Preps Talk

UFC 123: Jackson Outlasts Machida; Penn Over Hughes

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UFC 123: Jackson Outlasts Machida; Penn Over Hughes

Sunday, November 21, 2010 1:41 am
By LARRY LAGEMMA PAGE MMA VIDEO
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The UFC's first card featuring four former champions had one quick fight and another that went the distance.B.J. Penn beat Matt Hughes in just 21 seconds and Quinton "Rampage"Jackson won a split decision against Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 onSaturday night. Penn knocked Hughes flatonto his back with a right cross, then unleashed a flurry of shots tohis head that led to their fight being stopped. "He hit me hard," Hughes said. "When I felt the hit, I thought it was a knee or a kick."There weren't many punches or kicks in the Jackson-Machida fight, butJackson's aggressive style seemed to pay off for the judges againstMachida's passive ways. "I think that's theonly reason that earned the decision," Jackson said. "Machida whipped(me) in the third round. I didn't do what I wanted, and he blooded mynose." Machida shuffled and backpedaledmore than he punched or kicked, but took Rampage down in the thirdafter two rounds without much action. He didn't bristle at the decision that didn't go his way. "If the judges saw that Quinton won, then they saw Quinton win," the Brazilian said through a translator.Jackson was determined to show he can still be a force in the UFC afterplaying B.A. Baracus in "The A-Team" movie. He was unimpressive in aloss to Rashad Evans in May, one of just two setbacks in a 10-fightstretch. It looks as if Penn made the right decision to keep fighting.Penn (16-7-1) surrendered his UFC lightweight title earlier this year.The former two-division champion -- still known as "The Prodigy" at theage of 31 -- considered walking away from mixed martial arts after twostraight losses to Frankie Edgar. UFCPresident Dana White gave him a chance at redemption in a third matchwith Hughes, just the sixth trilogy in the rapidly growing sport. Penn took advantage at The Palace in suburban Detroit. Penn and Hughes exchanged a few blows in the opening seconds before it ended suddenly, leaving Hughes dazed and dumbfounded. Hughes (46-8) was the only one of the four headliners that was coming off a victory. "I don't know what the plan is now," he said. "This was a huge fight for me. I had a lot riding on this."Penn stunningly claimed the UFC welterweight title in his first matchupwith Hughes in 2004. He moved up in weight and submitted one of thesport's first stars with a choke late in the first round, adding a kisson the dazed Hughes' lips. Hughes beat Penn on punches in their second fight four years ago.Penn went on to claim the lightweight title, but moved back to thewelterweight division for the first time since his loss to championGeorges St. Pierre last year. Hughesplanned to take the rest of the year off after submitting RicardoAlmeida in August for his third straight victory in a career revival,but the 37-year-old from Hillsboro, Ill., jumped at the chance toresume his rivalry with Penn. He fought for the third time in sevenmonths after being on only one UFC card each of the previous two years.

90 Days to Kickoff: Warren

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NBC

90 Days to Kickoff: Warren

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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Warren Township

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Jim Voutiritsas, Brandon Schild, Justin Van Schaik, Tayler Erbach and Mark Mika

How they fared in 2017: 7-4 (5-2 North Suburban Conference). Warren Township made the IHSA 8A playoff field. The Blue Devils defeated Bolingbrook then lost to Maine South in second round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule

Aug. 24 vs Barrington

Aug. 31 @ Glenbard North

Sept. 7 vs Waukegan

Sept. 14 vs Libertyville

Sept. 21 @ Lake Forest

Sept. 28 @ Zion-Benton

Oct. 5 vs Lake Zurich

Oct. 12 vs Stevenson

Oct. 19 @ Mundelein

Biggest storyline: Can The Blue Devils make it back-to-back postseason appearances and challenge for the North Suburban Conference title?

Names to watch this season: DL Zack Pelland, DT Willis Singleton and RB Martin Walker

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils will need to find a new pass/catch tandem to replace graduated QB Ian Schilling and a strong group in the skills department, led by WR Micah Jones (Notre Dame).  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blue Devils had a nice 2017 season. After starting seven sophomores on the varsity level a year ago, head coach Bryan McNulty has the rare combination of youth and experience this fall. The defense will be a definite strength going into the season. The offense will rely on the running game, which features four starting offensive linemen back in the fold along with senior RB Martin Walker. If the passing game can come along, this team can once again challenge in the North Suburban Conference race and also in the overall 8A picture. 

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

As the Bears set their foundation for training camp during OTAs this month, one part of that is beginning to identify each player’s strengths and weaknesses on which to build in Bourbonnais. 

Designing an offense to Mitch Trubisky’s strengths was one of the reasons why Ryan Pace hired Matt Nagy, who then hired Mark Helfrich to be his offensive coordinator. Easy is the wrong word — but it wouldn’t have made sense for the Bears to not build an offense around their second-picked quarterback. 

But as Nagy and Helfrich are installing that offense during OTAs and, next month, veteran minicamp, they’re also learning what Trubisky’s weaknesses are. And the one Helfrich pointed to, in a way, is a positive. 

“Experience,” Helfrich said. “I think it’s 100 percent experience and just reps, and that’s kind of what I was talking about was knowing why something happened. As a quarterback, he might take the perfect drop and be looking at the right guy in your progression, and that guy runs the wrong route or the left guard busts or something. The defense does something different or wrong, even. And trusting that is just a matter of putting rep on top of rep on top of rep and being confident.”

It'd be a concern if the Bears thought Trubisky lacked the necessary talent to be great, or had a lacking work ethic or bad attitude. Experience isn't something he can control, in a way. 

This isn’t anything new for Trubisky. His lack of experience at North Carolina — he only started 13 games there — was the biggest ding to his draft stock a year ago; while he started a dozen games for the Bears in 2017, the offense was simple and conservative, designed to minimize risk for Trubisky (and, to be fair, a sub-optimal group of weapons around him). 

But even if Trubisky started all 16 games in an innovative, aggressive offense last year, he’d still be experiencing plenty of things for the first time. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made this point back in September that still resonates now with regard to Trubisky:

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks,” Roethlisberger said. “In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

So the challenge for Nagy and Helfrich is to build an offense that accentuates Trubisky’s strengths while managing his lack of experience. For what it’s worth, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles succeeded in those efforts last year with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, respectively. 

For Helfrich, though, one of Trubisky’s strengths — his leadership qualities — are already helping mitigate his need for more experience. 

“He’s still in the mode of learning and doing things out here,” Helfrich said. “We might have run one play 10 times against 10 different defenses, you know? And so his response to every one of those 10 things is brand new. And so, you see his reaction to some of those is good. Some of those things you want to improve upon and then keep your chest up and lead because we need that.”