Audibles working even with 'strangers' up front

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Audibles working even with 'strangers' up front

One of the changes brought to the offense with the installation of Mike Tice as coordinator was the license for quarterback Jay Cutler to audible. One of the most impressive elements in last Sundays win over the Minnesota Vikings was Cutler being able to use audibles despite a makeshift offensive line that had three new players by the fourth quarter.

Coach Tice came in with a good game plan and we had some good audibles if we got an unfamiliar defensive package, said Jonathan Scott, starting his first game as a Bear at right tackle. Jay did a great job controlling that environment. We had some second- and third-down conversions that really changed the game.

For his part, Cutler was not going to audible to a play with complexities beyond the capabilities of a group still getting to know each other. And against Seattle, ranked No. 7 in sacks per pass attempt, that will remain the order.

We just have to be careful what we ask those guys to do, make sure theyre on the same page and protect them, Cutler said. You dont want to do a lot of sevens step drops and chuck the ball 40, 50 times. Theyre not programmed for that. Theyre in new positions. Some guys havent even played guard. We just have to be smart with it.

Not lost in translation

A second novelty was the thought process that both Gabe Carimi and Edwin Williams went through translating plays from their usual positions to the assignments with the new ones.

Carimi, a tackle was playing his first game at guard. After the call in the huddle, Carimi made a quick mental adjustment from the tackle assignment that was second-nature to the one for a guard.

The plays are different so you have to know what the play calls are because youre doing different blocking, Carimi said. There were a couple things where I was a little off about but it went pretty well.

Of course, Carimi had a translator immediately to his left: center Roberto Garza, whose responsibilities include knowing every assignment on the line.

He was telling me what to do, Garza said, with a wink. No, Gabes a professional, he knows what hes doing, has played offensive line a long time, and he did a helluva job stepping in.

Williams practice position has been primarily center this season, with Lance Louis, Chris Spencer and Chilo Rachal comprising the depth chart at guard. With them out, Williams had to do some translating of his own, although he has played guard in each of the past two seasons although with Tice as his position coach and Mike Martz as coordinator.

You make the changes but once you get into the rhythm you dont have to think about it too much, Williams said.

Bears Pulse

In case I forget to mention it (again), check out Bears Pulse on game days at CSNChicago.com. Its bringing together a lot of Bears coverage from everywhere and its where Ill be covering the Bears-Seattle Seahawks in-game via Twitter (@CSNMoonMullin). Lots of fun and lots of action.

Whats particularly fun about it is that I can pass along side info about game happenings as we learn about them in the press box and from material you cant find in just any book.

Unable to capitalize on Huskers' goal-line fumbles, Northwestern falls

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Unable to capitalize on Huskers' goal-line fumbles, Northwestern falls

EVANSTON — Given two huge breaks, Northwestern couldn't do anything with them.

Nebraska fumbled not once but twice on the goal line in the first half Saturday, taking 14 points off the board and giving the ball to Northwestern. But the Wildcats punted away on both drives as an again ineffective offense couldn't muster enough to keep up with the Huskers for four quarters in a 24-13 loss.

Northwestern's defense did a decent job early on Nebraska's potent offense — one that was averaging more than 43 points a game coming in — but when Tommy Armstrong & Co. stopped fumbling on the goal line, they struck with expected potency. The Cats' offense did not.

The game started in wacky fashion, typical whenever these two teams get together. Nebraska running back Terrell Newby broke away with a 49-yard run on the game-opening drive, but diving for the end zone he dropped the ball, fumbling out of the back of the end zone for a touchback that gave the ball to Northwestern. The Cats couldn't do anything with it, though, and kicker Jack Mitchell missed a short field goal on the offense's second drive.

The Huskers broke the seal on the scoring with a second-quarter field goal, a win for the Cats' defense considering it came with goal to go. Later in the quarter, Northwestern took a 7-3 lead thanks to a short field when Clayton Thorson went 42 yards untouched to score his first rushing touchdown of the season.

A 37-yard run by Armstrong set the Huskers up at the Northwestern two-yard line, but Devine Ozigbo fumbled at the goal line, again into the end zone where the Cats recovered for another touchback, a stunning second time that happened on the night. But once more, the Northwestern offense couldn't do anything with the gift, and after a punt a 59-yard pass from Armstrong to Alonzo Moore put the Huskers at the Cats' four-yard line, Newby rushing in for the go-ahead touchdown to give Nebraska a 10-7 lead. With Mitchell struggling, Northwestern tried a wacky fake field goal in the second quarter's final minute, but it went nowhere, ending another promising drive.

Thorson had the Cats marching to open the second half, but he fired an interception into the end zone to halt a promising drive. Armstrong then led the Huskers downfield, completing a 35-yard pass to Brandon Reilly (a play that also featured a 15-yard penalty on Northwestern) and capping an 80-yard drive with a short touchdown pass to Cethan Carter. Thorson and Northwestern answered quickly, though. A Nebraska penalty on the kickoff put the Cats near midfield, and Thorson fired back to the end zone, this time hitting Austin Carr for a touchdown to make it a 17-13 game (Mitchell clanked the extra-point attempt off the upright).

But the Nebraska offense raced right back down the field, putting the Northwestern defense on skates with a 79-yard touchdown drive that ended in a Jordan Westerkamp scoring rush to make it 24-13.

The Huskers held a big edge in offensive numbers, racking up 556 yards, a balanced attack that featured 310 on the ground and 246 through the air. The Cats accumulated 388 total yards, 137 rushing and 251 passing.

Thorson finished 24-for-37 for 249 yards and a touchdown plus a pair of interceptions. Armstrong was 18-for-29 for 246 yards and a touchdown.

The loss dropped Northwestern to 1-3, and the Cats take on Iowa next weekend.

Nebraska improved to 4-0 with the win and plays Illinois next weekend.

White Sox snap six-game losing streak behind Jose Quintana

White Sox snap six-game losing streak behind Jose Quintana

CLEVELAND — The White Sox are doing their part to make sure they don’t see a celebration this weekend.

Jose Quintana rebounded from a rough start and six players drove in runs as the White Sox snapped a six-game losing streak with a 8-1 victory over the first-place Cleveland Indians in front of 32,088 at Progressive Field. With their magic number at two, the Indians can now only clinch the American League Central with a win on Sunday and a loss by the Detroit Tigers.

Quintana (13-11) allowed a run over six innings to sew up only his second winning record in five seasons as a starter.

The White Sox offense got going early in support of Quintana, who improved his career mark to 46-45.

Melky Cabrera doubled in Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu singled Cabrera in as the White Sox took a 2-0 lead on Cody Anderson, one of eight Indians pitchers. Cabrera’s two-out RBI single in the fifth inning extended the White Sox lead to 3-1 and Todd Frazier belted a solo homer in the sixth to make it a three-run lead.

Avisail Garcia, Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia all had RBI singles during a four-run eighth inning.

Quintana didn’t look like he could buy an out in the early going as he struggled with command. He walked two batters in the first inning to load the bases and needed a hard-hit double play ball off Carlos Santana’s bat to escape unscathed.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

An inning later, Quintana gave up a pair of singles and walked Coco Crisp to load the bases again, this time with no outs. After a strike out of Roberto Perez, Quintana was aided when Crisp overran second base on an RBI single by Rajai Davis that got Cleveland within 2-1. But Quintana retired Jason Kipnis to avoid further damage and found a rhythm.

Whereas Quintana looked vulnerable in the first two innings, he looked infallible over his final four.

Facing the heart of Cleveland’s order in the third, Quintana induced three straight pop outs, which became a theme the rest of the way. Quintana pitched around a one-out double in the fourth inning and retired the side in order in the fifth, including two pop outs. He also got three more weakly hit pop outs in the sixth inning and retired 12 of the last 14 he he faced.

Quintana allowed a run and six hits with three walks in six innings.