Bears 'chaos management' key on OL

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Bears 'chaos management' key on OL

Exactly which of the injured Bears Spencer, cornerback Charles Tillman, linebacker Lance Briggs, running back Matt Forte, returner Devin Hester will play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks really wont be known until that morning, maybe on Friday if coach Lovie Smith announces an early out.

And exactly what any of the personnel situation mean wont really be clear until mid-afternoon that day.

But chaos is often the friend of the prepared and the Bears have managed chaos extremely well recently, particularly on the offensive line, when forced on them by injury or incompetence.

Holding Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Minnesota Vikings at bay after demotions and injuries was not the first time for successful chaos management.

The Bears reached the 2010 NFC Championship game with Frank Omiyale starting the last 14 games of the season at left tackle. So if there are any misgivings remaining with either JMarcus Webb (a rookie emergency right tackle for the last 12 games) or Jonathan Scott. Omiyale is now the backup left tackle for the Seahawks.

And the starting left guard beginning with the Seattle game and the subsequent 10 after than was Chris Williams, a former No. 1 pick as a tackle and whod never played guard before. Sound familiar?

Last years team went to 7-3, ranked sixth in scoring and as high as No. 9 rushing with an offensive line that went through Gabe Carimi, Omiyale and finally Lance Louis in just the first six games.

Fill-ins set a standard

The real point is how Carimi and Edwin Williams played on short notice against Minnesota. For perspective, Carimi not only had never played guard, but spent the week working entirely at tackle, albeit as the swing tackle.

Williams has been almost exclusively the backup center behind Roberto Garza. The result with the fill-ins was no sacks.

I really liked what Carimi was able to do, Smth said. When you havent played that position and the team needs you and you step in right away and play pretty good just like Edwin Williams, hadnt gotten a lot of time, but he stepped in and did a good job also.

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

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USA TODAY

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

It's been a tough week for the teams at the top of the Big Ten standings.

Maryland and Wisconsin both lost earlier this week, and Purdue lost on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, the horrors continued for the Terps, who suffered their third straight defeat in a blowout 83-69 loss to the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes in College Park.

Maryland's last lead came near the midway point of the first half before Iowa sprinted away on a 22-10 run to build a double-digit lead, an advantage that grew as big as 22 in the final minutes. All in all, the Hawkeyes knocked down 16 3-pointers. The Terps weren't too far behind with 11 deep balls of their own, but they shot just 40.7 percent in the second half, unable to keep up.

The high-scoring Hawkeyes were powered by freshman Jordan Bohannon, who scored 24 points on a whopping eight made 3-pointers. Fellow freshman Tyler Cook joined him with a 20-point night, finishing with 21 points, while Peter Jok and Nicholas Baer each ended with 11.

Iowa, not completely out of the NCAA tournament realm of possibility, helped its shaky case greatly with this victory.

Maryland, meanwhile, is a lock to make the field of 68 teams, but much like the other presumed conference powers, its struggles are hitting at the most inopportune time.

The Terps have lost five of their last seven and three of their last four at home. Back-to-back home losses this week against Minnesota and Iowa have featured big days for opposing offenses. Prior to the Hawkeyes' performance Saturday, the Golden Gophers dropped 89 points on 50-percent shooting.

The woes of Maryland — plus those of Purdue and Wisconsin — set up not just an interesting final week of the regular season but an interesting Big Ten Tournament that could feature a dark horse like Minnesota entering as the favorite. A surging team like Michigan might be more capable of making a deep run than the top three seeds given their recent struggles.

The Terps will have as good a chance as any to make noise in that tournament and the one that follows throughout the month of March. Winnable games against Rutgers and Michigan State remain, but they're on a bad stretch right now, one that should only elevate the panic after Saturday's defeat.

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox held Brett Lawrie out Saturday after he reported discomfort in the same left leg that sidelined him for the final 2 1/2 months of 2016.

The second baseman has been a full participant the entire spring until he informed manager Rick Renteria what he was experiencing Saturday. 

"We're going to reevaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at," Renteria said. "He didn't feel quite right, and so he was in there earlier today getting treatment. We'll reevaluate tomorrow and make a determination where we're at in terms of trying to set some parameters for how we move forward."

A confusing, tricky series of injuries that Lawrie blamed on wearing orthotics limited him to 94 games last season. He hit the disabled list on July 22 and didn't discover the cause until after the season ended. But Lawrie reported to camp feeling healthy once again and has participated at 100 percent until this point, Renteria said.

"It's been good," Renteria said. "Everything has been clean. There have been no notifications anything had been amiss. He just woke up this morning and felt it. So we're going to be very cautious, take it a day at a time, reevaluate it and see where we're at."