg said. "We looked at Norberg. He is so physical, big and strong. And he has 4.6 speed. We felt he could be a difference-maker on offense. He hits the hole faster than any fullback we have had."

Norberg has made a difference. He has rushed 186 times for 1,933 yards and 23 touchdowns. He has averaged 10.4 yards per carry. He has fumbled only twice. In limited duty on defense, he has two sacks and two interceptions. In last Saturday's 7-0 victory over Crystal Lake Central, Norberg rushed 10 times for 133 yards.

Cary-Grove (12-0) will play at Lake Forest (9-3) on Saturday in a Class 6A semifinal. It marks the first time the Trojans have reached the semifinal round since winning the state title in 2009.

"Norberg is having a great year," Seaburg said. "He turned himself into a workhorse kind of fullback who gets tough four or five yards but also has had several touchdown runs over 70 yards. I'm surprised at the number of explosive plays he has had over 50-60 yards."

Norberg is surprised, too. "I never saw myself in a position where I'd be running the ball," he said. It finally dawned on him in Week 8, when he rushed for 342 yards and three touchdowns against Dundee-Crown to set school and Fox Valley Conference records for yards in a single game.

Growing up, he was a three-sport athlete who thoroughly enjoyed football, basketball and baseball. Later, he competed in track. As a sophomore, however, he dropped everything else to harness his energy for football. "It's my favorite thing to do. I strive to be good at it," he said.

His hero is his grandfather, who was a 6-foot-3, 290-pound noseman at Iowa State. "I'm not as big as him but I wanted to be like him. He has been my hero. I compare myself to him. He made it to Division I and that has been a goal of mine," Norberg said.

He was a lineman in eighth grade, then was shifted to linebacker as a freshman and promoted to the sophomore team. He played linebacker on the varsity as a sophomore and junior.

He figured to play linebacker as a senior so he attended the Elite 7 camp in Barrington, a training facility for athletes which is run by former Cary-Grove star Alex Kube, who played at Northern Illinois and once had a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings.

Then Norberg began to sense that his life was about to change.

"We had meetings. The coaches came to every senior's house to tell us what would be in store for the season," he said. "At first, the coach talked about a few plays at fullback. But when summer camp started, I was taking more reps at fullback than linebacker. He wanted me to learn the position."

At an out-of-town camp in early August in Whitewater, Wisconsin, Seaburg and his coaching staff began to cement the starting lineup during three-a-day practice sessions and scrimmages. During every scrimmage, Norberg was playing fullback.

"I figured that's where they wanted me to be, where I could help the team the most," he said. "At first, I was scared and worried. I had been training to be a linebacker. I texted some teammates. They said: 'They put you there (at fullback) for a reason. You have to make it happen.'

"After the camp, I had a week off to think about it. It finally sunk in. I said to myself: 'Let's make it work and be the best I can be at this spot.' It was cool to try something new.

"At first, it was confusing, remembering plays, who to block, reading the blocks. As a freshman, I also was a backup wingback on the sophomore team. From a fullback's standpoint, the offense isn't difficult to understand. I'm lined up directly behind the quarterback and running downhill all the time.

"How will this affect my college recruiting? Are they looking at me as a fullback or linebacker? I still look at myself as a linebacker. Fullback gives me more athleticism. But I still want to be a linebacker in college. I want to hit people rather than be hit. I like the instinctive part of the game. I like to make plays."

Danny Farquhar is progressing well, speaking to doctors and family per latest medical update from White Sox

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AP

Danny Farquhar is progressing well, speaking to doctors and family per latest medical update from White Sox

Danny Farquhar is progressing well according to his medical team, the White Sox announced in an update on the pitcher's condition Monday.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage when a ruptured aneurysm caused a brain bleed during the sixth inning of Friday's game against the Houston Astros. He is stable but still remains in critical condition while being treated by the neurosurgical team at RUSH University Medical Center.

Farquhar, who had successful surgery Saturday, has use of his extremities and his speaking with doctors and his family.

Here is the full update on Farquhar provided by the White Sox, which includes how fans can send "get well" wishes to the pitcher:

"Danny Farquhar’s medical team reported today that Danny is progressing well following a successful surgery Saturday to address the aneurysm. Farquhar has use of his extremities, is responding appropriately to questions and commands and is speaking to doctors and his family.

"Danny remains in critical, but neurologically stable condition in the ICU unit at RUSH.  Farquhar’s wife, Lexie, and family members are present at the hospital as he continues to receive treatment and close monitoring by the neurosurgical team. He is expected to remain in the neurosurgical ICU at RUSH for the next few weeks.

"Fans interested is sending 'Get Well' wishes and letters of support to Farquhar should address mail to him at Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60616.

"His family and the White Sox organization appreciate all of the messages of support for Danny, and the White Sox also appreciate fans and friends keeping Danny and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

"The White Sox will provide additional updates on Farquhar’s health as appropriate, but the club also asks that everyone continue to respect the privacy of the Farquhar family at this time. Thank you."

As Miguel Gonzalez goes on DL, Carson Fulmer will make his third appearance in six days

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USA TODAY

As Miguel Gonzalez goes on DL, Carson Fulmer will make his third appearance in six days

If you feel like you've seen a lot of Carson Fulmer lately, you're not wrong.

Fulmer will make his third appearance in six days after the White Sox announced a trio of pitching moves Monday morning.

Miguel Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation, Chris Beck was brought up from Triple-A Charlotte, and Danny Farquhar — who as of the most recent update was stable but in critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage during Friday's game — was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. For anyone who might have missed it, Gregory Infante was brought up from Triple-A to take Farquhar's roster spot when Farquhar was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday.

It all means that Fulmer, who started the 14-inning marathon last Wednesday in Oakland and pitched in relief Friday to help rest a taxed bullpen, gets the start in the series-opener with the Seattle Mariners on Monday night on the South Side. Fulmer only logged 2.1 innings in those two most recent appearances and threw a combined 70 pitches.

Gonzalez's trip to the DL comes after struggling in his first three starts of the season. He currently has a 12.41 ERA after giving up eight runs in three innings during his last start in Oakland.

Beck, who had a 6.40 ERA in 57 appearances for the White Sox last season, has made two starts in four appearances with Charlotte this season. He has a 2.00 ERA, allowing two earned runs in nine innings.

The White Sox will almost certainly need a new starter in the rotation, most likely for Tuesday's game against the Mariners, though who that will be remains a guessing game at this point. James Shields' turn would normally be up after Fulmer's, though he would be on short rest and, like Fulmer, also made two consecutive appearances in Wednesday's and Friday's games. Hector Santiago is the most logical option. He has plenty of starting experience and pitched just one inning in this weekend's series against the Houston Astros.