By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor
November 4, 2009
Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with a new weekly feature entitled 5 Questions with...
Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.
This weekhighly-regarding as one of the top young personalities on Chicago sports radiohis local sports insight can be heard Monday-Friday from 6:00-10:00 PM on WSCR AM 670 The Score as host of the Me Showhere are 5 Questions withLAURENCE HOLMES!
BIO: Laurence Holmes has been a fixture at The Score since 1998. He was just 22 years old when he started producing Les Grobsteins overnight show. Hes done just about every job at the Score: Board Op, Executive Producer and now Host and Reporter. He started covering the Bears in 2003 and has made it his passion. He says hes obsessed with whats going on with the team and makes it his goal to find the truth and bring it to his listeners.
From a personal side...Holmes was born and raised on the Southside. RoselandMorgan Park to be specific. He fell in love with radio listening to Steve Dahl & Garry Meier on his parents kitchen floor. His family moved to Glenwood, so he could attend Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He had his own talk show at H-F when he was 16 and says the facilities at H-F were better than the old Score bunker on Belmont.
From there, Holmes went to DePaul and, while a student, he interned for Lou Canellis and Jeff Joniak at WMAQ radio. He got his first taste of TV working on the weekends at Channel 9 for Dan Roan and Rich King. A solid athlete as well, Holmes played baseball for the DePaul Club team and even had minor-league tryouts with the Marlins, Braves and Exposhes now the starting third baseman for the Score softball team. Such is life.
1) CSNChicago.com: Laurence, this Bears season has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride and thats probably going to continue for the rest of the season. As someone who covers the Bears so closely, right now, what are three things that are working for this team and three things that Lovie Smith and his staff should change immediately?
Holmes: Heres what's working:
1) Special Teams: Dave Toub is one of the best in the business. People used to think it was just Devin Hester, but he keeps finding returners, whether it's Danieal Manning, Johnny Knox or Earl Bennett. Robbie Gould is as quality a kicker that there is in the league (under 48 yards) and Brad Maynard has been awesome punting the ball inside the 20. The coverage teams are really solid as well.
2) Lance Briggs: What I love about Lance is that he's living up to his big-money contract. A lot of players cry about money and then when they get it, they don't produce. When you watch games, Lance is everywhere. I think people are learning that his game is just not a product of playing alongside of Brian Urlacher. Lance has elevated his game. For everyone who pines for Bernard Berrian, realize that had Berrian re-signed with the Bears, Lance would most likely be somewhere else.
3) Jay Cutler: Yes, he's struggled, but the quarterback position for the Bears has never been so solid. The best is yet to come for him and the Bears offense, but it's nice to see a QB who doesn't have limitations.
Now, what's going wrong...
1) The Offensive Line: They've really struggled. I've heard that they're still getting to know each other, but we're now seven games in and they still play like strangers. It makes me sad because you're seeing the end of two great careers (Olin Kreutz and Orlando Pace). Run-game and pass protection have been the problem. You've seen Cutler take to 7-step drops to try and get time. If they ran better, it might lead to a better pass-game.
2) Pass Rush: Things looked really promising at the beginning of the season. Wale and Alex were getting to the QB and then it just stopped. They would be helped by sustained pressure up the middle, but Tommie Harris (who unlike Lance), got the money and hasn't lived up to it.
3) The Head Coach's Attitude: I have to admit that this is MY issue. Its effect on the team is minimal. I don't mean "fire & passion. I wish that Lovie would give more freely of himself. He asked Bears fans to trust him after the Super Bowl season. As it stands, he's a .500 coach since then and he isn't going to be given the benefit of the doubt because you don't feel like you know him. And even if that's an illusion, it breeds trust. For the record, I think Lovie is a good coach and, a lot of times, he gets a rough ride, but if his team doesn't make the playoffs for a third consecutive year, people will begin to wonder if he is leading the Bears in the right direction.
2) CSNChicago.com: Speaking of Lovie Smith, the national media is now covering what has been written locally about fans becoming impatient after the teams mediocre start, especially with all the enormous pre-season hype and big expectations with the acquisition of Jay Cutler. If the Bears fail to make the playoffs this year, do you really think Lovie may be out of a job come January?
Holmes: I think, because of the money he's owed, the Bears will be hesitant to make a move, but when you consider that there are coaches out there who have won Super Bowls (Mike Holmgren, Mike Shannahan, Jon Gruden and Bill Cower), they'd be silly to not explore making a move. Especially, when you consider Shannahan's relationship with Cutler.
3) CSNChicago.com: Your success at The Score has been nothing but impressive over all these years. Youre still a young guy, but a veteran so to speak at the station. What advice do you have for aspiring broadcast journalists out there that want to break into the sports radio biz?
Holmes: Well, thank you. I would tell them to study what they're interested in if they're in college. I was Pre-Law at DePaul and finished with a History Degree. You don't have to go to school to do this. I would also advise that if you're looking to do this for a living, internships are crucial. I worked the desk at the Daily Southtown, to see what print was like. While I was producing Les Grobsteins show, I was working as an intern at Channel 9 to see what TV was like. Be varied. Realize that you're doing this job because you love it...if there is "big money" to be made, it's WAAAAAAYYY down the road. When you start out, you're gonna be poor, (I lived off of less than 25,000 for a long time), but the experiences you'll have will be worth it.
4) CSNChicago.com: Your high school alma mater, Homewood-Flossmoor, has cranked out some pretty impressive local sports talents over the years such as yourself, MLB.coms Scott Merkin and Comcast SportsNets very own Chuck Garfien to name a few. Its unfortunate that many young and talented aspiring broadcast journalists in Chicagos inner city do not have the same hands-on access and available facilities that benefited you, Scott, Chuck and so many others who attended suburban high schools. In your opinion, what can we do to change this?
Holmes: That's a great question. At H-F, you can basically "major" in broadcast journalism. I spent most of my junior and senior years working on what would later be my career. My broadcasting teachers, Mr. Comstock and Ms. Tipton, treated WHFH like a professional radio station. That's why you see me, Chuck and the Merkin brothers working in this market. And it's not just sports. Ben Bradley (Channel 7) and Jen Jameson (Q101) came out of there too.
Regarding potential future broadcasters living in the inner city, it deserves more thought than I can type. My parents have a combined 75 years in the CPS and, when I would visit them, you'd see the difference in materials, money and equipment. Kids need to know it's an option. They need to know it's something that is within they're grasp. And perhaps that means I should get off my butt and start working with all the connections I've made for equipment donations and training seminars.
5) CSNChicago.com: Name the most overrated and underrated athletes in Chicago pro sports today?
Holmes: If there's one thing that I've learned from Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers, it's that I don't know what "overrated and underrated" mean. Mainly because there's no consensus on who's doing the rating...so I'll give you someone from each team that I love watching play.
Bears: Alex Brown. His motor never stops. He is equal parts little kid and total professional when he plays. He emotes like a fan, win or lose.
Sox: John Danks. Lots of talent, even more guts. His performance in the "Blackout" game vs. Minnesota is one of my favorite personal sports memories.
Cubs: Carlos Marmol. I know he's a roller coaster ride, but when he's on, his slider is unhittable.
Bulls: Joakim Noah. I think he gets it. Everyone will remember the bow-tie and the weird hair on draft day, but last year, he grew as a player. He busts his hump every night.
Hawks: Duncan Keith. It's real easy to be enthralled with the scoring ability of Patrick Kane or the leadership of Jonathan Toews, but Duncan Keith is just a solid player. He works hard and the Hawks defensemen are pretty skilled.
Fire: Marco Pappa. It's so much fun to watch him run.
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