Bears

Mount Carmel pounds Simeon

931367.png

Mount Carmel pounds Simeon

By Mike Clark

Season Pass

Even if the results were there for Mount Carmel the past two weeks, something was clearly missing.

Though the Caravan was getting healthier with the return of mainstays like linebacker D.J. Romero and more diverse with the emergence of Vince Speller on offense, the formula wasnt complete.

We thought our enthusiasm in the Providence game and the Brother Rice game, it seemed a little down compared to what its been in the past, quarterback Don Butkus said. Thats what wet tried to emphasize, playing with enthusiasm, playing Mount Carmel football. Being fast, energetic. getting to the ball.

I thought the defense really accomplished that.

The numbers proved it, too. The Caravan didnt give up a play for positive yardage till early in the second quarter, when it was up by four touchdowns and well on the way to a 41-6 win over Simeon Friday night in Class 8A second-round action at Gately Stadium.

Butkus threw two touchdown passes to Speller and ran for another score for Mount Carmel (10-1), which goes on the road next weekend to play the winner of Saturdays Lyons-OFallon game. Simeon (8-2), which had won eight straight since an opening loss to Loyola, drops back into the Prep Bowl playoffs.

The tone for this game was set early by Mount Carmel on both offense and defense.

Butkus raced 79 yards down the left sideline on the second play from scrimmage to set up his own two-yard touchdown run on the next play.

Our dive fake ... sold it, Butkus said of the long run. Their safety ended up flying all the way up to the line of scrimmage. I tried to take advantage of it.

After Simeon went three-and-out, Mount Carmel again needed just three plays to score, this time on a 19-yard run up the middle by Draco Smith (10 carries, 66 yards).

Speller then picked off Simeon quarterback Elcee Burke (6-of-12, 70 yards) on the next play from scrimmage and eight plays after that.

Matt Domer (five carries, 58 yards) went 15 yards for a 21-0 Caravan lead with 3:57 left in the first quarter.

Butkus (seven carries, 82 yards; 57 yards passing) hit Speller with scoring passes of 16 and 30 yards in the second quarter, sandwiched around another TD run by Domer of 12 yards. It was 41-0 at halftime and the only score of the second half was Darnell Cockrells late touchdown run for Simeon.

Vince is a hell of an athlete, a big body, Butkus said. We just try to put him where hes going to be able to make plays. A lot of guys are starting to key on Jason Gasser, Mount Carmels leading receiver. ... Being able to hit Vince with two touchdown passes hopefully will open things up for us.

Speller, whos committed to Eastern Illinois as a cornerback, was glad to help out however he could.

We knew Simeon was going to come out and punch us in the mouth, Speller said. We had to throw the first punch.

Pro Football Focus: Bears rank near bottom-third of NFL in pass protection

Pro Football Focus: Bears rank near bottom-third of NFL in pass protection

If the Chicago Bears want to make a real run at the playoffs in 2018, the offensive line will have to do its part by keeping QB Mitch Trubisky upright. The offense is expected to be more pass-heavy under coach Matt Nagy and will depend on Trubisky having time in the pocket to go through his progressions and find the open target.

New offensive line coach Harry Hiestand should help that cause. He's universally praised as one of the best offensive line coaches in the sport and will be charged with getting a better effort from a unit that ended last season ranked in the bottom-third of pass protection, according to Pro Football Focus.

19. CHICAGO BEARS

2017 pass-blocking efficiency: 77.9

Best individual PBE: Josh Sitton, 97.4

Because of several crippling injuries, nine different players saw at least 100 pass-block snaps for the Bears in 2017. They gave up 152 pressures on 536 passing plays. The top performance came from left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who enjoyed the best season of his career and allowed just 24 pressures all season. Heading into the 2018 campaign, rookie guard James Daniels is penciled in to fill the shoes of the recently departed pass-blocking star Josh Sitton. Daniels performed well in pass protection during his final college season, allowing just 10 pressures on 371 pass-blocking snaps at Iowa.

The Bears will be without last season's top pass-protector, Josh Sitton, who was let go by GM Ryan Pace this offseason and signed with the Dolphins. 

Pass protection was once all about the play of the offensive tackles, but with the NFL's interior defensive linemen evolving into disruptive forces up the middle, guard play will be nearly as important. A healthy Kyle Long is critical. Chicago can't afford growing pains from James Daniels, either. Cody Whitehair returns to full-time center duties, a role he excelled at during his rookie season. 

Charles Leno should provide reliable play at left tackle. Bobby Massie remains a wildcard, but with little depth behind him, the Bears can do nothing more than hope his bad reps are limited in 2018.

With Hiestand in the fold and a healthy Long ready to compete at a high level again, the Bears' offensive line should be much improved this season.

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Evan Bouchard

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game. He's one of the top offensive-defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play."

NHL player comparable: John Carlson/Alex Pietrangelo

Fit for Blackhawks:

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Bouchard is one of the most NHL-ready defensemen in this year's draft and that could be appetizing for a team like the Blackhawks, who are looking for immediate help on the blue line. But Bouchard is a right-handed shot, and drafting him would add a third high-end right-handed shot defenseman to the organization, along with prospects Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

You can never have enough of them, but there's only room for three before somebody would have to play on their off hand and that would mean the third would be playing on the bottom pairing. All three of these players have Top 4 potential.

Still, that may not even come into play here. The Blackhawks will seek to take the best available player, like they always have. And if they feel it's Bouchard, they'll do it.