Versatile Goodman ready for increased role as career winds down


Versatile Goodman ready for increased role as career winds down

SOUTH BEND, Ind. During his football career at Notre Dame, John Goodman has played various roles. Hes returned punts, caught passes and even thrown a touchdown pass as a quarterback.

With receiver DaVaris Daniels out with a broken clavicle, Goodman is stepping into a larger role for the third-ranked Irish. He could see more playing time in Notre Dames final two regular-season games, including Saturdays home finale against Wake Forest.

After battling his own injuries, including a sore groin hurt in camp and a stress fracture in his back that flared up six weeks ago, Goodman said hes feeling healthy. The timing is ideal for the fifth-year senior from Fort Wayne, Ind.

A guy got hurt, so I just look at it as stepping in, Goodman said. Its senior night and I expected to come in and play a few minutes on senior night, but regardless of the opportunities I get, Im going to take advantage of them. Thats been my mindset since Ive been here.

Goodman has had limited playing time in his career. He caught six passes in 2009, 15 in 2010 and seven last season, when he was also a punt returner. In 2010, he threw a 32-yard touchdown pass on a trinket play. As a fifth-year senior, he has caught four passes for 77 yards and scored a career-best two touchdowns one last week against Boston College and a one-handed grab against Michigan State.  

Injuries have limited Goodmans opportunities. His sore back flared up in the game against Miami.

My body hasnt held up too well, he said. Thats unfortunate, but its not the end of the world. I like to be able to back my guys up and not complain about it. If Im injured, Im injured, but whatever I can do to help the team.

Though Goodmans career lacks gaudy statistics, he has been involved in big plays, provided intangibles and been a good teammate, coach Brian Kelly said.

(The) guy is great in the locker room, an upbeat, positive guy, Kelly said. I know that sometimes people are measured, and I know Im measured by wins and losses, but the relationships that he has on this team strengthens that group. I think hell look back and say, Yeah, I would like to have caught more and made more touchdowns and done all those things, but hes going to look back on the relationships and the strength that hes provided as a senior in this football program.

Like any player, Goodman said he had high expectations during his college career. While his playing time could have been greater and his numbers bigger, he has enjoyed being a generous teammate.

When things dont work out you cant get down on yourself, he said. I didnt really get down on myself, just stuck with it, led the younger guys and helped out the team as much as I could. Thats what I care about, the team. When there are guys coming in who have great potential and can make our team better, to make them better and be able to say I played a role in helping them out, thats just as rewarding.

88 Days to Kickoff: Warren Township


88 Days to Kickoff: Warren Township 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 Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: Warren Township Blue Devils

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Brandon Schild, Josh Williams, K.C Lange, Jim Voutiritsas, Luke Mueller Jr., John Hergenreder, Mark Mika, Cameron Campbell

How they fared in 2015: 6-5 (4-2) North Suburban Lake. Warren Township made the Class 8A state playoff field. The Blue Devils defeated Chicago Curie then lost to Naperville Central in second round action. 

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Blue Devils win the North Suburban Lake conference crown this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR Micah Jones QB Luke Schmidt OL/DL Cameron Shaw

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils welcome back 14 starters (8 on defense) but who steps up to replace graduated RB Darrius Crump?

EDGY's Early Take: Warren Township will again have a ton of talent and if the underclassmen group can fill in at a few key spots beware of this team. 

Pau Gasol considering skipping Olympics amid Zika fears


Pau Gasol considering skipping Olympics amid Zika fears

The uncertainty in Brazil over the spread of the Zika virus has Pau Gasol considering not playing in the upcoming Olympics.

The Bulls center, who is set to become a free agent on July 1, spoke with the Associated Press about his reluctancy to travel to Brazil, a country that's been hit by the mosquito-borne virus the last year.

"It wouldn't surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk," Gasol told the AP.

"I'm thinking about (whether or not to go)," he said. "Just like every athlete, or any other person considering going to Rio, should be thinking about it."

Gasol's absence would be a considerable one for the Spain national team, which earned silver medals in 2008 and 2012.

The virus, which first appeared in Brazil in 2015 and has spread to anywhere between 500,000 and 1.5 million people, has been a large topic of conversation on the horizon of the Olympic Games, which begin Aug. 5.

The report said Gasol has contacted experts to learn more about the virus before making a final decision.

"We need to understand the seriousness of the situation," he said. "Even though there are some soothing words being said, we know that there are different opinions about the subject."

Stanley Cup Final preview: Commonalities between Penguins, Sharks


Stanley Cup Final preview: Commonalities between Penguins, Sharks

The San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins don’t see each other much during the regular season but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a common bond. For each, the chance to end years of frustration – certainly more for the Sharks than the Penguins – is here.

It’s the Stanley Cup Final, and for just the second time since 2010 the Western Conference is represented by someone other than the Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings. Instead, the Sharks are making their first Cup appearance in franchise history. They’re facing a Penguins team that’s back in the final for the first time since 2009, when they beat the Detroit Red Wings for the Cup.

A show of hands: Who had these two in the final when they did their preseason predictions? Not many, if any. Two years ago the Sharks had a 3-0 series lead against the Kings, who came back to beat San Jose in four straight. From the summer of 2014 to the spring of 2015, the Sharks took letters off sweaters, missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and dismissed coach Todd McLellan. From an outside perspective, it looked like things would get worse before they got better.

As for Pittsburgh, the Penguins have been in the postseason every year since 2009 but failed to return to this stage each time.

So what changed this year for each? Let’s start with the Sharks. As my Bay Area colleague Kevin Kurz pointed out, the Sharks are here for several reasons: A change in attitude and goaltending and finding the right pieces to complement a longstanding core are among them. Removing/renaming captains could have torn the Sharks apart. And while there was plenty of friction and a few verbal jabs at the time, the Sharks stuck together. General manager Doug Wilson made a few key moves, including acquiring Martin Jones from Boston on June 30, 2015 (the Bruins had traded for Jones just four days prior). The backup-turned-starter was excellent.

The Penguins are here due to a lot of the same reasons: They changed coaches and tweaked their lineup around their core. Acquiring defenseman Trevor Daley from the Blackhawks in December proved pivotal. Daley, who didn’t log many minutes with the Blackhawks, fit in immediately with the Penguins. Blackhawks fans who took to Twitter asking, “Why did they trade for Daley?” in July 2015, asked, “Why did they trade Daley away?” in April.

Pittsburgh went with a new goalie, too, albeit for different reasons. When Marc-Andre Fleury was sidelined with a concussion in March, Matt Murray got his chance. And outside of Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Murray is still in there. It’s one more feel-good story from a final that is teeming with them.

The path to the Stanley Cup Final is rarely an easy one. Some teams have had to go through massive changes to get there (please see the Blackhawks just prior to 2010). The Sharks and Penguins had to make their changes as well, from personality to personnel. Both have gone through their turmoil to get here. Now to see who ultimately triumphs.