Simple approach may be all Bears offense needs

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Simple approach may be all Bears offense needs

Its only organized team activities, but following quarterback Jay Cutlers comments after only two days of work, its easy to conclude Cutler has confidence in the offensive concepts the Bears will be running in 2012. He has confidence in new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who Cutler believes will accentuate his strengths as a quarterback. Having a successful prior relationship wont hurt as the Bears try to build offensive confidence not only in Cutler, but the entire offense, which has been chaotic at best the past two seasons.

Realistic approach?

Its hard to have confidence as a player if what youre being asked to execute offensively is unrealistic. The Bears were never going to be the greatest show on grass under former offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Players cannot just be plugged into a system if their skill sets do not translate.

For example, Roy Williams was never going to be Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce within the Bears offense. The same can be said of Cutler. Cutler was never going to be Kurt Warner and why Martz or anyone would curtail Cutlers athletic gifts is still mind-boggling. At times it appeared the fans and players had a much firmer grasp of what the Bears' offensive identity should be than their own coordinator.

Certain players like Cutler are going to have knowledge of football concepts. They question if what they are being presented to execute is sound football. Its not as if Cutler doesnt understand how to attack defenses or what a defense is trying to accomplish attacking an offense. In 2008, Cutler led a Broncos offense that ranked second in the NFL. Cutler understands the pitfalls of every particular pass play, but some plays, principles and concepts stand the test of time, which is why they are solid, sound football concepts.

Cutler offered some early thoughts on the Bears' new offense that caught my attention. Cutler commented on how the new offense will be curtailed to his attributes, saying: I feel it goes with my strengths, what Im able to do, and Ive had success with it in the past.

Cutler also discussed confidence in Bates, who called plays for him in Denver.

I think Jeremy has a really good feel of what I like to do and what I dont like to do, he said.

Cutler touched on the passing game changes and how everyone on offense will benefit saying, it will help the offensive guys putting them in positions to be successful.

Cutler confidently knows both Bates and offensive coordinator Mike Tice will have a realistic approach with solid football concepts for success. Confidence on offense will breed success for the offense and entire team.

The Bears finally have a direction of what they are required to do and why they're required to do it rather than game plans nobody could decipher. Many in the football realm consider Martz an offensive genius, but maybe just a common-sense approach is all the Bears need for offensive success.

Preview: Loyola faces Northern Iowa on CSN

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Preview: Loyola faces Northern Iowa on CSN

Missouri Valley Conference basketball is back on CSN on Wednesday night as Loyola heads to Northern Iowa. 

This game will tip live at 7:00 p.m. on CSN. 

The Ramblers (13-6, 3-3) are coming off of a home win over Missouri State as former Marshall star Milton Doyle leads the team with 16.1 points per game. 

Northern Iowa (6-11, 1-5) has struggled after some promising early wins as they snapped a seven-game losing streak with a win over Drake. Senior Jeremy Morgan is having a big season as he leads the Panthers in every major statistical category. 

Illini dominated in ugly blowout loss at Purdue

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AP

Illini dominated in ugly blowout loss at Purdue

If the Illini are actually going to snap their NCAA tournament drought, quite simply they've got to stop playing like this.

Illinois was blown out of Mackey Arena on Tuesday night. Yes the 91-68 loss to Purdue came at the hands of one of the Big Ten's best on its home floor. But the Illini were atrocious on both ends of the floor, missing a boatload of shots and giving the Boilermakers anything and everything they wanted on the other end.

Look no further than the shooting percentages, which aptly if not fully tell the story of how things went for both teams. Purdue shot 60.4 percent from the floor. Illinois shot 40.3 percent.

Despite holding Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Caleb Swanigan to just one made basket in the first half, the Illini ended up getting dominated by the Boilers' big-man tandem of Swanigan and Isaac Haas. Swanigan, of course, turned in a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Haas dominated with 24 points and six rebounds. He was 9-for-12 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.

For Purdue, it was a terrific response to its loss at Iowa last week. With the Big Ten a seeming league of mediocrity this far into the 2016-17 campaign, the Boilers still hold a top spot in the views of many. A win over Illinois won't vault Purdue into national title contender status, but winning by 23 is never a bad thing for the resume.

For the Illini, things were disastrous from the get-go. The Boilers used a big 16-3 run early in the game to establish a double-digit lead they didn't relinquish the rest of the way. That advantage grew as big as 16 in the first half as Purdue shot 60 percent over the first 20 minutes and splashed home five of their nine attempts from 3-point range. Swanigan made just one shot in the first, but Carsen Edwards and Haas scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Illinois, meanwhile, couldn't cut into that lead, shooting just 36.1 percent from the floor in the first half. The individual shooting numbers were bad all around, with Tracy Abrams 0-for-4, Jalen Coleman-Lands 1-for-5 and Leron Black 1-for-5.

Things didn't get any better for the visitors in the second half. Their shooting numbers improved marginally as time wore on, but the Boilers stayed red hot, shooting 60.7 percent after halftime. Haas and Swanigan stayed dominant, with 31 of their combined 46 points coming over the final 40 minutes.

Maverick Morgan finished as Illinois' leading scorer with 15 points. Malcolm Hill scored 12 points, and Te'Jon Lucas scored 10 points.

Carsen Edwards finished with 14 for Purdue, with Vincent Edwards adding 11 points and P.J. Thompson scoring 10 points.

It was an ugly showing for the Illini, who could find their NCAA tournament hopes fading fast. Illinois sits at 12-7 overall with a mere 2-4 record in Big Ten play, losers of four of its last six. Things don't get too much easier, with games against Michigan, Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northwestern upcoming. Three of those come away from Champaign, where the Illini are 3-5 this season.

Purdue bounced back from that road defeat at Iowa last week with Tuesday's win. The Boilers are 15-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference, looking like one of the league's top teams. Next up is a Saturday game against Penn State.