Cubs

Diaco happy to be at Notre Dame

956071.png

Diaco happy to be at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Bob Diaco believes several coaching jobs are available but insists hes not involved in the conversation for any of them.

Notre Dames assistant head coachdefensive coordinator said in a media session on Monday afternoon he isnt in direct contact with any schools about coaching vacancies -- Wisconsin included.

Media reports have linked Diaco, 39, to interviews for openings at Temple, Cal and Boston College, where he reportedly was a finalist.

But Diaco, who recently received the Broyles Award for being the nations top assistant coach, said hes happy to be part of Brian Kellys staff and is focused on the teams Jan. 7 matchup against Alabama in the BCS Championship Game in Miami.

I really believe I have the best assistant coaching job in America, Diaco said. I love who I work for. I love where I work. I dont want to change who I work for and I dont want to change where I work. The commitment to the players and the daily process, and the focus on that, now shifts to Alabama. Because its already in our DNA to work that way, that just doesnt go away. You still stay focused.

Were focused on our preparation for Alabama and the national championship game. And I feel like I love the job that I have.

Diacos defense ranks as the best in the nation in a number of categories.

Notre Dame heads into its 13th game having yielded just 10.3 points per game, which is first among FBS schools. The Irish also lead the nation in red-zone touchdowns allowed percentage, points allowed per red zone trip, fewest rushing touchdowns, total red-zone TDs allowed, and so on.

He attributes it to talented, intelligent players who are dedicated and focused and a cut above the rest. Diaco also believes the dynamic between he and Kelly, who previously hired him at Cincinnati and Central Michigan, is a key component.

Its Batman-Robin, Diaco said. Obviously, hes Batman. Its the best. I know what hes thinking before hes thinking it. Im on it. He doesnt have to come talk to me. He does, and he can, and he knows Im not going to be sensitive about it.

Diaco is serving in his first season as Kellys assistant head coach. He won the Broyles Award this season and was nominated in 2011. Earlier this month, Kelly said he wasnt surprised when he heard news Diaco is being courted --- at the time it was Boston College --- because of his coaching ability.

Hes the finest defensive coordinator in the country, Kelly said. Bob is a bright football coach. We have conversations about it. All I could tell you is that it doesnt surprise me that hes a part of it.

Diaco hasnt denied it, either. The attention, he admits, is flattering. But it wont be a distraction when it comes to Notre Dames upcoming title game.

Its an honor to be in the conversation, Diaco said. Im very proud of that and Im honored by it. So, I dont hide or run from it either, but it hasnt been a problem to manage any of that.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.