Cubs

Suspended Rees lending help wherever he can

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Suspended Rees lending help wherever he can

The circumstances are different, but the rhetoric is the same.

Tommy Rees won't start Notre Dame's season opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland on the first day of September. He's suspended for the game, the result of a "set of poor decisions," as coach Brian Kelly said, made at an off-campus party last May. At Wednesday's practice, Rees didn't take a single snap in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills.

Rewind to last season, when Dayne Crist was benched for all but a handful of plays after being yanked following a rough first half in Notre Dame's season-opening loss to USF. Despite his demotion and infrequent playing time, Crist was held in high esteem for his attitude and work ethic.

"Even if he's not out there, he's still a leader on the team," former running back Jonas Gray said last October. "A lot of guys look up to him."

"Great guy, great leader," added Michael Floyd in December. "For all the stuff that went on in his career here, he still held his head up high and stayed a good friend to me and a good teammate to everyone."

Rees' career path may not follow that of Crist, who transferred to Kansas following the conclusion of Notre Dame's regular season last year. But, for now, the explanations of Rees' fellow quarterbacks as to how helpful he's been sound somewhat familiar.

"He's been such a positive influence on all three of the younger guys," Andrew Hendrix said. "Having Tommy back there at all times is really an invaluable resource that we have."

Everett Golson, who's been pegged by some as the favorite to win the starting gig, rooms with Rees and said the junior has been very accessible when it comes to helping him out. But, at the same time, Golson acknowledged how odd it is for Rees to watch while nearly the entire team moves forward without him, at least for the first game.

"It is awkward," Golson said. "I praise Tommy for that, because I don't know if I could really do that. Tommy's a great guy."

And Gunner Kiel, a true freshman, is trying to soak up as much of Rees' experience with the Notre Dame offense as he possibly can.

"He knows so much about the game," Kiel said. "I talked to Tommy outside of football, and he says he wants to be a college coach. He definitely has the ability and mind for it. It's great having him in there to teach us all the stuff he knows."

It's likely too early to peg Rees as nothing more than a coach this season. Maybe that's in his future -- Hendrix agreed with the notion that Rees would make a fantastic college coach.

But Kelly has said Rees can "attempt to climb the depth chart" after the Navy game, and the third-year coach has also said he won't hesitate to make a switch at quarterback if he isn't pleased with the level of play from that position in the season opener.

So the door isn't completely shut on Rees starting another game for Notre Dame in the future. He's apologized for his arrest, which resulted in a pair of guilty pleas on misdemeanor charges. While he's not directly a part of Notre Dame's quarterback battle, Rees' teammates see a player who's still doing everything he can to help.

"That's the past," Hendrix said. "We're just moving forward."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are Cubs truly the best NL team at the All-Star break?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are Cubs truly the best NL team at the All-Star break?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Hub Arkush, Jordan Bernfield and Fred Mitchell join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel. 

The Cubs have the best record in the National League at the All-Star Break but it doesn’t feel like it. Can they still win the N.L. pennant? And will the Home Run Derby mess up Kyle Schwarber or Javy Baez’s swings?

Plus, Will Perdue drops by to talk about Jabari Parker’s signing. He also shares his surprising prediction for how the Bulls will do next season.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

Trubisky using flashcards to learn Bears offense

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USA Today

Trubisky using flashcards to learn Bears offense

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is preparing for his second season in the NFL, one in which he'll be running an entirely new offense, with a tried-and-true method of learning: flashcards.

“Quarterback play is how fast you can process,” Trubisky told the Chicago Sun-Times. “A lot of that is recollection. That’s exactly what flash cards are.

"You’re trying to learn and memorize, and to try to forget what you did in the past.”

Coach Matt Nagy is attempting to install an offense that took five years to master in Kansas City in his first offseason in Chicago. Its success or failure will circle directly back to how well Trubisky operates within its structure.

Despite its complexity, Trubisky feels more comfortable in Nagy's system than the one Dowell Loggains ran last season.

“It’s more complex, but it’s easier [to execute], as opposed to simpler but more difficult.

"That’s how I would describe it last year. Last year, there were probably less words, but they didn’t necessarily fit together. Or it was just more difficult to process. This year, it’s more complex but it’s easier to execute and memorize and remember because everything builds on something. You start with a base concept, and it gets more and more complicated.”

Trubisky's comments illustrate what makes Nagy a potentially special offensive coach. He's making a normally difficult process seem easy, and that's the kind of environment that will facilitate learning and execution.

“It’s just crazy to see. I feel like that’s how it should be done, because it’s a more advanced offense, but we were able to pick it up so quickly over the summer because of how they taught it. And how everything fits together."