Bears

Te'o will always call Notre Dame 'home'

943633.png

Te'o will always call Notre Dame 'home'

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o couldn't have asked for a better way to go out in his final game at Notre Dame Stadium on Senior Day.

Te'o finished with six tackles on the afternoon in helping secure an Irish' 38-0 shut out of Wake Forest.

"That's a great way to end my career playing here in Notre Dame," an emotional Te'o said.

There were two moments from Senior Day that will stick with Te'o for the rest of his life; greeting his family on the 50-yard line before the game and the timeout Brian Kelly called to let the Notre Dame faithful give Te'o and Kapron Lewis-Moore a standing ovation for the last time.

"Oh yeah, it was everything and more," the senior linebacker said. "There was that moment and then when coach took me out, that was another moment. So definitely two things I'll always remember for the rest of my life."

The journey to get to this point -- a coaching change and no double-digit wining seasons until this year -- has been rocky for the Hawaiian-native, but South Bend will always be a place he calls home.

"There are no words that can describe what this place means to me," Te'o said. "I never thought a place besides Laie could be my home, and this has been my home and more. Just the love and everything that this community has done for me and for my team and family. I'm definitely very blessed to be here."

One person that's been by Te'o's side since they were kids is senior wide receiver Robby Toma and this journey wouldn't have had a since of fulfillment without him.

"It was the best story ever," Te'o said. To have my best friend here, my brother, I call him my twin. We obviously don't look alike, but we're basically the same person. To have him here and see the joy in his eyes and send him out with a victory like that was something that was really fulfilling for me."

The four years of his Notre Dame career aren't over at this point -- with a possibe national championship and a long-shot Heisman trophy hanging in the balance -- but Te'o summed up his time in South Bend.

"A lot of highs and lows. I wouldn't trade it for the world. These are the things that money can't buy," Te'o said. I'm just glad that I was able to make my family proud and bring Notre Dame to where it's supposed to be. College football is a lot better when Notre Dame is good. So it's definitely great to be Irish."

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Everything changed for the Bears after going up 17-3 last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Mitchell Trubisky’s 27-yard touchdown to Dion Sims was immediately followed by Bobby Rainey running a kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown, then the offense was bogged down with three fumbles (two lost) on three consecutive possessions. 

But Adrian Amos seemed to seal the game with his 90-yard pick six — that is, until Michael Campanaro ran Pat O’Donnell’s punt back 77 yards for what wound up being a game-tying touchdown after a two-point conversion.

The point is the Bears should’ve cruised to a comfortable win last week; a few critical mistakes didn’t allow that to happen. The Bears haven’t led at the end of the fourth quarter this year, a pretty strong indicator they haven’t played a complete game yet despite having two wins. 

The Carolina Panthers have road wins over the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots this year, and only lost to the Philadelphia Eagles by five points last week (despite Cam Newton throwing three interceptions). The bet here is the Bears keep things close on the backs of a strong defense, but either can’t make enough plays or make too many mistakes to win. 

Prediction: Panthers 20, Bears 16

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

chrisbosiochanges.jpg
USA TODAY

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

"Of course," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in the middle of the National League Championship — he would like his coaches back in 2018. Pitching coach Chris Bosio told the team's flagship radio station this week that the staff expected to return next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein didn't go that far during Friday afternoon's end-of-season news conference at Wrigley Field, but he did say: "Rest assured, Joe will have every coach back that he wants back."

That's Cub: USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale first reported Saturday morning that Bosio had been fired, the team declining a club contract option for next year and making a major influence on the Wrigleyville rebuild a free agent. Epstein and Bosio did not immediately respond to text messages and the club has not officially outlined the shape of the 2018 coaching staff.

Those exit meetings on Friday at Wrigley Field are just the beginning of an offseason that could lead to sweeping changes, with the Cubs looking to replace 40 percent of their rotation, identify an established closer (whether or not that's Wade Davis), find another leadoff option and maybe break up their World Series core of hitters to acquire pitching. 

The obvious candidate to replace Bosio is Jim Hickey, Maddon's longtime pitching coach with the Tampa Bay Rays who has Chicago roots and recently parted ways with the small-market franchise that stayed competitive by consistently developing young arms like David Price and Chris Archer.

Of course, Maddon denied that speculation during an NLCS where the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs in every phase of the game and the manager's bullpen decisions kept getting second-guessed.

Bosio has a big personality and strong opinions that rocked the boat at times, but he brought instant credibility as an accomplished big-league pitcher who helped implement the team's sophisticated game-planning system.

Originally a Dale Sveum hire for the 2012 season/Epstein regime Year 1 where the Cubs lost 101 games, Bosio helped coach up and market short-term assets like Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. 

Those win-later trades combined with Bosio's expertise led to a 2016 major-league ERA leader (Kyle Hendricks) and a 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner (Jake Arrieta) plus setup guys Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. and All-Star shortstop Addison Russell.

Bosio helped set the foundation for the group that won last year's World Series and has made three consecutive trips to the NLCS. But as the Cubs are going to find out this winter, there is a shelf life to everything, even for those who made their mark during a golden age of baseball on the North Side.