Preps Talk

Player D-coordinator: If not Nick Roach, then...?

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Player D-coordinator: If not Nick Roach, then...?

During the preseason, the Bears experimented with Blake Costanzo at middle linebacker with Brian Urlacher out while his injured knee healed. If they need to fill for Nick Roach on Sunday, Costanzo is the likely replacement with Dom DeCicco the latest roster addition.

But there are some other options, even if those options dont particularly like them.

One is to move Lance Briggs from his weak-side spot into the middle. Hes having none of that.

This is my 10th year, and Ive never played Mike. Briggs said on Thursday. It would be easier to play Sam. It would be easier for me to play nickel cornerback than it would be for me to play Mike.

It would indeed. Briggs was the starting strong-side linebacker his rookie season (2003) under Dick Jauron and Greg Blache. He has played the dime defensive back in the past because coach Lovie Smith reasoned that Briggs was better in coverage than the No. 4 cornerback or safety.

So why not Briggs to the strong-side spot and Geno Hayes to weak-side linebacker, where he has played his entire career?

Because then the Bears will have shuffled three different positions to fix one. At least with Roach going to the middle and Hayes to the strong side, its only two changes.

Another possible change would be rookie Shea McClellin to strong-side linebacker from defensive end. McClellin is being dropped into short zone coverages occasionally and was a hybrid linebackerpass rusher at Boise State.

The kid will pass, thank you very much.

Coaches want me to play defensive end and thats what Im focusing on right now, McClellin. I just want to get better at defensive end and not worry about another position.

Well see what happens.

Best guess is that McClellin could be used in different alignments against the Minnesota Vikings. He occasionally was even inside at defensive tackle against the Seattle Seahawks and was used to spy on mobile quarterback Russell Wilson.

Christian Ponder lacks Wilsons mobility but the need to flow to Adrian Petersons point of attack is critical, and McClellin may be positioned better to do that from an upright, two-point stance.

Hes athletic enough to drop back and do all those things, Briggs said. But no, were using him the right way. Our game plan and the way we run our defense is effective enough. You dont have to go out and do a bunch of extra things. If we just go out and play our solid defense, well be fine.

73 Days To Kickoff: Fenwick

73 Days To Kickoff: Fenwick

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Fenwick

Head coach: Gene Nudo

Assistant coaches: Dick Eufrasio, Titcus Pettigrew, Tim Rooney, Brien Rooney, Craig Schneider, Joe Bauers, Mike Herman and Joe Hajek

How they fared in 2018: 3-6 (2-2 Chicago Catholic League/Green Conference). Fenwick failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoffs.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Curie
Sept. 6 vs Dunbar
Sept. 13 @ Nazareth Academy
Sept. 20 @ Joliet Catholic
Sept. 27 vs. Marist
Oct. 4 vs Marmion Academy
Oct. 11 vs. St. Patrick
Oct. 18 @ Leo  
Oct. 25 @ St. Ignatius

[MORE: 75 Days to Kickoff - St. Ignatius]

Biggest storyline: The new conference. Can the Friars bounce back from last season while playing a new and challenging league?

Names to watch this season: OL/DL Sean Carpenter (Sr.) QB Kaden Cobb (Soph.) and WR Bryce Legan (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Friars welcome back several starters from last fall but will also need to find six new replacements on the defensive side of the football.

EDGY's Early Take: Fenwick struggled last season. The Friars played several underclassmen starters and they're hoping that experience will pay off come August. The new CCL/ESCC mega conference also brings new challenges. It includes a tough path in the middle of the season with games at Nazareth, at Joliet Catholic and then at home vs. Marist. If the Friars can get out of the gate quickly, they have a good shot at earning a state playoff spot in 2019. 

Report: Bulls looking to trade up for Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland

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USA TODAY

Report: Bulls looking to trade up for Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland

NBA Draft week is filled with rumors that never come to fruition, so take this with a grain of salt.

The Bulls are reportedly interested in trading up to draft Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland.

That report from ESPN's Jonathan Givony comes in the wake of him also reporting that Garland has scheduled a last-minute workout with the New York Knicks, owners of the No. 3 pick.

Other reports mention that the Knicks are bringing Garland in for the private workout just in case they move out of the No. 3 slot on draft night. They're still expected to take Duke's R.J. Barrett after the New Orleans Pelicans select Zion Williamson first overall and the Memphis Grizzlies nab Murray State point guard with the second pick.

For the Bulls, it makes sense. They have an obvious need at point guard - though that shouldn't be their main focus on draft night - and have been enamored with Garland for quite some time. Though Garland played only five games as a freshman before tearing his meniscus, the former 5-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker for his outside prowess at the point and his playmaking ability.

Givony also reported that Garland had a private workout with the Bulls - among other teams - and turned heads in it, He's 100 percent recovered after knee surgery in November, too, which is important.

It's unclear what the Bulls would have to give up in a potential deal, but it would be a lot. Of the teams listed as potentially trying to trade up to No. 4, the Hawks (three first-round picks) and the Celtics (three first-round picks) have more assets to offer than the Bulls.

It's difficult to see a scenario where the Bulls part with any of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine or Wendell Carter Jr. in a package for No. 4. In theory, the Bulls could offer up a protected first-round pick in next year's draft, similar to what the Dallas Mavericks did last season in moving up for Luka Doncic. Dallas traded the No. 5 pick and a top-5 protected pick for the No. 3 pick. That pick wound up being No. 10 this season.

For now, it's a rumor and we'll keep an eye on it over the next 48 hours.