Confidence not a problem for Lynch, Huskies

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Confidence not a problem for Lynch, Huskies

By Dieter Kurtenbach
CSNChicago.com contributor

The Northern Illinois Huskies' foray into the world of the BCS might be less than 48 hours old, but that time has been as eventful off the field as it has been beneficial on it.

The Huskies have practiced twice in preparation of the 2013 Orange Bowl, but they have also found time to unveil new uniforms, party, and generate a bit of legitimate, old-fashioned bulletin-board material for their opponent on New Year's Day.

The epicenter of the controversy is NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, who, before leaving DeKalb, told the Sporting News that FSU hasn't "seen anything like our offense."

Lynch continued: "They're just like us. They're human, too. If you cut them, they bleed... We plan on wearing them down. In the fourth quarter, we plan to have them on their knees, and then just keep pounding away.

The story published Thursday, and after the Huskies' afternoon practice, Lynch stood tall though he was still drowned in a sea of reporters refusing to back down from his comments.

"It's not cocky," Lynch said. "It's confidence."

Lynch's teammates and his new head coach had his back.

"What's he supposed to say?" NIU coach Rod Carey "'Hey, we're just hoping we get a first down, a yard or two?' I mean, come on. That's the confidence. These guys expect that. And we're doing everything we can to make that happen."

As for the practice itself, Carey said that it wasn't as sharp as the team's first in South Florida, which happened Wednesday afternoon. Perhaps the team played better after initially thawing out in the Miami sun. Perhaps that same sun drained the Huskies, leading to the second-day let-down.

"We did good, don't get me wrong," Carey said. "They know how to work, but focus was at times lacking today. I have high expectations for them."

Lynch's comments added some bile to the game, perhaps it was Wednesday night's unveiling of Adidas' specially-made uniforms for the Huskies that had the player's minds elsewhere.

The uniforms were a surprise and were introduced to the squad at its nightly meeting, eliciting cheers, hoots and hollers from the already-excited squad.

The Huskies will wear red pants for the first time, and the new white uniforms featured grey, beveled numbers and a red undershirt with the NIU logo and "Huskies" emblazoned on the sleeves.

That could have been in, or perhaps the Huskies had their minds on what was coming after practice Thursday.

Cheering erupted again at the team's beach party after practice Thursday afternoon. No doubt many of the players were comparing the weather in DeKalb to the bright, sunny, 76 degree day on South Beach.

The new jerseys, the beach parties, the ten-fold media attention it's all part of the BCS lifestyle, one the Huskies are hoping to savor, even if it is ultimately fleeting.

"We worked for this," Carey said. "We wanted this and we earned this."

For Lynch, who is being revered as the Mid American Conference's version of Johnny Football, the downsides of playing in a BCS bowl aren't outweighing the positives.

"Ever since getting off the plane, I felt it starting to kick in more and more," Lynch said. "It's pretty big time. It feels pretty special. It was surreal at first, but it's starting to kick in now and it feels pretty good."

While Carey is no doubt enjoying the "business trip" as well, it is his job to impart perspective, and while he might not be able to speak from much experience Carey was named the NIU head coach a few hours before the Orange Bowl announcement he did his best to reduce the hoopla to a base.

"It's a football game," Carey said. "We're here to win the football game? Otherwise, what would you be playing the game for?"

CSN named the new official home of the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN)

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CSN named the new official home of the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN)

IHSSN to Produce and Provide Live coverage for three of the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s (IHSSA) State Championship Tournaments: Football, Wrestling, Basketball

CSN Chicago to Televise & Live Stream (via CSNChicago.com & IHSSN.com) 33 Iowa High School State Championship Events, which totals over 85 hours of exciting LIVE tournament action featuring -- LIVE COVERAGE of 12 semi-final games and 6 final games of IHSAA Championship Football -- LIVE COVERAGE of the Class 1A, 2A and 3A semi-finals and finals of IHSAA Individual Championship Wrestling -- and LIVE COVERAGE for 8 semi-final games and 4 final games of IHSAA Championship Basketball!

CSN’s 2016-2017 IHSSN season begins with “bonus coverage” of the “4th Annual Channel Seed Ag Bowl,” which features the

Northeast Rebels squaring off with the Central DeWitt Sabers at Birney Field in DeWitt, Iowa. Game time is 7:00pm, Thursday, August 25th on CSN+

Chicago, IL (July 25, 2016) -- Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the television and digital home for the most in-depth coverage of the local and regional preps sports scene, along with the  Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN), have announced a long-term partnership agreement making the regional sports network the official home for 33 Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Championship events.  This equates to over 85 LIVE hours of dedicated Iowa preps sports championship coverage per scholastic year.  All events will also be presented in a high definition format.

The announcement was made by Phil Bedella, VP/GM of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Ken Krogman, Owner/President of the IHSSN and Brett Nanninga, Associate Executive Director of the IHSAA.

Beginning this scholastic year (2016-17), Comcast SportsNet will be the exclusive television home for the following IHSAA Championship events (all events to also be live streamed via CSNChicago.com to authenticated Comcast SportsNet Chicago subscribers; IHSSN.com will provide direct links to live streamed events on CSN Chicago digital platforms):

IHSAA Football Championships (18 games)

  • LIVE - Twelve playoff semifinal match-ups leading up to the state championships (November 10-12)
  • LIVE - Six (8-Player & Class A through 4A) state championship games (November 17-18)
  • BONUS GAME NOTE: “4th Annual Channel Seed Ag Bowl” featuring Northeast Rebels at Central Dewitt Sabers (Thu, August 25 at 7pm on CSN+)

IHSAA Individual Wrestling Championships (3 events)

  • LIVE - Class 1A/2A & 3A semifinals (February 17, 2017)
  • LIVE - Class 1A-3A championships (February 18, 2017)

IHSAA Basketball Championships (12 games)

  • LIVE - Eight playoff semifinal match-ups leading up to the state championships (March 9-10, 2017)
  • LIVE - Four (Class 1A-4A) state championship games (March 10-11, 2017)

NOTES:

  • Exact air dates/times/channel locations for all upcoming IHSSA Championship events appear at the end of this release. Schedule subject to change.
  • Viewers are also urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s “Channel Finder” page where they can plug in their zip code and find their local provider: http://www.csnchicago.com/channel-finder

“This is a significant moment not only for our network, but also for our viewers in Iowa,” said Bedella.  “With over 85 live hours of football, basketball, and wrestling championship coverage per scholastic year, fans will be able to watch these gifted student-athletes in HD from both a TV and live streaming standpoint.  CSN is proud to deliver these live IHSAA championship events to all of our cable and telco partners in the state of Iowa and, for the first time, these events will now be fully distributed through DIRECTV and DISH Network.  On behalf of Comcast SportsNet I would like to thank Ken Krogman from the Iowa High School Sports Network, along with the IHSAA’s Brett Nanninga and his team, for their tremendous assistance in solidifying this new partnership.”

“The IHSSN has worked with Comcast SportsNet in the past and have been impressed with all facets of their organization,” added Krogman.  “We are excited to now have a more permanent partnership not only because of the expanded coverage we will enjoy through their satellite distribution, but also their commitment to bring all of our events to our viewers in high definition.  We look forward to working with them and using their expertise to assist us to continue bringing the Iowa High School State Championships to all of Iowa and beyond”.

“On behalf of the IHSAA and our customer base throughout the state of Iowa and across the nation, I’d like to thank Comcast SportsNet for their on-air and digital distribution of the IHSAA High School State Championship Events,” said Nanninga.  “The comprehensive (digital HD) coverage that Comcast SportsNet offers to its affiliates is second to none in the high school market.  The IHSAA is extremely proud of the service/coverage that Comcast SportsNet offers the families and friends of Iowa high school student/athletes.  Together - Comcast SportsNet, the IHSSN, and the IHSAA - we have made it happen.”

2016-17 IHSAA EVENTS ON COMCAST SPORTSNET

(CSN & CSN+ DESIGNATIONS TO BE DETERMINED AT A LATER DATE; SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

       DATE                TIME             GAME                                                    CSN   

  1. Thu, Aug 25    7:00 pm       AG Bowl:  Northeast  vs Central Dewitt LIVE   CSN+
  2. Thu, Nov 10    9:00 am       Football:  8 Player Semifinal #1        LIVE
  3. Thu, Nov 10    12:00 pm     Football:  8 Player Semifinal #2        LIVE
  4. Thu, Nov 10    5:30 pm       Football:  Class 3A Semifinal #1       LIVE 
  5. Thu, Nov 10    8:00 pm       Football:  Class 3A Semifinal #2       LIVE 
  6. Fri, Nov 11      10:00 am     Football:  Class A Semifinal #1         LIVE
  7. Fri, Nov 11      1:00 pm       Football:  Class A Semifinal #2         LIVE
  8. Fri, Nov 11      4:00 pm       Football:  Class 4A Semifinal #1       LIVE 
  9. Fri, Nov 11      7:00 pm       Football:  Class 4A Semifinal #2       LIVE 
  10. Sat, Nov 12     10:00 am     Football:  Class 1A Semifinal #1       LIVE 
  11. Sat, Nov 12     1:00 pm       Football:  Class 1A Semifinal #2       LIVE 
  12. Sat, Nov 12     4:00 pm       Football:  Class 2A Semifinal #1       LIVE
  13. Sat, Nov 12     7:00 pm       Football:  Class 2A Semifinal #2       LIVE
  14. Thu, Nov 17    10:00 am     Football:  8 Player Championship     LIVE
  15. Thu, Nov 17    1:30 pm       Football:  Class A Championship      LIVE
  16. Thu, Nov 17    7:00 pm       Football:  Class 3A Championship    LIVE 
  17. Fri, Nov 18      11:00 am     Football:  Class 1A Championship    LIVE
  18. Fri, Nov 18      2:00 pm       Football:  Class 2A Championship    LIVE
  19. Fri, Nov 18      7:00 pm       Football:  Class 4A Championship    LIVE 
  20. Fri, Feb 17      3:30 pm       Wrestling:  Class 3A Semifinals        LIVE
  21. Fri, Feb 17      7:30 pm       Wrestling:  Class 1A & 2A Semifinals              LIVE 
  22. Sat, Feb 18     6:00 pm       Wrestling:  Class 1A/2A/3A Finals    LIVE
  23. Thu, Mar 9      10:30 am     Basketball:  Class 1A Semifinal #1   LIVE
  24. Thu, Mar 9      12:15 pm     Basketball:  Class 1A Semifinal #2   LIVE
  25. Thu, Mar 9      2:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 2A Semifinal #1   LIVE
  26. Thu, Mar 9      3:45 pm       Basketball:  Class 2A Semifinal #2   LIVE
  27. Thu, Mar 9      6:30 pm       Basketball:  Class 3A Semifinal #1   LIVE
  28. Thu, Mar 9      8:15 pm       Basketball:  Class 3A Semifinal #2   LIVE
  29. Fri, Mar 10      1:30 pm       Basketball:  Class 4A Semifinal #1   LIVE  CSN+
  30. Fri, Mar 10      3:15 pm       Basketball:  Class 4A Semifinal #2   LIVE  CSN+
  31. Fri, Mar 10      6:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 1A Championship LIVE  CSN+
  32. Fri, Mar 10      8:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 2A Championship LIVE  CSN+
  33. Sat, Mar 11     6:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 3A Championship LIVE  CSN+
  34. Sat, Mar 11     8:00 pm       Basketball:  Class 4A Championship LIVE  CSN+

All Times Central Time

Retirement suiting former White Sox star Paul Konerko well

Retirement suiting former White Sox star Paul Konerko well

Paul Konerko isn’t returning to manage the White Sox anytime soon, despite the team’s former All-Star first baseman fielding plenty of questions about the possibility. 

For now, the 40-year-old Konerko, who’s in Year 2 of retirement and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday's Crosstown opener at U.S. Cellular Field, is more concerned with fielding the balls hit or thrown by his seven-year-old son while they’re playing baseball in the park. 

“I was in the park, my kid threw me a ball, a ground ball and I booted it,” Konerko said. “And some guy’s walking by the park and said, ‘you used to get that one, Paulie!’”

Konerko is spending plenty of time with his kids — Nicholas, Owen and Amelia — and is also keeping busy by playing a bit of hockey and working on a few business interests. One of those ventures is a T-shirt Konerko helped design, the proceeds of which go toward raising awareness for Sensory Processing Disorder, which Konerko’s oldest son, Nicholas, was born with. 

Nicholas was born during the White Sox 2005 run to the franchise’s first World Series title in 88 years, and Konerko’s other two children were born while he was still playing in the majors. Because he missed a good chunk of his kids’ childhoods during baseball’s marathon regular season, Konerko doesn’t have a desire to get back into the game until he accomplishes what he wants as a father. 

“I was gone for so long,” Konerko said. “I played for 20 years, and 10 years of that I had kids.” 

So a return to baseball won’t happen for Konerko “Until I feel like I’m satisfied with where they’re in a position where I’ve done everything they want to do and they’re older,” he said. 

Konerko doesn’t have an itch to coach or manage in the majors, too, thanks to his final season with the White Sox.

[SHOP: Buy a Paul Konerko jersey]

During that 2014 campaign, Konerko appeared in 81 games but also got a taste of what it’s like to be a major league coach. That glimpse into the life of a major league manager or assistant coach, and all the commitments, obligations and criticisms that come with it, led Konerko to walk away from the game “scared straight.”

“If I had not come back my last year, there’s a good chance I would’ve played out 2013 and probably got an itch to come back sooner,” Konerko said. “But my last year, I got a really good feeling of what it’s like to be a coach, because I was on the bench a lot, they kind of let me in on some things more, almost like a player-coach situation. And I think it scared me, because it’s not easy.” 

So while some sections of the White Sox fanbase may want Konerko to come back and manage a team that’s “mired in mediocrity,” as general manager Rick Hahn said last week, that’s not something the guy with 439 career home runs is going to consider. 

Plus, he actually does already have coaching duties right now. 

“I’m the assistant coach on my kid’s seven-year-old team,” Konerko said. “Trying to work toward the head coaching job.”

Cubs finalizing blockbuster deal for Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman

Cubs finalizing blockbuster deal for Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman

The Cubs are putting the finishing touches on a blockbuster deal to acquire superstar closer Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees, sources said Monday, in a win-now move that would cement their status as World Series favorites.

The headliner for the Yankees will be Gleyber Torres, a consensus top prospect and a defensively gifted shortstop who's only 19 years old and didn't have a clear path to Chicago with Addison Russell and Javier Baez already in place.

The Yankees are also planning to bring back Adam Warren, the swingman who didn't quite fit on this pitching staff this year after coming to Chicago in the Starlin Castro trade.

The Cubs would also give up two minor-league outfielders for essentially two-plus months of Chapman throwing 100 mph out of their bullpen: Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.

Stay with CSNChicago.com for more as this story develops.