Bears

In the Clutch: McElrath leads Simeon to Finals

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In the Clutch: McElrath leads Simeon to Finals

Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted: 10:41 p.m.

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

PEORIA Glenbard East coach Scott Millers scouting report said that Simeon senior Rashawn McElrath was probably the Wolverines worst free-throw shooter. So with the game on the line, it was McElrath that continually found himself at the free-throw line. Time and again, the 6-7 senior came through. He made all seven of his free throws in the fourth quarter to help Simeon hold on to a 56-53 win over Glenbard East in the Class 4A state semifinals at Carver Arena. The most crucial pair of free throws came with 14 seconds to play and the Wolverines clinging to a two-point lead. McElrath had been raked across the face by Zach Miller on the foul.I was just trying to see, McElrath said. So thats all I thought about. I was fine.Simeon opened the game with a 15-0 run, dominating every phase of the game. But when Simeons second line of players came in, the Rams came right back, draining three three-pointers to close the first quarter. By halftime, Glenbard East only trailed by five.It gave us a sense of urgency, Simeon sophomore Jabari Parker said. We came out tougher after that. They showed they could play with us.The second half was a classic state tournament game, with two poised and talented teams battling. In the end, Simeons near perfection (17-for-18) from the free-throw line was the difference in the game.Give them credit, Scott Miller said. I didnt know who to foul, they all just kept stepping up and making the shots.McElrath led Simeon (29-2) with 17 points and Parker scored 16. Senior guard Tywon Pinkney added 12 for the Wolverines.Glenbard East (27-4) was able to survive Simeons massive height advantage by shooting 12-for-31 from three-point range, eventually forcing Simeon to play man defense.We just went out and played with all the heart we had, Glenbard East senior Johnny Hill said. Everyone on the team gave everything, everyone on the court and on the bench.Hill, who finished with 22 points and five rebounds, was consistently terrific throughout the state tournament.He really stepped up his game and led his team during the playoffs, Simeon coach Robert Smith said. Hes a great player.Kevin Priebe scored 11 for the Rams and Dante Bailey added nine. Bailey made a three with six seconds to play that brought Glenbard East within two points. The Rams received a delay of game techincal for throwing the ball into the stands after the basket.That didnt effect the outcome of the game, Scott Miller said.Simeon will face the winner of the Warren-Normal game for the Class 4A state title Saturday night at 8:15 p.m.

Why coming to the Bears was the right opportunity for Harry Hiestand to leave Notre Dame

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AP

Why coming to the Bears was the right opportunity for Harry Hiestand to leave Notre Dame

There wasn’t a single game Harry Hiestand coached while at Notre Dame — 77 in total — in which he didn’t have a future top-20 pick starting at left tackle. 

Zack Martin (16th overall, 2014) was followed by Ronnie Stanley (6th overall, 2016), who gave way to Mike McGlinchey (9th overall, 2018). Hiestand also developed Quenton Nelson, who went on to be the highest interior offensive lineman drafted (6th overall, 2018) since 1986. Nelson and McGlinchey became the first pair of college offensive line teammates to be drafted in the first 10 picks since 1991, when Tennessee had tackles Charles McRae and Antone Davis go seventh and eighth. 

“It wasn’t surprising because the kind of guys they are, they absolutely did everything the right way, the way they took care of themselves, the way they trained, the teammates that they are and were,” Hiestand said. “They just did it all the way you wanted them to do it. So it was. It was a good moment.”

Hiestand said he had a sense of pride after seeing his two former players be drafted so high, even if he wasn't able to re-unite with either of them. The Bears, of course, didn’t have a chance to draft Nelson, and had conviction on using the eighth overall pick on linebacker Roquan Smith (as well as having tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie in place for the 2018 season). 

Anecdotally, one former Notre Dame player said (maybe half-jokingly) that Nelson and McGlinchey were fighting each other to see who could get drafted by the Bears to play with Hiestand again.

“There’s nobody that I’ve been around in this game that’s more passionate about what he does,” McGlinchey, now with the San Francisco 49ers, said of Hiestand at Notre Dame’s pro day in March. “There’s really only two things that are important to him, and that’s his family and then his offensive linemen. There’s a lot to be said for that. 

“In this game, everybody’s always trying to work an angle to up their own career — he doesn’t want to do anything but coach O-line, and that’s what really sticks out to us as players. He cares for us like we’re his own. Obviously he coaches extremely hard and is very demanding of his players, which I loved — he pushed me to be the player that I am.

“I’m standing in front of all you guys because of Harry Hiestand. But the amount of passion and care that he has not only for his job but his teaching abilities and his players is what sets him apart.”

Hiestand could’ve stayed as long as he wanted at Notre Dame, presumably, given how much success he had recruiting and developing players there. But six years at one spot is a long time for a position coach, especially at the college level, where the grind of recruiting is so vital to the success of a program. It’s also not like every one of the blue-chip prospects Hiestand recruited to South Bend panned out, either. 

So Hiestand knew he wanted to get back to the NFL after coaching with the Bears under Lovie Smith from 2005-2009. It’s a new challenge for him now, not only to develop second-round pick James Daniels but to continue the growth of Cody Whitehair and Leno while getting the most out of Kyle Long, Massie and the rest of the group (back during his first stint with the Bears, Hiestand had the luxury of coaching experienced, more ready-made offensive lines). 

As one of the more highly-regarded offensive line coaches in the country, though, Hiestand could’ve jumped back into the NFL whenever, and nearly wherever, he wanted. And for him, coming back to the Bears was the perfect fit. 

“That’s an awesome, awesome place, a great franchise,” Hiestand said. “It was something, I always wanted to go back, I didn’t know where I would get the opportunity. So I’m just very fortunate it just happened to be back at the same place that I was before. There are a lot of things that are different but there’s also a lot that’s the same. 

“But it’s one of the — it is the greatest organization. Historically, this is where it all began, and being part of it — and the other thing, and I told those guys when I got here, when we get it done here, you guys are going to see this city like you’ve never seen it. And I remember that. That’s what we’re after.” 

On a scale of 1-10, Tarik Cohen says his dangerous level is 12

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USA Today

On a scale of 1-10, Tarik Cohen says his dangerous level is 12

Don't be fooled by Tarik Cohen's height. He has towering confidence and he's setting up to have a big role in coach Matt Nagy's offense in 2018.

“On a scale of 1-10, the dangerous level is probably 12,” Cohen said Wednesday at Halas Hall about the impact he can have in the Bears' new system. “Because in backyard football, it’s really anything goes, and it’s really whoever gets tired first, that’s who’s going to lose. I’m running around pretty good out here, so I feel like I’m doing a good job.”

Cohen proved last season he can thrive in space. He made an impact as a runner, receiver and return man and will have a chance at an even bigger workload this fall, assuming he can handle it.

With Jordan Howard established as the starting running back, Cohen knows his touches will come in a variety of ways.

“It might not necessarily be rushes,” he said. “But it’s going to be all over the field, and that’s what I like to do. Any way I can get the ball or make a play for my team, that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

Cohen averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry as a rookie and led all NFL running backs in the percentage of carries that went for at least 15 yards. He's a big play waiting to happen.