Cubs

Is Aaron Bailey the next Tim Tebow?

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Is Aaron Bailey the next Tim Tebow?

People who criticize Tim Tebow for what they perceive as his over-the-top religious beliefs or his inability to complete forward passes in the NFL often forget that he was the top-rated quarterback in the nation coming out of high school and had a legendary college career at Florida.

Bolingbrook's Aaron Bailey hasn't forgotten.

"I like Tim Tebow. I liked him when he was at Florida," Bailey said. "That's why I wear number 15, Tim Tebow's number. I like his character on and off the field. He's the same type of quarterback I am. I like how he doesn't say no, how determined he is, how he doesn't let anyone or anything bother him, how he always puts Christ first, how he ministers, how he isn't ashamed to talk about it."

Bailey, who quarterbacked Bolingbrook to the Class 8A championship last year, is a very religious person. He never forgets "to give God the glory" whenever he scores a touchdown. Last season, he accounted for 40 touchdowns while amassing over 3,000 yards rushing and passing.

The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder hopes to do as well or even better in 2012 as he seeks to lead Bolingbrook to another state title. And then he will take his act to Illinois, where he is determined to become the catalyst for new coach Tim Beckman's program.

Bailey had more than a dozen scholarship offers, including Notre Dame, Northwestern and Wisconsin. But he chose Illinois over Nebraska "because I liked how they trusted me as a quarterback. I want to be a quarterback in college and that's what they recruited me for. Others recruited me as a wide receiver or athlete."

He is the stereotypical and prototypical quarterback who was born to run a spread offense, what Dan Persa and Zak Kustok were to Northwestern, what Donovan McNabb was to Syracuse, what Terrelle Pryor was to Ohio State, what Tim Tebow was to Florida, what Tommie Frazier was to Nebraska, what Juice Williams was to Illinois.

"He has speed (4.4), size and strength, what colleges look for in spread quarterbacks," Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said.

"I feel I can fit into any offense, but the spread is pretty good," Bailey said. "I love to break down defenses, go to their weak points. I love to throw on the run. But I made a reputation as a runner because of the style of offense we run."

Ivlow's only advice to Bailey: "Just make your first read and go from there," Ivlow told his quarterback. "If you focus on your second read, you'll mess up. Don't over-think it."

In Bolingbrook's 21-17 victory over Loyola in the state final, Bailey rushed 33 times for 149 yards and scored on runs of 33 and 10 yards and completed 8 of 13 passes for 140 yards.

"I'm a dedicated guy who loves to win. I'm motivated. I don't take failure as an option," he said. "I read the end or outside linebacker. If they crash, I may pull the ball or give it to my running back. I love it when I'm in the open field, when I can decide if I want to cut back or keep running. I like the open field where I can be very creative."

Bailey believes he can be even better in 2012 than he was in 2011. And he can't wait until summer camp in June when he will begin working out with his teammates, particularly fullback Jaden Huff, running back Omar Stover and receivers Brandon Lewis and Chandler Piekarski.

"We're more hungry this year," he said. "We know every team will play against us like it is the state championship game. For us, it is very important to win two state titles in a row. That's our ultimate goal."

Individually, Bailey insists he has "a lot of improving to do," specifically his pocket presence. "I want to stay in the pocket and deliver the ball rather than run. I want to be a better player and work harder and have fun and not over-think things. In football, you can't over-think things. I want to have fun, just like last year," he said.

Bailey said he also can't wait to begin playing for Beckman at Illinois. Nebraska might have been his first choice in the early going but Bailey, his mother and stepfather clearly were impressed by Beckman.

"We prayed about (his decision) as a family," he said. "I felt comfortable about it. Why not play in your home state? It's a great school. I like (Beckman's) demeanor, his attitude, how he gets fired up. I can't wait to play for him. The spread offense is fit for me. I want to make my own name. I think we'll have fun and win some games."

How Cubs temporarily grabbed White Sox spotlight during Sunday Night Baseball

How Cubs temporarily grabbed White Sox spotlight during Sunday Night Baseball

Even with the White Sox on center stage, the Cubs found their way into the spotlight.

“We’re gonna aggravate everybody in Schaumburg with this,” ESPN broadcaster Matt Vasgersian said Sunday. “White Sox fans, sorry about this.”

The White Sox made their first appearance on Sunday Night Baseball since May 12, 2013 on Sunday. But early in their matchup against the Indians, the ESPN broadcast momentarily pivoted towards the North Siders.

ESPN showed the results of a social media poll asking baseball fans what they make of the Cubs’ 10-3 start to the season. Of the more than 52,000 respondents, 41 percent said they’ll start to fade soon, 34 percent said they’re a World Series contender and 25 percent said they’re a division title contender.

“Apparently, we had a lot of respondents calling from the South Side of Chicago,” Vasgersian joked.

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The Cubs were scheduled to appear on Sunday Night Baseball before their series against the Cardinals was postponed. So while the poll’s appearance was no coincidence, some White Sox fans probably weren’t happy seeing it pop up mid-game.

“White Sox (fans) are saying,” Vasgersian said, “‘It’s the first time we’ve been on Sunday Night Baseball since 2013 and we gotta talk about the Cubs?’” 

White Sox fans have aired their grievances in recent years over the team being forgotten by national media, especially as the Cubs have received plenty of coverage. This may not fall under the same category as previous occurrences, but it certainly brings back memories of those moments.

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Here's where Bears fans stand on Chicago's QB competition after first week of training camp

Here's where Bears fans stand on Chicago's QB competition after first week of training camp

The first week of training camp is in the books, and while it certainly wasn't anything like what fans are accustomed to this time of year, it is still training camp, and the Chicago Bears do still have a quarterback competition underway, regardless of how odd it may seem.

Padded practices won't get underway for another week and there's been very little intel gathered from the t-shirts and shorts practices aside from what the coaches and players have shared on Zoom. We won't have any preseason games to scout and there will be very limited media access to the practice sessions once they get started (for real).

Regardless, Bears fans are an opinionated bunch even if there isn't much information available about how the battle between Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles is unfolding so far. What we do know is that both quarterbacks will be given an equal chance to win the job, and QB coach John DeFilippo is going to evaluate every aspect of every throw in every practice so the team can reach the best decision possible.

So who does the fanbase prefer at this point now that we're inching closer to Week 1 (five weeks away, to be exact)? Has Foles started winning over the Trubisky truthers, or does the former second overall pick still have the confidence of the fanbase entering his fourth season in town?

I decided to poll Bears fans on Twitter on this topic, and the results, as you could imagine, were very close. Of the 310 responses I received, 56% of the voters prefer Foles over Trubisky. Essentially, the job is still completely up for grabs, even in the eyes of the fans. The results are also proof that neither quarterback is overwhelmingly favored (from a support standpoint) by the fanbase. The point here is that Bears fans appear willing and ready to support whoever wins the job, which is great for the team overall.

There is no favorite to win this competition. Not with the coaches, and apparently, not with the fans either.

May the best quarterback win.