Bears

Moore explodes in Bloom' victory

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Moore explodes in Bloom' victory

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com
Bloom senior Donald Moore has been tearing up south suburban basketball courts for three seasons now, but the games have taken on some extra meaning.Moore became an academic qualifier in mid-January, and hes trying to get the word out to as many colleges as possible. Fridays 59-52 win over Rich South in Richton Park should help. The 6-foot point guard scored 22 points.I hope some of the Division I schools find out he qualified and he starts to get some offers, Bloom coach Jasper Williams said. Donald has set the tone for us all year. Hes one of the top guards in the state.Moores stable, guiding hand was as important as his 22 points. The No. 7 Blazing Trojans are as disciplined as they have been in years. They only turned the ball over eight times in the game while forcing Rich South into 15 turnovers.Weve been able to do that all year, Moore said. Coach told us were a guard-heavy team and we need to take care of the ball.Bloom was in control throughout the first half, but the Stars made a run in the third quarter, tying the game at 35 after two free throws from John Ruffin. Bloom responded with a 7-1 run to close the quarter.Ruffin scored 12 and grabbed 12 rebounds, but hes usually capable of much more.Our main focus was on Ruffin, Williams said. Hes the best rebounder in the conference and to hold him to that is excellent.LJ Johnson scored 24 for Bloom and Johnny Griffin added 15 points and five rebounds. Marquell Small led the Stars with 14 points and seven rebounds.Bloom (21-3, 7-1 Southland) and Rich South (16-6, 4-2) split two previous games this season, including a Bloom win in the Big Dipper title game.Its real hard to play a team three times, Moore said. They know almost all of our plays and what we do. You just have to try and adjust to it.Moore has an offer from Chicago State, and Cal Poly has shown some interest. Now that Ive qualified the offers should start coming in, Moore said.

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

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USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”