White Sox

Notre Dame notes: Kelly not concerned with BCS standings

604042.png

Notre Dame notes: Kelly not concerned with BCS standings

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It's been just shy of six years since Notre Dame has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the BCS standings. On Sunday, the BCS revealed Notre Dame as a top five team, the first time that's been the case since the week of Nov. 19, 2006.

For everyone outside of the football program, that's a nice bragging point. For those in it, not so much.

"I really don't care, I'm sorry," coach Brian Kelly sighed when asked about his team's BCS ranking. "I know all of our fans care a lot about that stuff and that's great. I love seeing Notre Dame out there and having stories about Notre Dame. That's why we came here. But I really don't give it any thought as to positionally whether that's a better post position for us than, you know, any other. Sorry."

Kelly explained Notre Dame never set the goal of making the BCS championship or a BCS bowl, spurning the big picture for week-to-week objectives. Notre Dame hasn't appeared in a BCS bowl since January of 2007, and has never won the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta or Rose Bowl in the BCS era.

"We don't have a list of goals that says, hey, we want to go to the Sugar Bowl, we want to go to the Fiesta Bowl, we want to win the National Championship," Kelly said. "We don't have any of those goals. They are not written down, you won't see them anywhere, they are not in our locker room.

"All you'll really hear us talk about are the goals as it relates to playing the game, and if you hit these goals, you've got a great chance to win and then how do you get there and so that's how we deal with it on a daytoday basis."

Where, exactly, does Hendrix stand?

If Everett Golson winds up not being cleared for Saturday's game -- judging by Kelly's comments, that's a longshot -- Tommy Rees would, presumably, get the start. But on Notre Dame's depth chart, the No. 2 quarterback is listed as "Andrew Hendrix OR Tommy Rees," just as it has been since Rees' suspension ended after the first week. Kelly said Rees and Hendrix will have about a 60-40 split in the percentage of practice reps with Golson out Tuesday, and that he could use both in case Golson can't play Saturday.

"What we are going to get three quarterbacks ready and at what level they are, it will determine, but we already know what Tommy is capable of doing," Kelly said. "We know he just needs to clean up on some of the finer detail things. Andrew has not got a ton of work, and you know, if Everett can't go till Thursday, then maybe we have to bring it down a little bit. But we have to make sure that you have to defend a running quarterback that can run, that's going to be part of the game plan."

That last line indicates if Rees did have to start a game, Hendrix could be used to keep the zone read, or any other quarterback rushing play, in the playbook. But he hasn't played since Notre Dame's opener, which also stands as the only game in which Rees wasn't available this year.

When asked if there was a situation in which Hendrix would play over Rees, though, Kelly repeated what he said before.

"No, I haven't thought of -- I'm going to have three quarterbacks ready to play on Saturday," Kelly said.

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

0421-danny-farquhar.jpg
AP

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.

Protection Issues: Bears O-line ranked 21st in NFL

Protection Issues: Bears O-line ranked 21st in NFL

Mitch Trubisky has been set up for a huge season in 2018 with all the firepower the Chicago Bears added on offense. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton will give the second-year quarterback a variety of explosive targets to generate points in bunches.

None of the headline-grabbing moves will matter, however, if the offensive line doesn't do its job. 

According to Numberfire.com, the Bears' starting five could be the offense's Achilles heel. They were ranked 21st in the NFL and described as poor in pass protection.

Last year, the Bears ranked 26th in Sack NEP per drop back and 23rd in sack rate. These issues were especially apparent after Trubisky took over. In the games that [Kyle] Long played, their sack rate was 8.2%. It was actually 7.2% in the games that he missed. They struggled even when Long was healthy.

The Bears added Iowa's James Daniels in the second round of April's draft and he's expected to start at guard alongside Long. Cody Whitehair will resume his role as the starting center, with Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie at offensive tackle.

If Long comes back healthy and Daniels lives up to his draft cost, they should be a good run-blocking team from the jump. But Long has played just 18 games the past two years and is entering his age-30 season, so that's far from a lock. On top of that, the pass blocking was suspect last year and remains a mystery entering 2018.

The biggest addition to the offensive line is Harry Hiestand, the accomplished position coach who returns to Chicago after once serving in the same role under Lovie Smith from 2005-2009. He most recently coached at Notre Dame and helped develop multiple first-round picks. He's going to have a huge impact.

The good news for the Bears is they weren't the lowest-ranked offensive line in the NFC North. The Vikings came in at No. 25. The Packers checked-in at No. 13, while the Lions were 16th.