Alabama offense holds Irish 'D' in high esteem

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Alabama offense holds Irish 'D' in high esteem

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Barrett Jones got to know Manti Te'o last month on the awards circuit, exchanging pleasantries with the Irish linebacker while the pair were in Houston for the Lombardi Award ceremony. Even with a brief meeting, the venerable Alabama center came away with a healthy respect for Te'o, calling him a "super guy" Thursday morning.

That respect carried over to Jones' teammates regarding the entire Irish defense.

"They do a good job of just reading the offense," offensive lineman Chance Warmack said. "It doesn't take them long to process the information in terms of who has the ball or what formation we're in. It takes a really special defense to do that, and that's what they are."

RELATED: Barrett Jones returns to Alabama's offensive line

Plenty of Alabama players fielded questions Thursday asking if Notre Dame's defense was, in essence, an SEC-like unit. Notre Dame's defensive linemen and linebackers, as has been the case all year, garnered the most praise from its opponent.

"This is as good a front seven as we've seen," Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said. "They do a great job jumping in and out of their odd (3-4) defense and going from an odd to a four-down front, and they've got big, physical, fast players. They run well on the back end, very well coached. They're just a really, really good defense."

Specifically, Alabama seems keen on muting Te'o's impact -- which, by extension, means limiting Louis Nix. Running back Eddie Lacy explained: "If you can somehow get him out of his game or something like that, I think we have a pretty good chance of being successful."

That's not a slight at the rest of Notre Dame's defense -- remember, Te'o was a Heisman finalist, so naturally he's the guy opponents want to shut down. Really, at this point, trash talk and bulletin board material looks like endangered species.

For the last two BCS teams to come through South Florida, plenty of the chatter surrounded brash comments made by Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch. Florida State picked up on that, and took great pleasure in pounding Lynch into the ground during the Orange Bowl Jan. 1.

That same trend doesn't appear to be materializing with Alabama and Notre Dame now occupying the area.

"They're very fundamentally sound," Jones summed up. "They rarely ever make mistakes, they know their scheme really well, you can tell they're extremely well-coached, they use their hands well, they're strong at the point of attack. They just do all the little things right."

Sheryl Swoopes under investigation for coaching practices at Loyola

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Sheryl Swoopes under investigation for coaching practices at Loyola

Loyola women's basketball coach Sheryl Swoopes is under investigation for coaching practices at the university.

The investigation was sparked after 10 of the team's 12 players have transferred or have requested releases — nine having been recruited by Swoopes. Loyola began an "independent and comprehensive university investigation" on April 15.

According to Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, five former players have stated that Swoopes' "unusual coaching style" was the reason behind their exits.

Swoopes has declined to comment on any allegations, according to Ryan. Loyola released the following statement on Thursday:

"Until the investigation is completed, the athletics department and women's basketball coaching staff are conducting business as usual as we prepare for the 2016-2017 season."

Swoopes is listed as one of the greatest WNBA players of all-time. She was hired to coach Loyola's women's basketball team in 2013.

Click here to read the full story from the Chicago Tribune.

NCAA final rematch: Loyola-Lewis in men's volleyball MIVA semis Wednesday on CSN+

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NCAA final rematch: Loyola-Lewis in men's volleyball MIVA semis Wednesday on CSN+

A rematch of the 2015 NCAA men's volleyball final between Loyola and Lewis will be aired on CSN+ on Wednesday at 7 p.m..

The two-time defending NCAA Champion Loyola men's volleyball team will take on Lewis, which the Ramblers defeated in five games in last year's final, in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament semifinal.

The two Chicagoland schools are again among the best teams in the country with the Ramblers currently ranked No. 10 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll and the Flyers coming in at No. 12. Loyola is the No. 2 seed in the tournament while the Flyers hold the No. 4 seed.

This is the fifth straight year the two teams have met in the MIVA tournament, including meeting in the tournament final each of the past three years.

Local products feature heavily on both teams. Jeff Jendryk, a graduate of St. Francis High School in Wheaton, leads the Ramblers with 266 kills, Cary-Grove grad Jake Selsky leads Loyola with 180 digs and Ricky Gevis (Benet Academy) has 174 kills. Key Chicagoland players for Lewis include kills-leader Mitch Perinar (Minooka), blocks-leader Bobby Walsh (Mt. Carmel), digs-leader Jake Walenga (Lincoln-Way North) and setter Scott Fifer (Sandburg).