Random News: Who needs '85 Bears?; Goldy Gopher

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Random News: Who needs '85 Bears?; Goldy Gopher

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010
10:27 AM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

From The 'Who Needs The '85 Bears' Department: If you want to see a good defense, head to Vernon Hills High School. Their football team has not given up a single point this season, outscoring their opponents 290-0. Every other team in Illinois has given up at least 22 points. That's nothing short of astounding. Oh by the way, their offense is paced by wide receivers DaVaris Daniels (son of former Bear Phillip) and Evan Spencer (son of Bears running backs coach Tim).

From The 'I'm Also Afraid Of Mr. Food & That Six Flags Old Guy Mascot' Department: I had the chance to witness Northwestern's 29-28 win in Minnesota in person on Saturday. I realized a few things: (1) TCF Bank Stadium is a great place to watch a game. And it's within footsteps of fraternitysorority row...if you're into that sort of thing, (2) Golden Gophers fans wouldn't let head football coach Tim Brewster sit at the kiddie table if he crashed their Thanksgiving party, (3) I'm scared to death of mascots. Is there anything more annoying and awkward than when a mascot comes up to you at a game? It's tantamount to when actors at an improv show start coming into the audience looking for volunteers. (Cue "Airplane" movie soundbite: "It's coming right at us!"). Goldy Gopher came over to where our group was sitting and started doing his shtick. I'm sure my response was similar to what you might have gone through during similar situations: pretend you don't see the mascot, act all startled when he's in your face, faux-laugh at him for two seconds, say something to him before you realize he can't say anything back to you, go back to focusing on the game, realize he's not going away, start texting some random person for the heck of it, notice that he's still making fun of you, get upsprint to concession stand to get a 4 hot dog.

From The 'Wait...It Gets Better!' Department: On Sunday, Brewster said the following: "We could be sitting here 5-0 right now." Minnesota is 1-4. All four losses have come at home, including a pillow fight bruising by South Dakota. Their one win was over 2-2 juggernaut Middle Tennessee.

From The 'Talk About Random' Department: Juan Pierre finished the 2010 season with three triples for the White Sox, only two more than the equally swift Paul Konerko.

From The 'Your So Crazy And I Am To' Department: Look, I'm not saying that I'm Johnny Grammar or anything (this column alone is at the seventh grade level), but I have noticed the breakdown of our society in how certain people have completely scrapped "you're" for "your" in conversations that call for "you are" or the suitable equivalent. You see it a lot in Tweets and Facebook status updates: "Your so right!" I see it a lot on the pages of athletes I follow on those sites. The difference between "you're" and "your" is taught in elementary school. Are we really getting that stupid? It's the same with "to" and "too"-- "I ordered that same pizza to!" Makes me want to ROFL. And I don't mean that as the acronym for rolling on the floor laughing-- I mean that because "ROFL" looks like a sound that a person would make while dry heaving.

And Finally, From The Prediction Department: Bears 19, Panthers 17.

Or Something Like That.

Kyle Baun healthy, ready for another chance with Blackhawks

Kyle Baun healthy, ready for another chance with Blackhawks

Kyle Baun couldn’t have asked for a better start to his second NHL season as he made the Blackhawks roster out of training camp.

It didn’t last long, however, as Baun was back with the Rockford IceHogs after two games with Chicago. As for that season in Rockford?

“That was a whole other story,” said Baun.

Indeed, Baun lost a good portion of his Rockford season when his right wrist was sliced twice by another player’s skate in mid-November. That, however, is all behind him. Now Baun hopes to replicate his 2015 camp performances and latch on with the big club longer.

Baun will play in his first preseason game this fall when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night. The 24-year-old skated is expected to start on a line with Tyler Motte and Tanner Kero, with whom he skated on Friday morning.

“I just want to simulate what I did last year, and it went well at the beginning,” Baun said. “I want to keep working hard, do what I did last year in the exhibition season and hopefully I can stick again.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Baun’s stint was short lived last fall; he was reassigned to Rockford on Oct. 16, and was looking to have a strong season there. Less than a month later, however, he suffered his right wrist injury that sidelined him for more than three months. Baun said he still wasn’t quite right even when he returned.

“I was trying to get back with the wrist and stuff, and I’m not sure it was 100 percent by the time I came back,” said Baun, who now wears Kevlar guards on his wrists. “So it was good to get a summer of training back in and get my legs under me.”

As for that wrist, Baun said it’s definitely “much better now.”

“The strength and dexterity is back,” he said. “It’s a small muscle, so to get the dexterity back was kind of tough.”

Baun is looking for another opportunity. Considering the opportunities for forwards this season, a good showing could lead to some more time in Chicago.

“I’m just trying to focus on my own game like last year. I think that worked for me, trying not to look too, too much into what everyone else is doing,” he said. “Consistency is the biggest thing here. They’re just looking for a guy who can come in, game in and game out, and improve.”

BRIEFLY

- Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford, who just wrapped up their World Cup of Hockey play on Thursday night, will probably get “three or four days off” before joining camp, assistant coach Mike Kitchen said. “They’ve been going for a long time,” Kitchen said. “We’ll give them some time off.”

- Coach Joel Quenneville flew to Pittsburgh with the team.

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Syracuse

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Syracuse

Here are three keys and a prediction for Saturday's Notre Dame-Syracuse game in New Jersey.

1. Make a play on Amba Etta-Tawo: Orange quarterback Eric Dungey targets Etta-Tawo, college football’s leading receiver through four weeks, an average of 13 times a game. Covering Etta-Tawo well is one thing, but that won’t necessarily mean Dungey will look elsewhere to throw the ball. Senior Cole Luke will probably get the first crack at guarding Etta-Tawo, and he’ll have to make a few plays on the ball (a tipped pass, an interception, etc.) to force Dungey out of his comfort zone. If Luke can’t do it, look for an underclassmen — Donte Vaughn, who picked off a pass against Duke, would have to lead that next group — to step in. Stopping Etta-Tawo would go a long way toward keeping the points down against Syracuse’s going-to-plaid offense. 

2. Meet “the standard” on offense. DeShone Kizer has been somewhere between very good and great this season, but it hasn’t been enough for Notre Dame to avoid any of their three losses. Syracuse’s defense is prone to allowing explosive plays and has struggled against the run, so triggering Josh Adams, Dexter Williams and/or Tarean Folston on the ground could allow Kizer to pick apart the Orange secondary as the game goes on. Most importantly, Kizer and his teammates need to avoid carelessly turning the ball over, as they did a few times against Michigan State and Syracuse. 

3. Effective play from the young guys. Kelly said one of the defensive changes we’ll see going forward is a lot more younger, talented players getting on the field in situations in which they weren’t equipped to in Brian VanGorder’s complex defense. Maybe that means defensive end Daelin Hayes using his elite pass rushing trait to pressure Dungey, or linebacker Asmar Bilal using his excellent speed trait to run with a crossing route and break up a pass. No matter how it happens, it has to happen — with that “it” being making defensive plays. Without sacks, TFLs, fumbles and/or interceptions, all that talk of Notre Dame having more “fun” this week will ring hollow on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Syracuse 42. Adams and Williams both have big games on the ground and Kizer leads an offensive oscillating between explosive and efficient to, for the first time this year, enough points to overcome a shaky defensive performance.