Cutler 'sorry' he couldn't help Smith more

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Cutler 'sorry' he couldn't help Smith more

Jay Cutler found himself in an awkward situation Monday morning, as news of Lovie Smith's firing went public while Cutler was on air for his weekly radio show onWMVP-AM.
Cutler did not seem too surprised by the news -- perhaps he was informed of his former head coach's fate in advance -- but he did give his initial thoughts on the public news.
"It's a sad day at Halas Hall," he said. "I have a lot of respect for the guy, he's made friends with a lot of the players; he was a player's coach and I've been very lucky in my seven years to have two great coaches."
When asked if he had any personal words for Smith, Cutler expressed an apologetic tone for the Bears' inconsistent offense, surely a factor in Smith's fate.
"Sorry offensively we couldn't do better for you," he said. "I blame a lot of this on the offense and our inability to perform week in and week out. Defensively they've been carrying us for a while."
A couple of names have been thrown out for consideration to replace Smith, but Cutler wouldn't bite on showing any preference to an offensive-minded coach coming in.
"I trust management. They're gonna make best call. You just have to trust them."
Cutler also said yesterday was stressful for the team, listening to the Packers-Vikings game on the team flight home and then watching it on the team bus. Blair Walsh's last-second field goal knocked the Bears out of the final playoff spot, but Cutler said he doesn't blame anyone but himself and the team for having to rely on another team.
"We shouldn't have been in that position. It's tough when things are taken out of your own hands and you rely on other teams," Cutler said. "Win 11, 12 games and you won't have to worry about this.
Cutler said he and the offense could have been better limiting turnovers and performing in the red zone, and that there's little room for err when trying to win games in the NFL. He praised wide receiver Brandon Marshall for a solid year, but noted there was not enough consistency to form any kind of rhythm.
"We had 1 guy that had a great season and other than that it was kind of a rocky road, up and down, never really any consistency," he said, "and in the NFL to be good, great, you have to be consistent week in and week out and we only got it from 1 player.
"You always can build, find the good and try to weed out the bad and fix the problems. I'm sure we'll get some new additions offensively to help us out. We have talent, just have to figure it out."

Fire can't hold onto halftime lead, settle for draw with LA

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Fire can't hold onto halftime lead, settle for draw with LA

The Fire had a chance to continue the momentum from Saturday’s win at Montreal, but couldn’t put the finishing touches on a second-straight win.

Instead, the Fire settled for a 2-2 draw at home against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday after the Fire led at halftime.

After a dull first quarter of the match, the game featured four goals, two more called back for offside, a number of close chances and wide open play.

LA’s U.S. national teamer Gyasi Zardes opened the scoring in the 31st minute and the floodgates opened soon after. Zardes pounced on a loose ball in the box with a hard and low shot after the Fire couldn’t fully clear a cross.

Just three minutes later the Fire (5-11-8, 23 points) equalized with a goal that also required a couple deflections to wind up at the feet of an open shooter. Michael de Leeuw headed a cross on frame and LA goalkeeper Clement Diop came up with the initial save. However, the save bounced off A.J. DeLaGarza’s face and landed right to Arturo Alvarez, who scored with a half volley.

[SHOP: Get your own Fire jersey here]

The Fire completed the turnaround when Luis Solignac was tripped in the box for a penalty kick, which David Accam converted to give the hosts a 2-1 lead in the 39th minute.

In the second half, Chicago had a golden opportunity to take a two-goal lead when David Accam chased down a long ball and dribbled around LA goalkeeper Clement Diop. Diop came way off his line and Accam easily took him out of the play. Instead of shooting at an open net, he dribbled into the box and passed to Luis Solignac, who missed the shot with two defenders, but still no goalkeeper in his way.

The Galaxy (9-4-12, 39 points) later made the Fire pay when two substitutes connected. Alan Gordon centered a ball to Giovany Dos Santos, who scored with his first touch.

In addition to not starting Dos Santos, LA didn’t include Robbie Keane or Steven Gerrard in the matchday lineup and Nigel De Jong was available as a substitute but didn’t play.

The Fire next play Saturday at D.C. United.

Notre Dame disappointed, embarrassed as it moves on from weekend arrests

Notre Dame disappointed, embarrassed as it moves on from weekend arrests

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly went through three stages of emotions after learning that six of his players were arrested in two separate incidents over the weekend. 

First, the seventh-year Irish coach was disappointed. Then he was embarrassed for the university.

“And then I was mad as hell,” Kelly said. 

Kelly dismissed senior safety Max Redfield and indefinitely suspended cornerback Devin Butler in a stern statement released Sunday, and meted out internal discipline for running back Dexter Williams, cornerback Ashton White, linebacker Te’von Coney and wide receiver Kevin Stepherson. Those four players — Williams, White, Coney and Stepherson — are practicing will be available for Notre Dame’s season opener against Texas unless Notre Dame’s Office of Community Standards decides to take further disciplinary action against them. 

Butler, who was charged with two felonies on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to those charges on Wednesday, remains indefinitely suspended, Kelly said. 

Notre Dame players, though, would prefer to move on from a tumultuous weekend that cost them their starting safety and plenty of goodwill in the public eye. 

“We’ve had enough meetings, it’s been talked about enough and I think it’s time to put our heads down, start working and get ready to go down to Austin, Texas and win a football game,” offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey, who was one of four team captains named on Wednesday, said. “That’s what we’re looking to do and I think our team is right on track. The last couple days they’ve put their heads down, ready to work, practice has been (guys) flying around and having fun. I think that’s what our focus needs to be on at this point. Coach Kelly and his staff and the university will handle what needs to be handled and it’s our job to play and win football games.” 

Wide receiver and newly-minted captain Torii Hunter Jr. echoed that sentiment: “We’re just looking to go forward and just make better choices as a team”

Still, there’s no whitewashing the disappointment of the arrests. Notre Dame wrapped up preseason camp on Friday, and within less than 12 hours had six players arrested. Butler was charged with resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official, both of which are felonies; Redfield, Williams, White, Coney and Stepherson were all charged with possession of marijuana and Redfield, Williams and Stepherson were charged with illegal possession of a firearm, all of which are misdemeanors. 

“It’s a disappointing situation,” defensive end and captain Isaac Rochell said. “You never want to be in this situation. I don’t need to do anything (as a captain) — I trust the coaching staff, I trust coach Kelly. And my only job is to support and enforce what he says to do. But bottom line, I trust them.”

Kelly said he hopes his players can take away messages about not making “selfish” decisions and representing more than just themselves out of last weekend’s incidents. The impact of those arrests will be felt immediately in Texas, when true freshman Devin Studstill and sixth-year graduate student (and natural in-the-box strong safety) Avery Sebastian are in line to fill in for Redfield at free safety. 

When asked why Redfield received a harsher punishment than the others, Kelly declined to get into specifics. 

“There’s a lot of things going on there,” Kelly said. “I think any time you dismiss somebody from the program, that’s serious. So I would say the best way to characterize that is it’s gotta be serious for me to dismiss somebody from the program.”

Sending Redfield away may hurt Notre Dame’s on-field production, but Kelly felt it was the right, and necessary thing to do. And with it made, the Irish will aim to push forward and put the the disappointment and embarrassment of the weekend behind them with a focus on Sept. 4’s trip to Texas. 

“You have to be prepared as a college coach, unfortunately, to deal with some poor decisions,” Kelly said. “They crop up. I think you have to be as fair but you also have to be quick in making decisions. And when they don’t square with your mission or philosophy in your program or your university, you can’t be afraid to make decisions. And you can’t be swayed by external factors. You gotta do the right thing.”

Preview: Channel Seed Ag Bowl opens Iowa football season Thursday on CSN+

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Preview: Channel Seed Ag Bowl opens Iowa football season Thursday on CSN+

High School football is back in Iowa as you can catch the fourth annual Channel Seed Ag Bowl live on CSN+ on Thursday night.

This year's game will feature the visiting Northeast Rebels as they take on the Central DeWitt Sabers in a game that will start at 7:00 p.m.

Taking place at Birney Field in Dewitt, this game is the season opener for both schools as these two haven't matched up on the gridiron since 1984. The former Big Bend Conference rivals are only 20 minutes apart but haven't played in over 30 years as Thursday's game should make for a unique atmosphere.

Besides the live CSN+ broadcast, you can also see this game streaming live on CSNChicago.com as you can find the live stream here. If you wish to find CSN+ click here for the channel finder